Date posted: 28/08/2019 5 min read

CA Catalyst helps CAs harness tech opportunities

CA Catalyst is soon to hit its first birthday. Find out how it’s helping CAs make the most of new tech in accounting.

In Brief

  • CA Catalyst is an initiative to assist CAs with the opportunities and challenges of new technology.
  • CA Catalyst is creating immersion programs (where CAs assist start-ups), webinars, practical tools, guides, networking events and education initiatives.
  • The next 12 months should see an expansion of online resources, more events in diverse regions, and more immersion opportunities.

When we conducted the CA ANZ strategy review in 2017, it highlighted how technology is having enormous impacts on the accounting profession. For accountants, it’s more important than ever to understand how technology and new business models can help drive business. Both our own businesses, and those of our clients.

In response to that strategy review, CA ANZ set up CA Catalyst, an initiative to help CAs embrace the opportunities technology brings while finding a clear path through the challenges.

Through CA Catalyst’s immersion programs, webinars, practical tools, guides, networking events and education initiatives, we are already seeing an incredible response from the CA community. Events and online programs have been oversubscribed on every occasion, and we have heard they are truly helping CAs to transform their practices and bring new value to clients.

The feedback from members who have participated has been overwhelming positive. One member called CA Catalyst “the most valuable [CA ANZ] initiative in living memory”, which is quite the accolade – and certainly helps me feel confident it is having an impact.

Collaborating with start-up hubs

One of the first things we did was partner with three start-up hubs: Australia’s Stone & Chalk and Fishburners, and The Icehouse in New Zealand.

These alliances create opportunities for CAs to learn from technologists – and vice versa, building valuable networks.

More than 200 applications were received for our start-up hub immersion programs, and 40 members have participated so far – either as a CA in Residence for a month or paired with an entrepreneur as a CA Start-up Adviser. Applications for both these programs are booked out six months in advance, and we are looking to expand them to allow more members to get involved.

We’ve also co-hosted a number of one-off events with our start-up hub partners, including the launch of the “Small Firm, Big Impact” event series. Our “Round the Corner” networking events, run alongside pitch nights at Fishburners, have also been a great success.

Practical help with new tech tools

Another area of focus for the CA Catalyst team has been finding ways to help CA ANZ members in practice navigate the plethora of accounting software and other technology solutions in the marketplace. Our first wave of initiatives focused on ‘regtech’ solutions to ease compliance with new anti-money laundering rules.

Smart technologies, such as robotic process automation, are reshaping our industry at a rapid pace and we want to help members feel empowered to make the most of this opportunity.

Our CA Catalyst Workflow Automation Webinar had a great line-up of speakers including Xero’s head of accounting Sue Pak CA, MYOB general manager – product David Weickhardt, accounting tech expert Heather Smith CA, Zapdat co-founder Joe Pien CA, and CA ANZ’s own Geraldine Magarey FCA. That webinar has now been downloaded by more than 2500 members.

How are we looking forward?

When we designed CA Catalyst, we didn’t want to over-plan what it should be. In the first year, we’ve learned a lot about what members want and that will inform what we do next.

“When we designed CA Catalyst, we didn’t want to over-plan what it should be.”
Lee Whitney

In the year ahead, CA Catalyst will launch more online courses and resources, and run more immersion opportunities and events in more regions.

If you’re just beginning to think about how to get involved, a good first step is to register for CA Catalyst updates via the CA ANZ website.

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Join the CA Catalyst community to access how-to guides, diagnostic tools, webcasts, exclusive events and workshops.

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