Xero SA's Timmis: SMME Software Needn't Be Complicated

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Episode 7 of the BIG5D.TV Podcast features a great conversation with Colin Timmis, the South Africa country manager for the global cloud accounting platform Xero about what it takes to get SMMEs to overcome their anxiety about technology and use it to their advantage.


On the podcast, Colin talks about how intense the struggle to survive is among SMMEs in South Africa, and throughout the region in the wake of the pandemic. 

"The reality for most small businesses here is there is no plan B," Colin said. "For many small businesses in South Africa, like, there are very few other options. It's as if they have landed on the beaches and burnt the ships. They have to make it work. There's no corporate job waiting for you to go back to."

You can listen to the podcast here:

The BIG5D.TV Podcast · Episode Seven: Colin Timmis, Xero

Colin argues that software can be a major contributor to small business survival,  yet many small businesses still need to be educated on just how affordable and easy to use most business software is today. Most software is subscription-based, and this cash-flow friendly. And it's designed to be easy to learn without a team of IT consultants.

“Traditionally, I think people think there has to be a huge capital investment. There have to be contracts that are signed, and they need an expert to upgrade their infrastructure, and to do all the training and education,” Colin explains.

“Whereas, you don't do that when you download an app on your phone. An expert doesn't come in and say, ‘This is how you use the app’. That's what all good technology does. Whether it's accounting software, eCommerce technology, or blog writing tools. It's intuitive and it's easy to use. And if it's not, it doesn't grow and become popular.”

From his perch, Timmis says the pandemic has clearly driven a lot of developers to innovate in the SMME software space. 

"Over the last sort of three months, the number of requests that I've seen from companies wanting to integrate and wanting to build something, or make a contribution to the ecosystem is definitely far greater than what it was in January or February," Timmis said. 

Our interview with Colin was originally recorded in November at the BigFive Virtual Summit.

You can view the interview here:



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