Guest post written by Emily Hoult. Emily is our newest Canadian Xero Ambassador and Managing Partner of Rice & Company LLP hails from Calgary and is a passionate supporter of ongoing education. She hasn’t been out of school since kindergarten and is always looking to learn something new. Starting with a BSc in Computer Science and then her CA, she’s gone on to complete multiple CPAs (USA and Hong Kong), a CISA, CPA Canada’s 3-year In-depth Tax program, and most recently, her ICD.D. Emily is currently reading for an LLM at the University of London. You can also catch her leading a session at our Xero Roadshow this year on October 7th.
My first Xero Roadshow was in Calgary in 2018. The Xero team set up at the Hudson event centre right downtown and welcomed us all to a half-day event. Bill Kimball and the rest of the local team took to the stage and shared the vision for where they wanted Xero to take the Canadian community of Accountants and Bookkeepers. Despite Xero’s Canadian presence being small back then, the event made clear that they wanted to grow it by partnering with firms – an avenue they knew from experience was the best way to help us, them and the small businesses we both work with.
Aside from this, I took away three important lessons that I could apply to Rice & Company as we entered a high-growth phase, to push the boundaries of excellence and give our clients bespoke solutions that made sense for them.
1. Don’t spread yourself too thin
You can’t be an expert in all softwares and apps, but you don’t need to be. The small businesses we serve come to us for direction and advice, and that includes helping them choose and implement their accounting systems and apps. Choosing a strong collection of tools and becoming an expert in them will mean you can serve your clients on a deeper level and build exceptional efficiencies that can be applied to all your clients.
2. Your fellow attendees are more colleagues than competitors
While most firms are still very traditional, at Xero events you’re surrounded by people looking to the future. You’ll end up meeting practice owners that are further ahead on a journey you’re undertaking, that specialise in niche industries, and that are a couple of steps behind you. Take advantage of that by listening and learning from them, while sharing your own experiences to help them in return. You’ll find there is more than enough work to go around., and you’ll learn from all of them. Forging relationships with our colleagues can pay immense dividends. You may get referrals from practice owners that receive requests from industries they don’t serve but you do.
3. Don’t be afraid to experiment
One particular sentiment that I appreciated at the Roadshow and in my firm’s partnership with Xero was that experimenting with potential solutions, and sharing your results with the community, is always encouraged. Want to try monthly billing for traditional services? Next time a lead comes in, quote them a monthly rate and see how it goes. Want to try Xero Working Papers or a new app? Pick a file and try it.
I realized that if you wait for everything to be perfect, you’ll never change. So don’t let the search for perfection be the enemy of good – just jump in and try something new. Best case you’ll change your practice. Worst case you’ll learn something. But either way you’re further ahead than doing nothing.
So take a chance, find something you want to try and give it a go.
It’s time to seize the opportunity and see what awaits for you and your clients
The past year has been difficult to envision what exactly the future holds for our industry, but there is an immense opportunity and need to guide small businesses in our communities to the digital world. If the Xero Roadshows of the past are anything to go by, I’m certainly looking forward to this year’s event. I would say if you’ve bought in, on the ledge or just plain curious about Xero, this will be a great event to come along to. I look forward to seeing you there.
Find more information and register for the Xero Roadshow Canada 2021 here.