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The perfect blend

Cutting-edge technology but with an accountant's human touch.

Ollie Maitland Nov 08, 2019

In 1779, a weaver named Ned Ludd broke two stocking frames in a fit of rage. Ludd’s act of destruction led to his name being co-opted by a protest group known as the Luddites.


Much like their namesake, Luddites were craftsmen. They feared machines would replace them and went on a spate of destruction, tearing apart the machinery they hated. As you’re probably well aware — I mean, just look around you — the Luddites didn’t succeed at halting modernity.


The spirit that animated the Luddites has never gone away, though. Distrust of the new, especially when it comes to the expansion of technology, is still common. Especially these days, with technology completely re-defining work, tasks and activities once thought of as ‘human’.


In fact, the dialectic of technological progress and reaction is stronger than ever. Take a look at Target, one of the biggest chain stores in the US. The megastore’s CEO has said it won't follow the trend for robot workers.


At Wal-Mart, Target’s big rival, autonomous robots roam the aisles at many of retailer’s stores, cleaning spills and scanning shelves for inventory shortages. Low-paid work traditionally done by humans. 


"You won't see robots in Target stores anytime soon,” Target’s CEO said.

He’s got a point. We’ve all experienced the frustration of wandering around an inadequately staffed supermarket, looking for an employee to help us but only finding other confused, lost shoppers. A large cleaning robot gliding around would only add to the spookiness.


Target’s stand against this inhuman future is the right one, then. The ‘human touch’, Target’s CEO put it, is indeed a vital part of customer happiness. Technology that scorches our stores, businesses and banks of humanity should be avoided.


Where to, then? Should we all charge a Wal-Mart and destroy the cleaning robot, like Luddites tearing apart textile machinery? Obviously, no. If there’s one thing we can learn from these historical wreckers that resisting progress is a futile endeavour.


Halting the future is not an option. Instead, the question is how will progress be managed and by whom? “Whose tomorrow is tomorrow?” as Bertolt Brecht asked. There is a chance that progress could be enervating, spooky and weird — but it could also be wonderful and inspiring.


Helpful or thoughtfully deployed automation can help us all live better. Assisted living robots, for example, can keep our most vulnerable people safer and happier. We have in front of us two futures: one where technology displaces and alienates — or one where it aids and empowers. Which one will we choose?




At Capitalise, we think about this dilemma a lot. As one of our investors, Frank Rotman observed, “Banks must, and do, manage a complete suite of banking products and serve all clients through all channels.” We cannot go backwards or return to a fondly remembered past of in-branch banking.


Technology has improved banking for the better. But at the same time, an over-reliance has developed on self-service and banks have shuttered branches at a record rate. Business owners have been left adrift and the bank manager is now a relic.


That’s why our approach blends cutting-edge technology with the human touch provided by our accountant partners. We believe in technology and its ability to improve our lives and businesses — but we’re not naive, either.


Progress isn’t good in-and-of-itself. What it leads to is up to us. Humans have a critical role to play in this. For us, that comes in the form of our accountant partners.


Become a Capitalise partner and keep that human touchpoint for your clients. 

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