Last month Stubbs Parkin attended the fourth UK Xerocon. Katharine has attended each one and always comes back full of ideas, so this year she decided to take a team of Xero Heroes with her.
We are a training practice and invest time and money in our apprentices and trainee accountants, so it’s really important to us that the whole firm embraces the technology-driven changes in how we work. We are a high-street firm, with traditional roots, so it’s not been an easy journey for us to move from piles of paper and manual books. But for some time now our staff have been much more comfortable with their double monitors and scanners.
The direction we are moving in is not all about Xero, it’s not about being ‘online’ or using technology for technology’s sake, it’s about how all businesses are changing and adapting to new ways of doing things. Accountants are no exception, we have to move to where our clients are or they will simply leave us behind. What is great about Xero is that they are helping us on our journey. Even Xerocon is not all about Xero! Xerocon introduces us to new software companies whose products are designed for our business clients. These products can help them to reach new markets, trade more profitably or simply save them a fortune in software costs.
So what did we learn?
Xero are serious about Payroll
Xero are new to Payroll, and their offering is not yet ready to take on its well established rivals. However, typically for Xero, it shows promise and aims high. For businesses using the HMRC free payroll tool or another basic software, it offers a cheap and easy to use alternative. Over the next year or two we have no doubt it will become a fully functional, integrated payroll system with some very useful people management tools thrown in. Click here for more info.
Xero are listening to Customers
Xero are constantly creating new partnerships, and reaching out to other software companies to help their users work more effectively. As Accountants using the Digita professional suite, it is music to our ears to hear that Xero will be partnering with Thomson Reuters.
For our clients, a new direct bank feed partnership with Barclays is great news and there are lots of other new partnerships such as Microsoft BI (currently on our ‘to-learn-about list’)
Xero is bigger than you might think
Xero are expecting user numbers to overtake Sage by the end of 2016. The growth in user numbers is very impressive. From looking at our own client base, a large proportion of users are businesses who might have used manual books or excel in the past but we are also seeing many larger clients and Sage users moving to Xero. The ever improving features and low cost per user will only see this increase.
As Accountants, we believe it’s our responsibility to help our clients to run their business easier and more profitably. Accounting in business is difficult. Many business owners have no bookkeeper and no accountancy training. If we can make it easier for them to do those day to day tasks, and suggest tools to help them, then the cost of attending conferences and the investment in additional training is worth every penny.