During this challenging period, many small business owners and their advisors are busier than ever. But while advisors and small businesses continue to feel the impact of COVID-19, the requirements of year-end remain. And, now more than ever, it pays to be prepared.
As part of our series, ‘The sum of us’, the Xero team is exploring the relationships that pave the way for mastering tax time. Today, we’re speaking to tax accountant, Miriam Holme, and her Xero account manager, Sammie Johannes, to uncover not only how they take on year-end together, but why they couldn’t do it without each other.
When did you first meet?
Sammie: I’ve been Miriam’s account manager since July last year. We met at a roadshow five or six years ago when I was very new to the industry.
Miriam: I can’t remember, but I remember seeing a lot of her weight training videos and thinking, “Whoa, this girl can lift,” so I liked that.She was also talking about mental health and things like that, so I connected with someone who had a life outside accounting as well.
How would you describe each other in three words?
Sammie: Proactive is a big one. Passionate and inspirational.
Miriam: Strong, intuitive and caring.
How do you make life easier for each other for EOFY?
Miriam: Sometimes I get bombarded with things I need to do, but with Sammie’s help, I can work through what’s important with her after reading her emails. She’s available for me whenever I need. I’ve never have any issues communicating with her and she’s super reliable as my account manager, which is crucial. Sammie has definitely been the best account manager I’ve had. All my other software providers come and go, but Xero staff are always super reliable.
Sammie: Miriam is proactive, so I know what she’s going to need. I understood document packs would be hugely beneficial for her so I sent a video on it. As Miriam said, she often gets new clients, so if there’s a promo code, I’ll send it over. Both of us are proactive on that side of things; we both know what we need from the other and I’m more than happy to sit down and demo new tools and features, when needed.
What are your favourite tools or features in Xero that you use during tax season?
Miriam: The new tools I’m definitely going to use and have started trialing are Xero Ask and documents packs. These solve small issues I had beforehand saving me time and are super handy. I’ve also started listening to the webinars a bit more, which are helping. There are some checklists that come in handy. With a huge number of resources available, it’s just making sure I’m zooming in on ones I find most useful.
Sammie: Definitely find and recode. When I worked in a practice, I found a number of clients who would do their own books and then code something incorrectly. Find and recode makes sure everything is correct. I also suggest Hubdoc for my partners, because they can get clients to enter all their receipts, invoices, supplier invoices, and even bank statements into it. It’s secure and talks to Xero providing a better view of how business is doing.
Why is your relationship with each other vital in stressful times?
Miriam: It’s knowing that I’ve got that support there. I’ve found that Sammie and Xero’s resources are incredibly supportive. There’s a whole mental health and wellbeing section. Particularly with the added stress of JobKeeper this EOFY, a new tax year coming in, constant tax changes and updates with legislation, the awesome resources at Xero and support Sammie provides definitely helps me serve my clients better.
Sammie: I just want to make sure that all my other partners know that we’re here to support them and that they have the resources to help them navigate through stressful times and changing processes.
How did you both work together to get through major changes like JobKeeper?
Miriam: When Jobkeeper came about, I noticed Xero was the first software to update everything with resources and keep everyone informed on their website. Sammie sent me 10 links with everything I needed to know about Jobkeeper with Xero. She also made it super easy for us to roll out Jobkeeper and STP. People sometimes get their payroll wrong with Jobkeeper and STP, but Xero’s software was very nice to use as we worked through the key tasks. Sammie was there to help with any queries we had with the software.
Sammie: The most important thing I can do is share with Miriam what help is available. I give her the resources she needs to go through the process. I let her know what happens if things go wrong, and we can direct her to Xero support if we need them to assist on a more technical level.
Miriam: Support from Xero is also super awesome. I requested support from Xero yesterday and expected to wait a whole lot longer for a response, but my query was answered really quickly.
What makes your relationship special?
Miriam: It’s not purely a business account manager relationship. Sammie and I also connect on different channels on social media. Sammie knows exactly what’s going on in my business. She knows what type of clients I have, because she follows everything that I do. She’s engaged with my marketing strategy and who I am. I feel that gives us a better connection.
Sammie: I agree. I tune in to Miriam and her sister’s podcast, Sisters That Slay, which is amazing. I can see the value of connecting with Miriam and I admire what she’s doing with her practice and clients. I think our relationship goes deeper than a normal account manager/client relationship, and it helps that I understand the market because I lived and worked in a practice for five-and-a-half years.
For more on how to prepare for EOFY, see Xero’s dedicated resource hub. It includes sections dedicated to accountants and bookkeepers, and an area just for small businesses. You’ll find the latest resources including webinars, checklists and useful information.