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Tech sounding board aims to nurture practice-ready apps


Early Adopters Hub launches “accelerator” to connect software start-ups with tech-savvy accountants.

By Philip King 12 minute read

Flashy apps aimed at accountants are coming to market half-baked and missing the mark, according to co-founder of the Early Adopters Hub Jack Thiel, who has relaunched the site as an accounting tech accelerator and the goal of becoming the go-to tester for software start-ups.

Mr Thiel said it would give software developers access to accounting early-adopters who could help steer them away from pitfalls.

“We want to bring accountants, the best ones in the industry, together with early stage start-up founders and connect them in really structured processes, really structured workshops and courses that we run, that we facilitate, that we help direct,” he said.


“We really want accountants to have more of a say in the future of innovation in this industry so when there’s a new app that comes to market, it doesn’t just hit the Xero app store and end up with zero stars and no reviews. It’s built alongside five, 10, 15 of the best accountants in the region, so that those founders can quickly iterate, learn really fast, understand the nuances of accountants.”

He said accountants had become cynical about the latest shiny new thing and much of the software developed failed to tackle real problems or offer useful integration.

“Take a look at any of the accounting app stores and you will see an ever-growing list of flashy new tools.

“As you peel the layers of marketing ‘fluff’ away – the pretty website, glossy e-book, quality merch and energetic sales team – the underlying tech often doesn’t stack up.”

He said the most innovative accountants were outpacing the tech designed to support them.

“Accountants generally punch above our weight when it comes to tech, thanks to the innovations of years gone by such as bank feeds, open APIs and single-ledger cloud technology,” said Mr Thiel.

“These were all ground-breaking innovations, and the industry has benefited massively thanks to them, but they are all 10-15 years old, and it’s getting a little tiring hearing the incumbent tech giants continually refer to them as though they’re still revolutionary in an attempt to remain relevant.

“These are old innovations relative to what technology is capable of today. The next-generation firm owner isn’t content with the existing accounting tech stack.

“Because of this changing sentiment, but a strong desire to keep the industry innovating and moving forward, we wanted to find a way to improve the quality of tech being brought to market for accountants.

“We want to maintain the passion and energy start-up founders bring to the table, but refocus it on the biggest, most important problems the industry faces.”

One practice already involved with Early Adopters Hub, Andrew Van De Beek of Illumin8, recommended the process.

“It’s been exceptional connecting to different pieces of technology,” he said. “To be able to have really open, respectful, but direct conversations around what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, how they’re going about that and seeing the impact and benefits this feedback makes to the founders.”

Meryl Johnston of Bean Ninjas agreed.

“I got asked some great questions that challenged me and it was really interesting hearing the different approaches across the various firms,” Ms Johnston said.

The Early Adopters Hub began three years ago as a product research site and worked with 28 start-ups at various stages of their journey offering feedback from more than 70 accountants in Australia, NZ and the UK. Developers who have already worked with the hub include Paytron and Brieff.

Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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