From XU Magazine, 
Issue 19

Considerations to ensure a successful transition for your entire Accounting Practice or Bookkeeping business to Xero

So you have decided that Xero is the way forward for your Accounting Practice or Bookkeeping business. It should be pretty easy to make that happen – right? However, change always brings with it some degree of pain, even though the end result is totally worth it. Following are some considerations in addition to the obvious technical and operational changes required for a successful conversion experience…

(The following equally applies to a business owner or manager wanting to move their organization to Xero.)

1. Clarify Your Goals for an Optimal Outcome

For a successful project with a good return on investment, it needs to be well planned.

Is your main driver to reduce external costs? Do you want to reduce internal workload to free your team’s wasted time and increase productivity? Or are you keen to increase revenue by offering additional value added services to your clients?

There is no right and wrong in this. Depending on your particular circumstances any one, or a mix of these goals, might achieve your vision. Clarity about what you want to achieve just helps in making the right decisions along the way and communicating the importance of an operational change like this to your team.

2. Address the human element

Any change of business systems is a serious investment of time, money and emotional energy. Why are we pointing this out? Because at first glance it might sound really simple to just set up Xero ledgers and start plugging in data.

If you have moved some of your clients from another accounting package to Xero you’ll know that even with the smoothest technical process, the human aspect needs to be looked after just as much. Expectations need to be managed, and professional support made available to overcome the initial hurdles of learning a new system.

Make sure the leadership team is fully behind the move and the benefits it will bring for everyone in the practice.  Appoint an overall “champion” to drive the change and ensure buy-in by critical team players.

Consider it best practice to not just add additional tasks to your already busy team. Instead show how it will reduce their time, benefit them professionally or financially, or both.

3. Do it internally or externally?

There are many different pieces to a successful conversion of a Practice or Bookkeeping business to Xero. Which parts to do internally or externally depends on what you want to achieve. For cost minimisation, it is often better to outsource something to a specialist.

Recruit or engage experts such as an internal or Xero trainer to get everyone – both staff and clients – up to speed and using Xero effectively quickly.

Consult add-ons as how to maximise their benefits.  Take advantage of conversion services such as Jet Convert to get the data across in its entirety to Xero.

On the other hand, where you are creating value for the clients, you want to maximise the benefit of deepening your personal relationship. That is why client communication and decisions around structuring the data is usually better handled in-house.

4. Providing specific business plans

It is surprising how often I hear from individuals that they do not understand their financial position. At the same time I hear accounting professionals say that Ledgers are enough, instead of presenting their clients with the benefit of updated financial reporting on a quarterly, monthly or real-time basis.

Decide on the specific benefits you can offer to your clients. Group them into:

  • Annual tax clients (Ledgers)
  • Quarterly reporting clients (Cashbooks)
  • Monthly reporting clients (Cashbooks)
  • Invoicing clients (Business Editions)

As an Accountant or Bookkeeper, consider taking on more value-adding tasks. Send your clients a report highlighting some of the areas to take care of. Ask some questions about the figures. Inspire your clients to excel.

The great thing is that it is so easy to test with minimal risk and costs. Just pick a few and decide on next steps based on their reactions.

5. Liberate yourself from Sunk Costs

If you have already invested in an old server or software solution that is outdated, don’t throw good money after bad. Far more economical to quantify the costs to be saved in staff time, or the additional income from new client services when you switch to the right solution.

Ask yourself – are these sunk costs helping you achieve your goals?

6. Let’s move the Practice now!

Does that mean, just go for it? No, absolutely not.

Perhaps consider starting with the “early adaptor” clients or those who would really benefit from the cost/time-saving or reporting features that Xero has to offer.   Learn from the experience and reap the rewards of having them on a single platform.

Once you are committed to making the big move, you will be far more likely to succeed if:

  • Your goals are clearly defined and you know why you want to achieve them
  • You can afford the initial investment in time, money and energy to pull it off
  • The team is 100% behind it because everyone sees the benefit for themselves and their clients.

We can help

Jet Convert has moved 40,000+ businesses onto Xero. One of our concepts was that data that exists electronically should never have to be re-entered by a human. Visit jetconvert.com to see how we can help you

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