On Wednesday this week we gingerly broke new ground at Xero by taking part in our first live Google Hangout broadcast on AccountingWeb, the UK’s biggest accountants community. Google Hangout is probably one of the most useful features of the Google+ service and is great for hosting group video chats, and these can also be broadcast live on YouTube.
Continuing our series on Rebranding the accounting profession, it’s well worth looking at PracticePlus, who have been working with Xero Accounting Partners around the world for the past three years and have come up with this great new video about their service.
Launched today, PracticePlus’ latest innovation in accountant websites – PracticePlus Lite – offers a superfast way for Xero partners to get online with a modern, mobile-friendly website that includes a suite of digital marketing tools built-in from the get-go.
In the regional town of Orange, NSW, accounting firm Pigot Miller Wilson (PMW) is switching to WorkflowMax Practice Manager. PMW succesfully exported their client base to WorkflowMax Practice Manager at the beginning of the month and their invoicing followed shortly thereafter. They expect to change to make a big difference – not just in the practice but across the entire town.
By changing to WorkflowMax Practice Manager, they’re freeing up more of their time because the data flows from Workflow Max into Xero and vice versa without any need for manual entry. And that’s how they’re making a difference: they’re using that extra time to offer extra services that make local businesses better. Continue reading ›
At Xerocon London last year I announced the formation of a UK Partner advisory group, trendily referred to by the name XPAC (Xero Partner Advisory Committee) – and we operate one group in each of Australia, New Zealand, UK and the US, rotating membership annually.
The XPAC’s remit is to represent and advocate the collective views and insights of our accounting and bookkeeper communities in a structured way. We get truckloads of free-range insight across a number of channels like social media, 1:1 relationships and so on, but we think it helps to complement that with a regular sync and two way exchange with a fixed group of expert advocates.
We held our first physical meeting at our UK office a couple of weeks back and it was a great half-day exchange of ideas, discussion about future direction and feedback on positioning and priorities.
We have a pretty good fix on where we ought to be heading but it’s a big help to be able to check our logic and thinking as we go.
Following from our post earlier this week on rebranding the accounting profession we are excited to point to a newly released case study by digital marketing experts Mogul. They take the process of redesigning and refreshing an accountant’s website a huge step further with Xero login, integrated practice management, onboarding, email marketing, content management software and more!
The subject of the case study, Cloud Accountants, already had a great website that showed off their services and tech-savviness. They were winner of the first Xero Website of the Year Award in 2010. It had a friendly look and showed transparent value-based pricing options demonstrating their forward-thinking approach to being business advisors.
Guest post by Seth David, a technology consultant specializing in trends and solutions for bookkeepers.
Thanks to today’s technology, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers are more valuable than ever before. Our roles are changing; we’re business coaches, financial planners and virtual CFOs. Yet to fulfill these responsibilities, you have to be able to leverage technology to benefit both you and your clients.
To some, this might seem obvious. But the truth is that adopting smart technology can be a challenge. For starters, I admit that I have a technology addiction! Whenever new software or applications pop-up, my mind races with possibility. More often than not, I’m quick to implement new solutions. My clients however, require more convincing.
When bringing new technology into my practice, I have just one rule: it has to make it easier for clients to do business with me.
The key is to always keep the client front of mind. Here is a checklist to help you:
- Take the time to understand your clients’ business hurdles and comfort level with technology.
- Make a list of the issue(s) you’re solving. Use this as your guide when selecting a product.
- Present clients with solutions that complement their current processes or are easy to adopt.
- Check-in and review how technology is benefiting your clients.
As cloud accounting becomes the norm we’re seeing the positive impacts of accountants truly becoming business advisors to their clients. An indicator that the profession is moving in this advisory direction can come from a quick review of accountant websites out there now. When a firm moves to the cloud, streamlines their core compliance work, frees up time and starts offering advisory services, they’ll often re-brand not long after. A couple of examples of the new breed are shown below.
Brand has been a strange thing to talk about in the past within the realms of the accounting profession. Only 36 years ago it was considered unethical for accountants to advertise to clients on the basis that it encouraged the business side to overstep the professional side.
Given this history, it was a big ask a couple of decades ago for the profession to change tack and become business advisors and coaches for clients – not to mention advertising these services. Onlookers at the time would have thought Noah had a better shot of slamming the handbrakes on the ark and laying some tail.
Early adopters of the advisory approach were drawn in by the promise of greater profits and a higher calling to be more than just the conduit between clients and the taxman. They proved it was ok to make more money for clients as well as their firm and made leaping over to the business side feel a little less unethical. At the same time the ‘dark arts’ of advertising started to be adopted within the profession and consideration for the firm’s brand bounced around the tables of a few partner meetings.
And why not? As it became more accepted to provide business advisory services to clients it also made sense to align the brand of the firm with these services in order to attract clients who wanted those services. It’s obvious right? An entrepreneurial small business owner looking to build their business can be expected to positively consider a firm called something like Growthwise.
The cloud has delivered up some amazing document management platforms. Think of Box, Dropbox and Google Drive (just to name a few) and you think inexpensive, accessible, easy to use and fully functional document management solutions.
Gone are the days where as a small business owner you need to fork out thousands of dollars in server infrastructure to store your data. Driving the cost of storage down through economies of scale, firms like Box have built out a platform that isn’t just about data storage. With a richness of interface and a wide ecosystem of integrated solutions, as an SME you get a robust, low cost, feature complete storage solution with the ability to access and share your documents with clients, suppliers and staff anywhere in the globe.
SurePayroll is a lot like Xero – they want to help US small businesses better focus on the important things by turning the time-consuming task of payroll into something that’s as easy as 1-2-3.
The SurePayroll product has everything you need to manage your small business payroll: in addition to a fully featured payroll application that can be accessed from any computer (and mobile apps too), SurePayroll also handles tax filing and payment, paycheck payment via direct deposit or paper checks, and an online portal for both employers and employees.
Who is it for?
SurePayroll is all about small business from entrepreneurs starting out with no employees right through to franchises. SurePayroll is also great for accountants managing small business payroll with an accountant dashboard and partner programs available.
While our main focus is in four key markets – New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and United States – the rest of the Xero world covers well over 100 countries. We’re happy to report that this “Global” region is going gangbusters.
We have over 150 accounting partners (many of whom are shown in the map above) who are ready to help out business owners outside our four main regions. It’s important to have Xero Partners in-country so that local businesses have trusted advisors to turn to with their accounting and tax affairs, advisors that use Xero as their core accounting platform.
Some regions are showing notably strong organic growth; namely Canada, Singapore and South Africa, where we recently welcomed our first Global Gold Partner – Colin Timmis from Real Time Accounting. We also have Partners in other beautiful locations like Seychelles, Curacao and the Maldives – all places that in the name of equal and fair partner treatment may require Xero staff visits in the near future…