B2B Payments

Where SMEs Use Accounting Tools Worse Than Spreadsheets


The dreaded spreadsheet: It’s often cited by FinTech players as one of the most cumbersome and least efficient manual accounting tools. Excel spreadsheets can be the epitome of laborious and error-prone cash management solutions, especially as accounting software firms promote the benefits of automation.

But SME accounting tech firm Xero has highlighted one market where SMEs are using something even worse than spreadsheets.

Reports on Monday (July 18) revealed Xero’s latest efforts to penetrate the Asian markets, having already entered into Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines. But Shaun Burke, the company’s regional sales director for Asia, says the region offers massive potential for growth, especially since the use of manual tools by SMEs here remains commonplace.

According to Xero, spreadsheets remain popular but, even worse, so do handwritten ledgers.

“The adoption of cloud and integrated solutions at the business level is still something that’s a little bit new here, and I think, from an accounting perspective, moving over to those technologies is still a bit of a step change when some firms are still using Excel,” Burke said in an interview with Scoop.

The outlet also highlighted analysis from the Asia Cloud Computing Association that found a flurry of challenges for cloud technology to gain traction in the Asia-Pacific region, including regulation that varies from country to country, fragmented markets and more.

Burke also pointed to a lack of experience with regulation and SMEs’ compliance efforts in some APAC markets as another challenge. He told reporters that Xero sees tens of millions of potential SME customers across APAC.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.

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