Today’s Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (17 May)
Tech Startups Encouraged To Apply For the Wits MIT Global Startup Course 2017
Wits University is inviting applications for participation in its MIT Global Startup Labs Programme, hosted in conjunction with MIT Sloan School of Management. Taking place at Tshimologong, Wits University’s Digital Innovation Precinct from 24 June to 29 July 2017, this intensive programme will provide opportunities for participants to learn and experience the process of innovating and building a technology startup.
JCSE director and Tshimologong founder, Prof Barry Dwolatzky, says that applicants need to exhibit a sense of cohesion, drive, and creativity: “We are looking for teams of three to five people who either already have a startup idea, or are in the nascent stages of pursuing it already. This is a fantastic opportunity to boost entrepreneurship and technology, which is vital to the development of our local economy.”
He says that through the MIT curriculum, classes will cover how to create a business model and how to develop an app. Each team is required to have at least one technical team member that can code or develop app wire frames.
To be accepted into the programme each team member must complete one application and once accepted, each team will receive an email confirming their acceptance. Entries close on 24 May and all successful teams will be notified by 9 June 2017.
For information on the MIT Global Startup Labs Programme visit www.facebook.com/mitgslsa/. Queries may be sent to SouthAfricaGSL@gmail.com.
SMEs Want To Work With Accountants That Understand Technology – Survey
The majority (87%) of SMEs prefer to work with accountants who understand technology, according to a survey of over 600 South African accountants and SME owners conducted by Xero, in partnership with World Wide Worx.
Most accountants (88%) think that in-depth knowledge of technology and automation will be crucial to the success of the profession within the next three years. Professionals will need to upskill, and 80% of accountants acknowledge that they’ll need some kind of training in the next five years to adapt.
Respondents identified mobile technologies (59%), automation (29%) and AI (22%) as some of the most exciting new innovations, although 15% did not know enough about any to be intrigued.
Technology has enabled SMEs to automate many of the tasks traditionally performed by accountants, such as data entry and bank statement processing, and as a result 31% of SMEs surveyed do not think they will need an accountant in 10 years’ time.
However, the research identified an opportunity for accountants to remain relevant through offering value-add services such as business consultancy: 23% of SMEs report frequently asking their accountant for non-financial advice, and 27% report doing it more than once. The potential for added value is considered ‘very important’ by 62% when choosing an accountant. As a result, accountants are the most trusted advisor for 65% of SME owners.
Technology will help enable this by increasing flexibility: 59% consider technology to be highly important in terms of freeing up time for consultancy beyond day-to-day numerical work.
Cindy Dibete, chairperson for the South African Institute of Professional Accountants, comments on the research: “Twenty years ago, at the beginning of my accounting career, we were updating financial records manually on DOS computers. Xero’s research has illustrated that, in 2017, the technological landscape is rather different. Although technology poses several challenges for the profession, we shouldn’t panic: accountants aren’t going to become obsolete, and SMEs will still be in need of their services for years to come. What Xero’s research illustrates is a need for a broader realignment of the accounting role: one that focuses on strategic and advisory functions as much as financial management.”
Contactless Payments To Exceed $1tn By 2019
The global value of contactless transactions made via payment cards, mobile and wearables (the technology built into a card that allows users to pay instantly, by tapping your card over a secure contactless terminal), will reach $1.3 trillion by 2019, more than doubling from an estimated $590 billion in 2017, this is according to research by fintech analysts Juniper Research.
According to the research, contactless payments: NFC Handsets, Wearables & Payment Cards 2017-2021, contactless card levels will continue to dominate transaction values, accounting for 80% of total contactless transactions in 2019. The research forecasts that contactless transactions via debit/credit cards will exceed $2 trillion globally by 2021.
The research found that many markets with a relatively well-established contactless infrastructure have been seeded by the card providers, albeit with varying degrees of success. Juniper found that in 2016, while cards accounted for well over 90% of transactions by value in many European markets (for example, rising to 99% in Spain), in the US the position was reversed. Mobile wallets accounted for 90% of the total contactless transactions in the US.
“Purely from a payments and convenience perspective, it will be difficult for mobile wallet providers to gain existing market share from contactless cards. It is, therefore, incumbent upon them to deliver innovative services through which the mobile wallet will become the default payment mechanism,” added research author Nitin Bhas.