Down in Australia there’s an aggressive battle between two cloud-based SMB accounting software providers — MYOB and Xero. MYOB recently announced new AI features that they believe will enable bookkeepers and accountants to spend more time offering clients advisory services.

According to research conducted by MYOB, 70% of accountants and bookkeepers would like to offer more advisory services but are unable to due to time constraints. To that end MYOB launched a free AI tool called Advisor — which uses natural language and machine learning to mine information and insights out of a client’s accounting books.

What’s the take away here? Cloud and intelligent technologies will continue to affect how SMBs operate their businesses. Sometimes new cloud technologies will directly affect how an SMB operates its business, sometimes it will be indirect. In either case SMBs will continue to benefit from application of technologies which began at the enterprise and are now being scaled down to the SMB market.

Another layer to this development is that accountants in the age of the cloud and AI are under more pressure to offer value added services like consulting, as the basic functions of accounting are increasingly automated. We expect the same thing to be true of ad and marketing agencies, which are seeing more and more activities that once required human labor become automated.