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Data & Insights 2 min read

3 ways to give your practice a head start in the new year

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Gareth Cronin

Dec 16, 2020

It’s been an incredibly difficult year for accountants and bookkeepers. So we hope you’re planning to take some time off over the holidays to relax with family and friends. But before you switch off, here are a few things you can do to save time, find new clients, and set your practice apart from the competition in the new year.

Update your profile in the Advisor Directory

In the new year, we’ll be launching a new feature in our Advisor Directory. It looks beyond location to match small businesses with an advisor that may best suit their needs. To use the tool, small businesses will complete a form with some details about their business, including industry, size and business type. Our algorithms will then match them with three suggested Xero partners.

We’re also taking a more human approach to the way we display advisors in the directory. Instead of matching small businesses with a practice, we’ll suggest three individual accountants and bookkeepers. It means small practices and huge firms are on a level playing field, and mirrors how word-of-mouth referrals happen in the real world. 

To increase your chances of appearing as a match in our Advisor Directory, your staff will need to each add an individual listing to the Advisor Directory and make sure it’s set to public. While you’re there, make sure your practice profile is up to date. The more complete your profile is, the more likely it is that you’ll capture the right leads for your practice.

Set up your COA templates in Xero HQ

Did you know that you can create your own Chart of Accounts (COA) templates in Xero HQ? Before you dive into the new year, it’s worth taking the time to set up your templates just the way you like them. You can do this in the practice menu of Xero HQ. Simply make a copy of an existing template in the COA library, then add a name and description so everyone in your practice knows what it’s for.

You can then add, edit or remove accounts and report codes until the template suits your needs. Once your custom templates are set up, you’ll be able to apply them to any new clients that you add to Xero HQ (they can’t be used to overwrite an existing client’s COA). It will save you time and reduce errors, so you have more time to focus on billable activity.

Automate your payments and billing

There’s no better time to automate some of your manual payments and billing processes in Xero. You can start by setting up invoice reminders and editing the email templates to suit your practice. If you have regular clients, it’s a good idea to also set up repeating invoices so they’re sent automatically each time.

Payments can be automated too. In fact, our research shows that small businesses who use online invoice payments get paid up to twice as fast as those who don’t. Stripe is great, because customers can pay immediately using a credit or debit card and reconciliation is simple. 

For payments via direct debit, consider GoCardless. It lets you collect payments directly from the customer’s bank account automatically on the invoice due date. There’s also a range of other invoice payment providers in our app marketplace.

These tasks won’t take you long, but they’ll give you a head start when it comes to making the most of the new year. Happy holidays!

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