Must we trust? Learning to have faith in the cloud

Trust is something that is regularly put to the test and has become the very thing businesses have to rely on in this day and age.

As Erin Smith, employee at Xero, questions, “How did trust, that fundamental building block of human behaviour, become a cornerstone of modern business?”

The rise in digital technology has led consumers to place an intrinsic trust in technology. We save private information on our cell phones; we post our most intimate details on our social media accounts; much of our most personal information is floating around the internet just waiting to be accessed. Yet, we do it. But, what does all of this mean for the world of accounting and bookkeeping?

Rachel Botsman, author of What’s Mine is Yours, recently spoke at the annual Xerocon conference and said that “Technology is enabling trust between strangers in ways never seen before,” which is important because “trust is the bridge between the known and the unknown. If you want to create trust in any organisation, you have to reduce the unknown.” Botsman went on to cite organisations such as Uber, Airbnb and BlaBlaCar as businesses that rely entirely on trust between the employee and the client. These businesses are booming because they force their clients to take a leap of faith into something new and different, but also something that is easier for both the employee and the client. “Trust is what drives change. Trust is a conduit for ideas to flow,” says Botsman.

Smith adds, “As traditional chains of trust move away from institutions and into the hands of individuals, grey areas of privacy, identity and risk emerge.” As Botsman goes on to explain, our preconceived ideas of what trust is don’t match the ideas of trust we need to have nowadays. Thus, there needs to be trust in the likelihood that things will go right and accountability if things go wrong. Do we need to rethink our notions of trust? Yes, because technology is paving the way for simplicity but the onus is on people to manage it correctly.

These trust notions need to be considered when we look at cloud-based accounting solutions because the relationship between employee and client needs to be one in which trust is built and maintained. This is why reputable businesses, such as Key Accounts, form the stepping stones towards the trust economy.

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