Exeleon Magazine

Ross James: Powering Infinite and Sustainable Opportunities

Ross James_Exeleon Magazine

Leadership in any job role is important, especially in management positions that are the facilitators of a company’s success and growth. It requires you to strengthen your leadership muscle to develop, support, encourage and motivate a team, as well as model a high standard of practice, knowledge, and care.

For some, passion is the key element in leading people. However, it’s also important for people to understand and seek inspiration from that passion. It is only then they can understand, envision and execute the ultimate goal of the company.

A true leader enthuses those around you and brings out the best in everyone to reach newer heights by catapulting their ideas. One such dynamic and passionate leader is Ross James. Ross James brings with him over 30 years of experience in the ITC industry and is the CEO and Founder of Accloud who is on a mission to change the world of business, for good.

He believes in giving people around him opportunities to grow and lead in their own right and become an inspiring leader. Through his platform Ross aims to encourage entrepreneurs to use Accloud’s powerful business management tools by facilitating trade and access to capital. In his own words he regards this as a “breakthrough, low-touch commerce solution, for an ever-more mobile world.”

His essence of leadership

Being a leader includes training your eye for creativity while seeing and doing things differently. It also involves using your imagination and thinking ‘outside of the box.’

Ross has always shown initial sparks of leadership in his initiatives from his younger years. Recollecting one such incident he shares his excitement of building a billie cart at the tender age of 9 years.

That billie cart — a simple platform with four wheels and a moveable front steering column — turned out to be a self-powered vehicle of both fun and responsibility as he realized he can build a trailer for his brother to experience the joy of speeding down the hill together.

He didn’t want to enjoy the journey alone, so he proceeded to build a 22-foot long where he invited every child in the street to sit and feel the exhilaration.

Although his engineering masterpiece was knocked down due to fear of risking the lives of every child, he was able to discover and explore his skills as a leader. Instances like these gave him the confidence to inspire others, have a clear vision, think creatively and most importantly, have a problem-solving approach in adversities.

Making the small, mighty

Founded in 2015, under Ross’ leadership, Accloud aims to empower Small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) with state-of-the-art cloud-based management system tools. He implored the possibilities and need of a specific, unique and sustainable solution for such companies in high growth markets.

The idea behind Accloud’s name was “accounting in the cloud” where the intention was to create a virtual community of entrepreneurs. This was especially useful when the World Bank announced the crisis in the SME job creation market. Thus, Ross set out to create an end-to-end platform to enable B2B trading along with accessible micro-finance services. This expanded the growth for financial inclusion that helps such businesses to actively participate in the formal economy by ensuring more employment and social wellbeing.

Four years later, Accloud is rolling out a full suite of mobile-first business management and accounting tools, while offering SMEs access to affordable capital and entry to new markets. However, behind B2B trading and micro-finance is a powerful accounting engine that simplifies many business tasks and improves the collective productivity and profitability. With international expansion plans in place, Ross has also launched in India to complement government initiatives that are bringing millions of rural citizens online.

Being the founder and CEO, Ross James inspires his team and partners by talking about the vision. He especially focuses on the depth of social impact that he can encourage by lifting communities out of poverty into prosperity.

Currently, he also oversees the role of the CTO which includes dedicated involvement in technical issues while making sure the direction of the company is clear and consistent. He is excited for his head of development, Ian, to take up more responsibilities in this role as he has been an integral part in building the platform and growing the company.

While Ross’ vision is quite extended and complex, he’s trying to reduce the friction by enabling this in the simplest form possible. He says, “We are multilingual and want our users to be able to achieve complex business tasks on mobile devices, so we spend a lot of time paring down these tasks to the minimum we can.”

With added rich functionality below the skin, Ross understands that this can be overwhelming for early adopters or new users of these business tools. The temporary solution for this is to hide what they can, so that new users can grow into the platform at their pace.

Another important aspect of his business is the fact that a major portion of his target customer base operates outside the formal economy. This could be a hindrance in implementing new, brave and unique ideas. As a result, he is committed to bridge the gap between great business ideas and formal education with focused effort and persistence.

Building a more mobile world

One of the most rewarding things to do as a leader is to inspire others by leading by example. In fact, all leaders that inspire their team motivate them to be the best that they can be, try new ideas and work hard. Such a leader creates a legacy that extends beyond a lifetime.

Subsequently, creating something from scratch is not easy as it takes tremendous energy, persistence, and capital. Having lived in Ukraine for 4 years leading his development team, Ross understood the importance of minimizing capital requirements, and respecting cultural differences of emerging economies.

This was a tough phase for him as he hailed from Australia and never had the chance to witness snow, let alone be plunged into -25C temperature in peak winters. But Ross found strength in such challenges and did not deter from facing these obstacles along the way.

Infact, Ross was instrumental in developing distributed technologies during the early stages of Internet adoption. He used his expertise to support low bandwidth capacity even through thick client applications. He has always been a natural leader, and especially in the technology arena, he has been able to pick market opportunities quickly and consistently by developing new business ventures.

In the current world leaders face regularly new challenges in their positions. The most common obstacles are the internal roadblocks that stunt leadership growth and development. For Ross, the biggest roadblock in his journey was the collapse of a particular Australian fund.

It resulted in a multi-faceted problem, with devastated investors losing large amounts of their capital. This further gave rise to uncomfortable questions about the possession of the principal amount of the fund, increasing chaos about the ownership of shares and finally, the disruption of many impending business plans. Things went south when travel issues brought on by the global pandemic made it more challenging. But both problems have opened many new doors that didn’t previously seem accessible.

Despite achieving all the success in over three decades, if there’s one thing that he would change would be the opportunity to raise far more capital in the beginning and ensure a broader team base.

His timeless advice

With the vision that the size of a business shouldn’t limit its potential, Ross is mobilizing business management by giving entrepreneurs the tools to grow and find capital, trading, accounting, and tax solutions in a customized and easy system.

Through his rich and diverse experience, Ross’ advice for emerging and aspiring leaders in the current changing market is to “be nimble and be prepared to spin your idea in a heartbeat.”

He believes that one must make the most out of every opportunity before it slips out of your hand. He also adds, “You need to be aware of them and how you may create new opportunities where you hadn’t seen them before.”

Enroute to a flourishing future

Leaders are in leading positions because they have faced the ups and downs before reaching success in their professional lives. For too many leaders their success is hidden in their self-reflection. In fact, after a certain point of time, leadership development becomes easier with self-reflection.

Ross James and his company, Accloud are currently poised for high growth in central Asia and plan to expand their business plans in Africa. Later on, he intends to begin the roll-out in Latin America. “Our platform is very economical for our end users and incredibly scalable, so we look forward to the challenges of high growth,” he shares.

Subsequently, he continues to act on the feedback that will help to fast-track the results. “Our team’s mission is to make a sustainable change for the better in the emerging and high-growth economies,” he concludes.

CEO and Founder | Accloud

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