CEO Paul Ramakers and Chief Product Officer Joep Hoeks share their vision on how software innovations can contribute to future-proof growth

 CEO Paul Ramakers and Chief Product Officer Joep Hoeks share their vision on how software innovations can contribute to future-proof growth

The labour market, technology and responsible business are the key challenges for SMEs in 2023

Delft, 17 May 2023 – The 10th edition of Exact Live, the business event for small and medium-sized enterprises and their accountants, took place at Rotterdam Ahoy yesterday. This anniversary edition focused on how people and companies can use technology to achieve future-proof growth. The CEO of software development company Exact, Paul Ramakers, delivered a keynote speech about the market developments affecting small and medium-sized enterprises. The main challenges are the tight labour market, the use of new technologies, and responsible business. Efficient working practices are therefore more important than ever. During the same session, Chief Product Officer (CPO) Joep Hoeks focused on software innovations that can help overcome these challenges. He presented four principles that are central to Exact’s software development: user-friendliness, open architecture, integration, and no-hands automation.

Thousands of Exact customers and partners gathered at the Rotterdam Ahoy venue yesterday for the business event of the year: Exact Live. The theme of the anniversary edition was 'Foresight starts with insight', so many of insights were shared throughout the day both during the event's many knowledge and inspiration sessions and on the interactive exhibition floor.

The business challenges of 2023 increase the need for automation

“Business is all about foresight, but that can be tricky with so many new developments emerging all the time," Paul Ramakers says. "Inflation, the tight labour market, technological innovations and responsible business are themes that are important to us all. I notice this when I talk to the people around me, and the figures from the Exact 2023 SME Barometer survey we commissioned in the spring of 2023 confirm these trends." For example, finding staff is currently a major business challenge for 40% of SMEs in the Netherlands. This has become a structural problem. Amongst the respondents, 60% stated that responsible business is an important business objective in 2023. And if we consider technology, a large majority (58%) believe that technological changes will have a strong impact on the market over the next 3 years. Paul: “Exact also focuses and actively works on those challenges, and we hope to inspire you with our insights today.”

Paul explained how Exact approaches responsible business. He continued: "We aim to reduce our CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to 2019. We are therefore travelling far less and we had solar panels installed on our office roofs. However, in our view, responsible business goes beyond sustainability: we also want to contribute to the society we operate in. That’s why all our colleagues are allowed to spend three working days a year doing voluntary work of their choice." As far as technological innovations are concerned, Paul can be very clear: "With the current inflation levels and tight labour market, working more efficiently is an absolute must. Digitalisation and automation can be very helpful, and Exact is fully committed to these. Every day, more than 700 colleagues develop existing and new software products that allow us to offer solutions to further optimise the business operations of entrepreneurs and accountants."

Four basic software development principles

Chief Product Officer Joep Hoeks followed up on the keynote address and presented the four principles Exact follows to develop its software. "Exact develops user-friendly, open and integrated no-hands business software," he said. "User-friendliness speaks for itself, I think. Exact develops cloud software with a modern user interface that is easy to use. By open, I mean the open architecture we actively try to achieve with our software. This makes it easy for users to link our software to apps from other providers so that they can customise the software themselves. In this way, we encourage freedom of choice and collaboration within the market." The integrated aspect is about offering a complete, seamless suite that connects the worlds of financial software and ERP. This robust and reliable Exact environment also guarantees users' privacy and cyber security. The final aspect is no-hands automation. “That reflects the essence of our software: we want to automate repetitive tasks as much as possible, so our customers' hands are no longer tied and they can focus on their passions,” Joep Hoeks continued.

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