Tim and Dan of ‘Two Drunk Accountants’ Interview Sabby Gill 

Our CEO, Sabby Gill, recently returned to Australia for the Accounting Business Expo in Melbourne. At the conference, he caught up with Tim and Dan, the hosts of popular weekly podcast Two Drunk Accountants. Tim and Dan asked Sabby about his mission at Dext and what the team has in store for the future. Here are some of the highlights from the conversation. 

Engaging with the Accountant and Bookkeeper Community

Tim and Dan: Thank you for being with us. How have you found the conference?

Sabby: The conference has been great. Getting out is the most important thing for me as a CEO. Having internal meetings is fine. But my passion is just meeting people – meeting accountants and bookkeepers and getting real, first-hand feedback on what’s working and what isn’t working. Ultimately, I’m trying to provide a solution or a product that provides value. I’ve got to go and speak to the people it’s supposed to provide the value to to make sure it’s really landing. 

Tim and Dan: True. It’s funny, you wouldn’t expect that for an accounting software in the accounting industry: you’ve got to get out there and speak to the people! But it is such a people-focused industry, isn’t it?

Sabby: It is, and the community is probably the single biggest thing in the accounting industry. The number of people I speak to … I ask them: “How do you make your decision on technology?” And they say: “Well, I listen to the community. I find what works, I find out what doesn’t work – and those are the people I stay away from. So that community element of people buying from their peers – and making decisions based on what peers are saying – is so important in this industry, probably more so than in any other industry I’ve worked in.

Tim and Dan: You were telling us just a second ago about a story you heard of someone who – through someone they know – found out they don’t need to manually process a giant pile of paper. They found out they could use Dext and solve that problem. So that’s a perfect example of the community. And it’s word of mouth and it’s other people who are using it.

Sabby: Correct. And it was a great story. If you see the pictures of all of these receipts screwed up on the floor that would have probably taken a day if you’d manually tried to enter them all … and she was able to enter all of them within 60 minutes using Dext. It’s just a phenomenal story when you hear that. And this was a working mother who had two children. She was spending her spare time doing stuff that was very mundane and away from her family. Our overall aim is really to give our users time. It’s the one thing that we all crave more of. It’s the one thing that once it’s spent, you can never get it back. For me, if I can do the impossible, which is give time back to people so that they can then either take on more clients, grow their business – or, more importantly, in this case –  spend time with their family, then that’s going to be my goal. 

Tim and Dan: We did a live podcast yesterday and our whole topic was ‘capacity is king for accountants and bookkeepers’, because that’s what we lack. We lack that time. We lack that ability to use our time to go out and do more in the world. 

Tim and Dan of 'Two Drunk Accountants' Interview Sabby Gill 

Making Unstructured Data Painless to Process with Dext Prepare

Tim and Dan: Moving back to Dext, for people who don’t know everything that Dext does – because a lot of people might just think “It’s just entering in your bills to get them read and entered in as accounts payable or whatever” – can you explain the different components?

Sabby: We have three main products. The core of our product, which most people will know – formerly as Receipt Bank – is Dext Prepare. And that’s very much the key enabler of getting in AP invoices, receipts, etc. 

You know, one of the things that people may not know about us is that we can also bring in handwriting, on handwritten invoices for example. We’ve got all these AI machine learning engines that sit in the background that try and interpret this information and then load it through to the system. And that’s unstructured data. A lot of other providers out there are able to pick up something because it’s structured. Whereas I think our key is really about unstructured data as well as data that’s structured.  

Tim and Dan: Everyone does their invoicing slightly differently, there’s different software… If the data is unstructured, that’s always the bane of bookkeepers’ existence especially, when they’re trying to figure out how to enter this thing properly and save time. 

Sabby: Exactly. Last year, we processed over 300 million transactions globally. 72% of all of that was through our automated AI engine, through applied AI. Many of those invoices are, as you say, unstructured invoices that are coming in, you’ve never ever seen before – and they get processed automatically. 

If invoices don’t get processed for whatever reason, it might be too late to go back and remember what the invoice related to, especially if it’s the supplier information that’s gone. You’re thinking: “How do I now make sure I’ve recorded it properly?”, and then you’re reliant on manual intervention and processes. So for us, just having the ability to automate as much as we can, take that time saving and make people more efficient and effective is our number one, that’s really what Dext Prepare does.

But it does a lot more than that because supplier rules are automating the transactions. We’ve got 1.5 billion transactions sitting in our AI large language model. So if you think about an invoice coming in for the first time, the model’s got 1.5 billion transactions from which to go and do a comparison against: “Have I ever seen this invoice before or a similar format or anything else from this particular vendor? Maybe they’ve changed their format or implemented a new system, but I can go back and check all of that information and then start applying some additional context. What’s the most likely general ledger code to apply to this particular product from this particular supplier?” And it will put that in. So Dext Prepare does more than just extraction. It’s adding intelligence and trying to automate that entire process as much as possible. 

Delivering Valuable Business Health Insights with Dext Precision

Sabby: We then have Dext Precision, which is great for accountants. 

Tim and Dan: I have used Precision, I do like it. 

Sabby: It’s great because one of the challenges for an accountant is: “Where do I spend my time? On which clients do I spend my time? And am I effectively logging my time against every single client that I’m actually working on?” So what Precision really does is it gives you insights that you may not necessarily know until you go looking. And what we’re trying to do is stop people from going looking. We’ll do the looking for you and highlight to you: these are the issues, these are the problems. We’ll give you a health score for your clients. We’ll build workflows across all of the different activities you do for that client. And then we highlight what you should be doing and when you should be doing it. 

Accountants and bookkeepers know everything financially, but they don’t necessarily know everything about the business. So Precision gives you those insights about how healthy the business is. 

Tim and Dan: There were even just little features in there that I loved, like the ABN lookup, the GST registration and comparing that to what’s been entered in the file. Like how many different contacts are there, and are there duplications, which creates a mess when we try to analyze that data and help the client with things. So little things like that I loved. 

Sabby: The ABN piece is an interesting one. It’s probably the number one thing that we’ve heard over the last couple of times because some of our competitors don’t actually do the check.

So when you actually see the ABN number, the first thing is: “Is it a valid ABN number? Let’s do a quick check to make sure it is, just to make sure there’s no fraudulent activity.” So once we’ve done the check, it actually goes into Xero or whichever GL you’re using, and has a look and says: “Well, actually, I haven’t got an ABN number but I have on the invoice. Do you know what? Let’s go and populate it.” So it actually then enhances the data points that you’ve got from the invoices that are coming through.

Supporting Clients who Buy and Sell Online with Dext Commerce

Tim and Dan: So what’s the final piece of the puzzle in Dext? 

Sabby: The final piece for us is the third part of our product, which is Dext Commerce. That’s if you’re buying or selling online, but also for any type of digital commerce

For example: if I find an invoice from Amazon, chances are I know that the client sells online. With Dext Commerce, I can put a trigger in place that says, “We believe that you sell online. We know that you sell on Amazon because we see a monthly invoice. Would you like me to go and get all of your Amazon sales orders, all of your Amazon transactions, download it to your system, then automatically reconcile everything? If so, click here.” 

Tim and Dan: That’s great….almost too easy! 

Looking Ahead at the Product Roadmap

Sabby: The next piece is, how do we bring all of these things together? So in our product roadmap, we’ve got something around convergence and unification: bringing all of these three products together onto one single platform. So when you log on, you’ll log on to Dext. You’re not logging on to Commerce or Precision because every single one of your clients needs to be healthy, in the way that you’re processing them. So why shouldn’t we have the ability to show everybody a health score? And then we’re going to put in customisable health scores because Dext has its own way of identifying what a health score is. But you may look at it and say: “Actually, for this particular client, cash is more important.” 

Our vision is all about making accounting effortless. And that’s what we’re trying to do. What cool features can we implement? But the important thing is making sure that we’re verifying all this with accountants and bookkeepers. That goes back to what I said about wanting to make sure what I deliver adds value and that it has the right value proposition. And the only way of doing that is when accountants and bookkeepers give me the war stories like the one I shared earlier. That says: “This does make a difference and this is what you could do for me more”. 

Tim and Dan: I imagine it’s a lot about removing the friction. And as accountants and advisors, if there’s something that just takes a little bit longer than it should, or it’s too fiddly, we just won’t do it because we don’t have the time. And therefore, clients might not be getting the best advice they can because we don’t have the time to go analyze things or get this data you’re talking about. But if it’s there and it’s all working together and it’s in one place, that just seems like a good idea!

Sabby: Absolutely, and there’s some other stuff that we recently put out. So a basic thing like an email attachment? Now all of a sudden you can see the core of the email, you’ve got traceability through the entire system. How did the invoice actually come in? We’ve got new things like in expenses, we’re putting in mileage tracking.

Tim and Dan: Cool!

Sabby: But I like to think bigger than that. Imagine if instead of using Google Maps to plot your journey and take a screenshot as evidence of mileage, you could open up the Dext app and take your trip. At the end of it, Dext then recognises the fact that you’re on a trip and then asks you questions like: “Was this a personal trip? Was this a business trip?” It will know where your start was, it will know where your endpoint was. It will know what your mileage was and it will just automatically create that into an expenses line item in Dext and that will be pre-populated again into Xero or any accounting software of your choice.

Tim and Dan: It’s unreal – again, removing friction, I love it! It’s making me dream of the possibilities open to us in the future. We saw Simon Griffith this morning, who is the founder of Who Gives a Crap and he said they’re in the business of delighting their customers. It’s very clear that you guys, Dext, are in the business of providing time. It’s the business of time.

Sabby: And for me, similar to what Simon was saying, my job is to exceed everybody’s expectations in relation to what we deliver and how we deliver it. And if I say I’m going to make you efficient, save you a couple of hours, that to me is a target, but it’s not my aim. My aim is to actually exceed that significantly enough that they say: “Wow! They really saved me the time that they were talking about”. So our overall job is always to exceed expectations.

Tim and Dan: Then everyone in the accounting industry has more time to listen to our podcast! Well, thank you for coming on and chatting to us about this. We’re keen to chat with you further. So hopefully in the next month or so, we’re going to have an extended chat with you. I’m keen to dive more into what’s the future for Dext and what else is going on! 

Sabby: I look forward to it. Thanks very much. 


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