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Our Top Five Takeaways from Accounting Season 2024

by jack.twomey
| June 3, 2024 |

Well phew, that’s the Spring 2024 exhibition season just about wrapped up… And what a triple stack it’s been for us and many other software vendors and service providers, within the accounting space! The FAB (Festival of Accountants and Bookkeepers), DAS (the Digital Accounting Show) and then the mothership, Accountex (South).

Three impeccably well ran events, each individually unique but wrapped in a common theme; to connect the accounting industry together. Accountants, service providers and keynote speakers, all with a unified mission of evolving the bedrock of UK based business and commerce. 

At Cloud2Me we’re privileged to be able to exhibit at these key events (including the upcoming Accountex North in September). We see it as an unmissable opportunity, to give thanks to many of our customers and software vendor partners alike. But a crucial benefit for us, is to get a front row seat on what customers and industry are discussing and asking of us service providers. 

And this exhibition season yielded some excellent fruit for us, in terms of these key takeaways and insights. Then being the generous sorts that we are at Cloud2Me, we thought we’d share our top five with you! So here they are;

Medium – large size accounting firms that have pushed to remove all of their servers, have had to compromise on their core service offering. 

We were surprised to hear, that firms that had an all nothing approach to removing their servers (to go “serverless”), in many cases had to reduce their practice core offering. 

When we gently enquired to why this was, a recurring theme arose, which was that the web based (SaaS) products which they switched to, were often lacking in functionality. That is either the functionality didn’t exist or more frequently, whilst it existed, was lacking in competence and usability.

Unfortunately for those who we spoke with, the journey to go serverless was so intense (switching out desktop based applications for web based equivalents), they are having to get used to living with the new compromises, for their practice.

Some did go further to mention that they might consider going to a hybrid approach, that is introducing back a small server footprint, to accommodate some choice desktop based apps.

The current buzz topics (e.g. AI, workflows, bots) are creating shadows on traditional (and crucial) topics

Of course, you would have to live under a rock, to have not seen the much buzz of the new era of AI! But then again, many of us technical folks know full well, that AI is far from a new revelation (we’re looking at you Dext!).

Whether it was AI, workflows, bots – all fascinating and important topics for our industry advancement. But there seemed to me to be a distinct absence in discussion, of critical topics such as disaster recovery and business continuity.

Admittedly these traditional key topics have never been in vogue. But many practices owners that we spoke with, could not pass a succinct answer to whether they had a robust disaster recovery plan, for their IT systems. 

We’re not judging(!), just observing of course.

Traditional server based apps are continuing to make slow progress, to web based equivalents

In the world of accounting applications, there are largely two camps; 

  1. Applications that were created as a web based application from the outset.
  2. Apps that were created as a more traditional, desktop based application.

Then nowadays, the latter of these two (desktop based applications), then fall further into two sub categories;

  1. Software vendors who are quite happy and proud, to retain their application as a desktop based application.
  2. Software vendors who are creating a web-based equivalent (or closed to), to either compliment or replace their desktop based app.

And it’s our observation, that the software vendors that are attempting to transition their desktop based application to web based, are finding it more difficult than anticipated.

Of course many of these software vendors are giants of the industry, so they’re not short of engineering might. But decades of software code, takes time to carefully re-write!

But customers and technology Partners such as ourselves, will continue to watch this space, keenly with their progress.

Good old fashioned customer service, is still king when it comes to remaining with a supplier.

Having been in the service space for over a decade now ourselves, we’ve always listened with keen interest from practice owners, of their love for suppliers with amazing customer service.

And whilst technology marches on at pace, customer service continues to be a vintage virtue, that when offered correctly, will retain valuable custom. It’s an interesting paradox that whilst a product might well offer the best solution in its given field, if the customer experience is poor, don’t expect the customer to hang around – there’s always alternatives.

Not least, we noticed this year the familiar fable, of great companies getting acquired by much larger fish (that are not known for their tender, love and care). Then customers knowing the inevitable forthcoming drop in customer service, quickly start to lower the lifeboats!

Having exceptional individual tools (applications), is more important than an integrated suite of average tools (jack of all trades)

It’s the age old quandary, the general builder that can turn his hand to many trades, but after the new bathroom gets installed, you realise they’re not the best at tiling!

So it’s true, we heard from many a practice owner, that chose the convenience of an integrated application suite for covering the many requirements of their practice, only to find none of the modules carried a knock out punch (bar perhaps one module).

Similar to the point above, the firm that was convinced on going “serveless”, there has to be compromise on deep functionality.

We’re seeing now that firms are willing to sacrifice integration between their apps and data, in favour of deep core functionality. I.e. removing the blunt instruments and sharpening the 10 year old Swiss knife.


So there we have it, our key take aways from the past three months of accounting exhibitions, shared with you, dear reader.

If we had to draw a theme here, it’s that there’s the ever present metaphor of snakes and ladders, at least within the technology space. That is, you cannot have your cake and eat it, there is no single size that fits all perfectly.

But that’s what makes it fun right? This is where the challenge is for you and your practice, your chance to differentiate between your must haves and nice to haves, when it comes to tech and services.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this read, if so please share it or even drop us a line at .

N.B. We hope to see you at Accountex North in September!

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