AccountingPod, University of Waikato and Xero Learn join forces to deliver innovative in-class learning

A major content road-test for Xero Learn (Xero’s innovative new learning platform for educators)has been completed with AccountingPod delivering its dynamic content and auto-marking technology to 260 students from two AIS classes at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Waikato University, accounting lecturer, Jackie Allen explains why she chose to plug-in Xero Learn and AccountingPod to her courses,

“I am always on the look-out for opportunities to integrate new technology learning into my Accounting Information Systems papers. A few years ago, I piloted and then fully implemented a module introducing my students to Xero Accounting Software. This initiative was a great success. Familiarity with Xero has become almost a baseline requirement for entering the accounting workforce.  So, when AccountingPod came along with content and teaching tools for Xero and now Xero Learn, I jumped at the chance to innovate.”

Rising to the challenge to provide real-world business experience for students in the cloud, AccountingPod has teamed up with Xero Learn to provide the realistic content case studies and auto-marking of student work on Xero.

Judith Cambridge, co-founder of AccountingPod believes that auto-marking for teachers is the secret sauce to their content case studies.

“We save teachers hundreds of hours of marking time so they can focus on other valuable areas of teaching. We also mark at a more granular level to really understand the student learning journey on an accounting platform like Xero Learn.“

[…]

AccountingPod provided a realistic agri-business data set and teaching content to Waikato University over a four week period, populating 6,000 data lines for each student case study and auto-marking nearly five million data points from Xero Learn.

Read the full article by Xero’s Michelle Taggart.

The Slack Accountants – Future and Tech

The cloud revolution moves full steam ahead in the accounting industry. We explore the idea of “The Slack Accountants” in an exciting conversation with PracticeIgnition’s Trent McLaren – Australia’s thought leader of the year in the Accounting Industry for 2017

 

 

Lin Zhuo – A Student’s Journey to CFO

Last week we talked to Good Health Products’ CFO Lin Zhuo about her inspirational journey from being an international student in Dunedin to her current role as CFO of an iconic business in New Zealand.

Lin offers some very practical advice to current students as well as to other women in business around career and life balance (being a mother), building resilience, networking, relationship building, communication and soft skills and job hunting as an international student. Take a listen below!

 

 

 

James Solomons: Tech and Future

We recently chatted to XRef’s CFO  and Xero’s Head of Accounting Australia James Solomons and Co-CE of AccountingPod, Judith Cambridge about The New Accountants – Tech and Future. We discussed the career pathways for CFOs and Public Practice Accountants in the future and answered some burning questions from our student community. Take a listen below!

 

 

 

Hudson: Successful Accounting Career Q&A

We recently chatted to Hudson’s Associate Director Craig Malcolm and Co-CE of AccountingPod, Judith Cambridge about Building a Successful Accounting Career in Australia and New Zealand. This insightful conversation is must read if you are in the market for an accounting role. Below is a summary of our webinar discussion and Q&A. Take a read!

AccountingPod: To start with, let’s get a bit of an update or market insight from both Craig and Judith. In general,  what’s happening in the accounting industry in terms of talent, skills, employment and job placement? So, Craig, would you like to start by giving us an overview on what’s happening, based on your experience, in the accounting job and talent market?

Craig: Sure, Thank you. Like you mentioned, at the start I’m the Associate Director for Hudson.  Hudson recruits in many areas, my team specifically recruits in the accounting and finance area. I’ve been in the business for 11 years. Prior to that I’ve recruited in accounting and finance in London for 4 years. So, I’ve had a pretty good bird’s eye view of what’s been happening in the industry in terms of how some of the role types have changed over time. Over those 15 years. We have definitely seen some interesting trends. To qualify things, the majority of the roles we recruit would be into the commercial sector. We do recruit for  public practice firms, but they are mainly second tier and smaller firms. We do recruit for Deloitte and KPMG but probably to the audience that this webinar is directed to today, as you all know, they like to run their own graduate intakes every year. We tend to come in at the senior end of the space. Of all the roles we place probably about 15% in that CA environment, the rest would be into that commercial area across all sectors: banking, finance, government, SMEs and multinationals. We have a team of 10 consultants.

One of my broad brush observations in terms of what’s happened with skill sets for the industry is in the traditional financial accounting role – the financial accountant. When I started here at Hudson there was very clear distinction of the technical skills between financial accounting and management accounting. But these days when we get a job order from a client to recruit for financial accountants, the top 3 bullet points of skills would be around the soft skills; communication, the ability to bring [business] insights to life and make recommendations. Whereas compared to when I started here at Hudson, it was probably more a processing role, financial accountants would do their bits, put out the numbers, pass it to somebody else and then it was up to them to make sense of the insights and make recommendations. These days you need the communication skills and business partnering skills to really be successful. I might be generalising here, but I can almost guarantee that if we had a number of candidates up it doesn’t matter what kind of role it is, the winning or losing of the interview, when candidates that have very similar skills and experience, will be that ability to be a business partner and build relationships across the business. That’ll be what will get you the job at the end of the day, having those soft skills.

AccountingPod: Thank you very much for that. Let me just reiterate to our attendees: Experience is important but the soft skills, communication skills and the ability to articulate and communicate insights and to come up with recommendations, work with and bring people together, business partnering skills would determine a job outcome for a candidate. It’s very interesting to note the shift from let’s say 10 or 20 years ago, the heavy focus on the technical abilities and processing abilities now to these soft skills.  Judith, would you like to make some comments in that regard?

Judith: Yeah, my thinking is pretty much aligned with that of Craig’s. And what we’ve seen I guess I’ve got a couple of insights from this side. First of all, as a Chartered Accountant in public practice, having worked in provincial chartered accounting firms and moving into public practice on my own account before bringing partners onboard. I’ve been on a journey of seeing that technology of our industry evolving and it absolutely changing the way we work. And therefore I can see that the [soft] skill sets that Craig is talking about becomes so much more important following the impact of automation, offshoring and outsourcing. Those three key components have largely dealt with the transactional component of the industry. And very much that entry level accountant now needs to be able to understand the landscape,  be able to learn very quickly and move into those advisory areas [which require] communication, problem-solving and the ability to network and really build relationships. All those things are required to assist the businesses either in the enterprise that you are working for or the client that they are interacting with to really help them find the right opportunity for their business. Now, that’s a challenge for graduates, I acknowledge that.

Q: From an employer’s perspective, what are the most important skills (1-3) that new grads must have?

Craig: When I started here at Hudson there were very clear divisions of the technical skills, still is in terms of financial accounting and management accounting.

But these days the top 3 bullet points are around soft skills, communication skills and the ability to bring insights to life and make recommendations.

Compared to when I started (at Hudson), it was probably more like a processing role: financial accountants would do their bits, put out the numbers, pass it to somebody else and then it was up to them to make sense of the insights and make recommendations. These days you need those communication and business partnering skills to really be successful. That’ll be what will get you the job at the end of the day.

Q: In many online job advertisements (e.g. Seek) for graduate accounting roles, a lot of them require some work experience or some other requirement that is tied to having work experience (i.e. experience with using Xero or MYOB in a work environment). For new graduates, how could they get the work experience needed for most job postings if they could not get into the companies due to these requirements in the first place? How do new graduates get around this catch-22? Where could new graduates start?

Craig:Assistant accounting and assistant roles have been a good area for graduates to move into the industry and pick up their first role. What we recommend for graduates here is approaching the big organisations directly in the hope that you could get on one of their graduate intake programs. Doing lots of things in the background will also increase your chances to get that job interview like attending interest group events.

It’s all about building your network and people know people. If you’re coming across as keen and enthusiastic, those connections can help you.

Practical experience training programs – it might be an extra expense but at least you can put it on your CV and, perhaps, distinguish yourself from other applicants that have the similar level of experience as yourself.

QWhat would you recommend in terms of extracurricular activities that I should be involved in as an accounting student?

Judith: Get out of your comfort zone and get to know and understand the community around you. Talk to people and start understanding the culture of the business environment of the country as early as possible.

Have a look at the charity sector and see what you can bring to the table for some of these registered charities. Their financials are searchable online so you could approach a charity with quite a lot of knowledge just by searching the [online charities] register. Working through how you could add value and they could sustainably grow. Volunteer for a charity before you graduate.

Q: How could we take advantage of the new wave of technologies coming into the accounting industry to stand out in the job market of the future?

Judith: You’ve got to be ready to make the change. It’s very difficult to introduce all of these cloud-based technologies to 200 students at once. So, it’ll come back to the student themselves doing their own research. Joining some of the newsletters that come out from some of the technology and business magazines. Actually being aware of what’s happening in the business’ news – both domestically and internationally. Ask questions, observe what people are doing and don’t be afraid to try.

Craig: Some of the in-demand technologies that are being used and skill sets that our clients are looking for in accountants are Power BI, SQL, VBA and even Python is weaving its way into the accounting world.

Q: Looking to try to get me an intern or grad role at one of the big accounting/banking firms. Obviously, grades aren’t everything as interpersonal skills and extracurricular activities are also important but in relation to grades what would be a solid benchmark to make myself employable? I have heard a B+ average is a good aim?

Craig: Grades are important but they’re not everything.

There’s a whole raft of areas that might be assessed on graduate intake programs. So grades might get you on their radar, but more importantly is how you perform on those assessments on the day.

Judith: Try your very best in everything you choose to put your time and energy into.

Q: Are there really more barriers for international students with regard to the accounting job market in New Zealand, or is this just a myth (based on your opinion)?

Craig: I think it’s a myth. International graduates and students probably face the same challenges that people who studied here in New Zealand or New Zealanders coming through universities.  As long as they got the work rights to work here, placing international students comes down to the same things: how you present your communication skills, all sorts of bits and pieces and if you’ve got those things you’ve got the same chances as local students.

Judith: International students do need to keep in mind that yes, there’ll be country-specific knowledge that others might have but there’s nothing to stop them doing some additional reading to make sure they have a better understanding of the country’s culture and business culture if that proves to be a barrier.

AccountingPod: In our opinion, international students in particular bilingual or multilingual students in this age of intensified internationalisation almost have the advantage in the job market. It’s a myth 🙂

Q: I am interested in pursuing a career in internal auditing. How do I break into this industry and what is a career in internal auditing like?

Craig: There’s a perception that it’s better to start as an external auditor in one of the big 4 or CA firms  it’ll then improve your chances of an internal audit role. However, I would recommend that approach big organisations – the financial services organisations and banks – that have junior roles for internal auditors to get started as an option.

Q: Should a grad start thinking about specialisations straight away or should they be flexible and really just look at what’s needed in the job market?

Craig: My opinion would be to focus on a role that gives you the experience you need to grow in your career.  I wouldn’t be too flexible depending on the market, but if you had a choice my advice would be move into one that gets you a bit more foundation experience and skills into a few different areas and you can make up your mind where you want to go next. But at least you have that experience.

Judith:When you really gain that mixed experience it means you can sit in front of a client and actually – in any business – provide them with comprehensive advice across a whole range of information that a business has to deal with.

Q:In general, what would be the most challenging aspects of work for those in the senior level/ position in their organisations (executives)? What skills should those at the start of their careers be honing in order to make sure they would be able to handle the challenges that they would experience if they ever get into senior roles?

Craig: The more senior you become within an organisation, the less it is about your technical accounting skills and more about your leadership skills, your people skills, your ability to influence and having that critical thinking.

I placed a large multinational CFO role recently. I can’t recall anything in the requirements around accounting. There’s a team of people that help them get that knowledge to be able to provide good financial advice to the board and to the company and direct them through that. But the key criteria for the role was the ability to inspire, lead, build relationships across functions: IT, marketing, strategy, the CEO and the MD. A lot of that comes with experience. If we’re thinking about learning opportunities for students, they could be putting themselves in a situation that they get to speak in front of groups. Because that is one of the things that the more you do the better you get at it.

AccountingPod: Don’t overlook the Customer Service type of jobs when you are at University. These are great opportunities to be people facing, communicating and helping people/customers to solve problems. In terms of public speaking, you could look at joining events like Startup Weekends or your Student societies or clubs or ToastMasters.

Q: How is the accounting industry in Australia and New Zealand today different from that of the past (10-15 years)? Has it become more competitive?

Craig: Depends on the role that you’re applying for. Right now if you’re a candidate in Auckland, and you want to be a financial accountant or financial analyst. and you’re good at what you do we’ll be able to present you with multiple opportunities. So that’s a candidate-led market.

CFO roles often need somebody to be moving out of that company to present an opportunity to somebody else, so it’s often a highly competitive role.

So, at the graduate and the very senior levels, the competition will be very high. But right now in the mid-level roles, it’s good to be a candidate. In there right now you probably have your pick of where you would work next.

Q: Which accounting service line or field has, in general, more work-life balance? (e.g. Audit vs. Business Advisory, Management Accounting vs. Internal Auditing)

All:If you love what you do, then go for it! Make sure you keep well both mentally and physically.

Interview edited for readability.

Employer Says – Silk Cloud CEO Gabriel Walker Q&A

We recently sat down with Gabriel Walker, CEO of one of our employer partners SilkCloud. SilkCloud is an exciting tech startup venture focusing on innovative ways to help businesses from Australia and New Zealand to access the China market. We asked Gabriel a few questions about business, team and also his perspective on working with AccountingPod. Take a read below.

Q: Who is Gabriel Walker?

This is a very tough question!  The last thing I enjoy doing is talking about myself and you’ve opened this Q&A with a question that forces me to do just that.  I suppose I could say that I’m a builder.  I once built tools for US Special Forces and US Intelligence teams designed to keep people safe and now our team at Silk Cloud is building a bridge between the New Zealand and Chinese economy like there has never been before.

 

Q: What gets Gabriel out of bed every morning?

Mostly my two-year old daughter, both literally and as my fuel to build a better world for her to inherit. 

 

Q: What is Silk Cloud?

We are team of diverse and passionate dreamers that envision a world where there is a more direct relationship between New Zealand and China from a value exchange perspective.  China has always had a desirable consumer base and economy but it is a country that is moving so fast that it has become nearly impossible for Western countries like New Zealand to get up to speed and then start to compete for market share.  Luckily China has come a long way in making it possible for Western businesses to be able to access their economy in the same way a mainland Chinese company would.  We are helping NZ companies understand this and enabling them to invest smart in themselves when entering the Chinese market.

 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges in Silk Cloud’s journey to-date?

There is no shortage of challenges with what we are doing!  There are already plenty of companies selling the promise of China and taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Kiwi business owners and delivering nothing in return.  It’s a large part of why we have built Silk Cloud.  Those companies are selling a dream and doing no work or at the very most charging all that money just to provide access to the market.  We don’t believe in that.  What that means is, with us, you get access to the market for free.  Yes, we invested a lot of our own time and money to make that possible and we have to work even harder to deliver results for our clients in order for us to earn money.  I haven’t heard of any other business willing to invest their own money and time in another businesses success but we believe it needs to be done and we accept the challenge.

 

Q: How important is the team?

The team is everything!  There’s really no other way to put it.  You cant expect people to share your vision if you aren’t willing to bet it all on them so you better have the right people.  Everyone likes to imagine leadership as one man being able to drag the team past the finish line after everyone else has been knocked down.  The reality is that you will collectively take a lot of hits when trying to do something new and it is your job as a leader to stand behind them and prepare them for the hits and hopefully at the end of the day everyone is still standing and moving forward together or you might not ever make it.  Most don’t so better to have people that have proven they can take some hits and I’m very lucky to say that I have that.

 

Q: What makes a great team?

Other than being super resilient per my last point, a great team is a team of doers.  Just remember “motivation” and “drive” are bullshit!  They change like the wind.  It’s great to have proven professionals but that never outweighs a team member that has a natural or learned biased towards action.  In any job you wont always know exactly what to do or how to do it but you need to act anyway.  Either learn or give it your best go.  You will make mistakes and you will learn.  The only mistake you don’t want to learn from is the failure to act or maybe you do because then hopefully you become a doer.

 

Q: What was the most pressing need in terms of Accounting and Finance Support for Silk Cloud?

Accounting and financial support is absolutely critical not only for Silk Cloud but for most early stage companies.  Having tidy financials and the ability to make quick informed decisions based off your burn-rate, your monthly recurring revenue or even a forecast for upcoming expenses is more often than not the difference between success and closing the doors.  You will have no hope of raising a dollar in investment if you cant articulate your financial position and your company’s growth projections. 

 

Q: What makes a rock star Accounting and Finance support team?

A rock star would be someone that is so proficient in accounting tools, like Xero, and hands on practical application of how those tools are used within businesses that they have the mental space to be a part of the vision of company.  Accounting and financial support is often done is isolation from the rest of the business but it absolutely needs to be part of the larger strategy.  A rock star would be able to translate an ambitious vision of a founder into a pragmatic financial plan and structure to help us get there.

 

Q: How did Silk Cloud fulfil its recruitment needs for its accounting and finance support?

We desperately called on the team at Accounting Pod.  Our company moves fast and our books have almost become unmanageable as a separate task for me to also undertake.  I don’t have the time to go through a few months of hiring hoping to find someone that can fill our needs.  We know that with Accounting Pod we are getting young and experienced accounting support with hands-on financial experience that know what we need better than we do.

 

Q: As the CEO, what do you consider as the most important traits in your accounting and finance support team members?

When specifically talking about accounting and finance with my team, I would say that ambition isn’t as good as proficiency.  Proficiency isn’t as good as courage and courage isn’t as good as vision.  Being “motivated” to do the work can change in the face of difficulty or change itself so someone that has proven they can do the work is more important than someone that is momentarily driven to do the work.   Someone that is courageous enough to be a leader and let the business know when there is trouble before it gets to bad is a degree better.  The best trait is someone that can foresee the icebergs and build a contingency plan before letting the business know they even have a problem.

 

Q: How do you view the collaborative relationship with Accounting Pod?

Having a collaborative relationship with Accounting Pod is like a builder’s relationship with bricks.  You can build a house with other materials but you know it’s risky, it might not work and bricks have a proven history as foundational building blocks of a home. 

Q: What would be your advice to aspiring accounting and finance students?

Recognise that the goal is not to be proficient or efficient within the accounting side of the business as much as it is to be an objective voice for companies in articulating the goals and milestones your team must strive for in order to be successful.  Like motivation, the vision of any given company can change like the wind.  It often needs to.  Numbers don’t ever lie.  They don’t change to fit the circumstance or current ambitions of the company.  They tell a story and it is most often the story upon which a company is measured so arguably the most important story a company has to tell. Within whatever company you join, it will be your story to tell so own it!

 

Q: To wrap up, what would be the one thing that you wish you had done when you were a student?

Full disclosure I was a terrible student.  I chased degrees because the US government paid for it and I took full advantage.  I wasted so many opportunities whether it was when I was chasing an MBA at Stanford or while doing a PhD in Genetics or any of the other multiple degrees I have to my name.  In my opinion, the most valuable thing you can learn as a student is how to help other people chase their dreams.  Everyone believes that being a student is an investment in your own future and then they go into the world and question how they’ve spent all this money and time and aren’t actually ready for a real job.  Maybe you have a dream and maybe you don’t and maybe it will change one day and maybe it changed a few times throughout your degree.  The point is that you will more than likely have a dream eventually and what you can start doing as a student is preparing yourself for what it takes to chase that dream by helping someone else first.  Build the experience and social currency you’re one day going to have to call on to build your own future.  Start building your team before you need them and when you’re ready you’ll get shit done.

Natalie’s AccountingPod Journey

Natalie graduated with a Bcom and BA at the end of 2017 from one of the top Universities in Australia and New Zealand. At university, Natalie has maintained good academic achievement and often volunteered at community events. After graduation she was enthusiastic about starting her job hunting journey, however, it was a lot harder than she expected!

After receiving a number of rejections, Natalie decided to a full time job at an art studio teaching children how to paint. Natalie quickly became one of the core members of the team, attracting new students and positively impacting the studios financial performance.The experience gave Natalie fresh determination in her dream to become an accounting professional.

In the summer of 2018, Natalie decided to join AccountingPod’s School of Real Biz program to gain some solid practical experience to kickstart her accounting career.

Natalie’s AccountingPod Journey

We recently sat down with Natalie to chat about her experience with AccountingPod.

Q:Natalie, before AccountingPod, had you had any accounting or finance work experience?

A:No, I had just recently graduated, I had no practical work experience during my 4 years of academic studies and after graduation.

 

Q:What kind of challenges did you face when you were looking for a relevant job in Accounting?

A:After graduation, before I started working at the art studio I had tried for about 7 months to look for a relevant job in Accounting but to no avail. I remember clearly, even the simplest entry level jobs would require at least 2 years of experience. I just did not have the experience at all.

I felt very lost for a period of time, I wondered after 4 years of learning, what can I even do? I had no idea how I would go about starting my professional career.

 

Q:How did you come to know about AccountingPod and why did you choose to learn with AccountingPod?

A:I had read about an online AccountingPod event (CA, CPA ACCA information session) on an online forum. I attended the online event and really liked the people at AccountingPod and thought they are very professional. I checked out their website and saw the School of Real Biz program and realised that was what I needed. So I registered after chatting to their customer support.

 

Q:What do you think about the price of the course?

A:I think the price is very reasonable and acceptable given the value I got out of the program.

I think AccountingPod’s practical experience bootcamp program(School of Real Biz) saved me a lot of time. For example, If I spend 2-3 months learning, and I can get on and start working after that, I’m able to save the time value of money in this case.

I’m alot more confident now about my approach to job hunting and with all the practical experience i have gained from the Real Biz program.

 

Q: How do you feel about the online learning experience at AccountingPod?

A:I really liked AccountingPod’s online learning approach. I had the flexibility to be able to schedule and allocate my time as required. Although the program itself is challenging, AccountingPod’s online learning support team are very helpful. During the week, you could almost get instant responses for your questions. Their experienced Chartered Accountant support means they are able to think about what I’m struggling with and provide hints and guidance. I would then get on and solve problems myself making my learning more effective. AccountingPod’s learning support are very reliable.

The online learning system is smart in the way that when learning support is not available, you are able to send a support ticket and they will come back to me as soon as possible. It’s very convenient and simple to use.

 

Q:What have you learnt from the 6 week School of Real Biz program?

A:I’ve gained hands on practical skills by working on multiple real businesses, their financials and accounting problems. As part of that process, I have gained in-depth experience in Xero and Add-on products. By talking to, presenting to and emailing clients, I’ve practised and gained valuable real life business communication experience. Invaluable guidance and mentorship from experienced mentors. I’m just so much more confident now about my career and job opportunity.

 

Q:Do you think the program has been worth your while?

A:Very much yes. I really lacked practical and real life experience after graduation. The School of Real Biz program simulates all of the tasks and processes that an entry level accountant would need to be able to do and follow including communicating with real clients and working in a virtual team. I think it’s been a fantastic opportunity and experience for me.

 

Q:How much time did you spend working on AccountingPod tasks a week?

A: I spent on average between 1-2 hours everyday on the AccountingPod program. The client emails and hands on Xero tasks usually take about 1-2 hours per task. I also spend time communicating with learning support, my team leader and mentor. This usually takes about 1-2 hours as well. Also, it requires time to really think to solve problems, complete tasks, communicate with the team, team leader and client.

 

Q:Do you think you are now a lot more confident in tackling tasks and problems delegated to you by AccountingPod?

A:Yes, I now have a very good understanding of how to effectively approach tasks and client problems allocated to me. I’m also a lot more familiar with the communication that’s required with the team, external parties and clients to help solve problems and get things done.

 

Q:After you have completed the School of Real Biz program, do you think you are now a confident Xero user?

A: Yes, before the program, I had no experience with Xero at all, now I’m reasonably confident with the day to day use of the software to help businesses with their accounting and bookkeeping needs.

 

Q:Do you feel more confident now about your career and job opportunity after the School of Real Biz program?

A: That’s right, I do feel a lot more confident and skilled in all of these areas:  practical experience, accounting skills and business communication. Also with the guidance and mentorship, I now have a very clear career goal and plan for myself. I clearly understand what kind of role I want. I really appreciate the support and encouragement from the team at AccountingPod.

Be the new Financial Officer of TedxMelbourne

TedxMelbourne is looking for someone who’s got the vision, skills and knowledge to be responsible for the organisation’s financial processes as their new financial officer.

TEDxMelbourne is an independent organisation created in the spirit of TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.

Every year TEDxMelbourne hosts a conference and invites world leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes each. Themes have included education, innovation, future leadership, youth, TEDxWomen and most recently, ‘Untapped’ to bring undiscovered ideas and under-utilised resources to light.

AccountingPod is building the future of financial and accounting education. We will always be redesigning how financial and accounting education is delivered. Our smart online learning platform enables learners to gain real life experience and skills by working with real businesses, clients and data. It empowers students to gain not only the skills and experience, but also the confidence to face the ever evolving financial job market.

Our visions are aligned and we are proud to be supporting organisations like TedXMelbourne. We now encourage talented accounting and business students in Melbourne to apply to become part of the TedXMelbourne team.

Click on the Apply button below, leave us your details and a short message.

[wpforms id=”3436″ title=”false” description=”false”]

Teaching the Future of Jobs with EdTech

Much has been written recently of the core skills which business graduates will need to succeed in future but what is already happening to start to address the future of jobs in what is now called the ‘Fourth Industrial Age’!   

When University of Waikato, Business School Lecturer Jackie Allen ‘plugged in’ an online learning experience from ‘start-up’ AccountingPod in 2016, she was looking for solutions to preparing her students to cope with the ‘pace of change’ in business today and the uncertainty of tomorrow.

Resilience and Flexibility Needed

Says Jackie “we have to build resilience and flexibility” in our students to better equip them for the current and ongoing business disruption. Jackie was looking to better engage her students with real and current tools in use in the business ecosystem while still meeting the course learning outcomes. She had already run a basic Xero course to introduce her students to the cloud but wanted to push beyond that simple exercise and needed new content, new tools and new connections to manage student learning.

Jumping the Technical Skills Gap Sooner

The AccountingPod founders, Judith Cambridge and XingDong Yan had seen the lack of ‘current applied’ business knowledge of graduates first hand, when interviewing candidates for their CA firm in New Zealand and confirmed via a survey of 500 students during 2016. Candidates were consistently demonstrating a lack of knowledge of business cloud, digital solutions and practical New Zealand business contextual knowledge which would allow them to move quickly from ‘technical compliance’ into the much needed advisory and thinking space for business. Says Judith ‘as public practice accountants we all know how the technology we use today has absolutely changed the work available for a graduate. Couple that automation with any other disruption; including offshoring, outsourcing or just training of clients to do more with these online tools, and you have to ask, ‘what are our graduates going to do’?”

Answer, “we have to help them jump the technical skills gap sooner to where they can add real value to business.”

Enter AccountingPod where students are given a ‘real financial experience’ by each having their own SME, its data both financial and non-financial, and access to unique instances of online business tools in which to practice.

Stretching Horizons

That 2016 pilot at University of Waikato was deemed a success and the course was offered again in September 2017.

Says Jackie, “as an educator, focusing on Accounting and Accounting Information Systems, I cannot overstate how energising it is to have access to a learning solution like AccountingPod.  This learning approach enables students to fully immerse themselves in a real business.  The structure of the learning portal guides students through a series of modules and tasks, which are designed to stretch their horizons.  By the end of the month-long AccountingPod experience our students have interacted with local, national and global resources in a way that allows them to bring together a wide range of skills and knowledge, developed through their tertiary study.  AccountingPod was a challenging experience and those students who fully engaged with the process thoroughly enjoyed it – that’s what education should be about!”

Gaining Behavioural Insight

Text answers in dashboard format for teacher review, auto marking, feedback and webchat support are all part of the AccountingPod experience but there is also opportunity to research insights into student online learning behaviour, an emerging area of interest to educators. See example in the total ‘time spent per day’ graph, below. The peaks generally align with each learning module closing date.

Summary

At AccountingPod, real and recent business data is used to curate unique new learning content. This experiential and applied approach to business financial capability learning represents a fresh and innovative addition to an educators toolbox in their search to equip the student of today with practical skills for tomorrows ‘future of jobs’.

AccountingPod Ltd is an EdTech [Education Technology] Company based in Queenstown NZ. They can be contacted at www.accountingpod.com

Jackie Allen is a Business School lecturer at the University of Waikato and can be contacted at  jackie.allen@waikato.ac.nz.

Meet Our Students – Emily Yang

Emily is off to Beijing for her summer internship with one of the big four accounting firms. We are very excited for Emily and she has our best wishes. We had a lot of fun working with Emily through the #competeforcashcow nation wide competition and our recent Job Ready program. It is great to be able to share Emily’s story and journey in this short video. Enjoy!