Some may say that I’m a Xero love child. Back when I was an senior accountant when Xero exploded into the Australian market, I fell in love with it’s ease and simplicity of the single ledger, and what that meant then and still now for small business accounting.
Now I don’t think that Xero has all the bells and whistles that some other platforms have, or that it suits every business, in fact, I’ve spent a bit of time affectionately bagging it at times, all in the name of future improvement...and that’s what I love about this software so much. Xero listens to the constructive feedback of the industry and continues to develop the platform, to make beautiful accounting software. They also like to keep the industry and it’s clients up to date in one of the biggest and brightest event’s of the year, that would be #Xerocon with just over 3700 delegates, 40+ speakers and some very wild pre and after parties!
I’ve been attending the event for a number of years and this year up at Xerocon Brisbane 2018, there were a number of key takeaways. The first of these was a strong focus especially on “the year of the cloud integrator…”, perfect really given I’ve recently transitioned away from my traditional accounting role into Clarity Street as the Chief Technology Officer.
The Cloud Integrator isn’t a new topic, in fact there’s now over 200+ within the market space dedicated to helping accountants & bookkeepers and their clients implement streamlining solutions into their business. However, as the Xero platform has grown along with their ecosystem of software apps that cleanly integrate, the need for knowledgeable resources on not only what these other software platforms do, but how they can practically work into your business operation, is more relevant today than ever. This is especially true as rightly or wrongly, Xero was advocating that Accountant’s should either be pitching themselves or, teaming up with a trusted Integration service (like *ahem* Clarity Street *ahem*) with a possible additional service offering to assist their clients with “app advisory”. Having sat on both sides of the fence here, I like to err on the side of caution so if your an accountant/bookkeeper, unless you have the time and a full rollout plan including operational change management and training for your client, build a strong relationship with an integrator so you can both holistically help your client, sticking to the bits that you both do best. Integrators compliment the accountant/bookkeeper, we do not detract or try and “steal” your client, quite the opposite we try and strengthen your relationship.
Another key highlight that Clarity Street is passionate about is Xero Learn. Xero Learn is a program that will give students access to the software through tertiary courses preparing them for the real world, which in my opinion is fantastic and pitching the next generations of accountants to be better equip at having practical knowledge of the expectations of public practice accounting, assisting them to assist clients better in future.
Xero announced that they are now finally bringing all of their disjointed client communication into one single client record. The idea is that the client will have one portal containing all communication from their advisor. This means no more disjointed communication i.e Workpapers Queries, Xero Ask, Emails etc. This is clearly something that is lacking at the moment and will be fantastic for advisors and their clients experience.
Xero Tax is going stand alone and decoupling from the Xero universe. This shouldn't come too much of a shock to those that have followed Xero Tax and its integration with CCH iFirm. Xero Tax is by far the best cloud based tax software (not hard when there is only a handful in existence) so why wouldn’t they leverage this product and start integrating with systems outside the Xero ecosystem. The more they can integrate with other bespoke CRM’s and Practice Management Software platforms, the more they can turn those practices’ clients to the Xero ledger and utilise the integration between Tax and Ledgers. The end game is more ledgers = more money = shareholder satisfaction!
Xero Partners can now lodge a BAS directly with the ATO via the clients Xero file. This bypasses the step for accountants and bookkeepers who currently have to export the BAS out to Xero Tax or their other tax software and lodge via this system. Just a few less clicks for accountants.
The Running Balance Report has been on the Xero request page for quite some time and thankfully they have finally listened! You can now have a running balance on the account transactions report. This is fantastic for reconciliations and trying to pinpoint exactly when an account went out of balance!
You can now finally integrate Xero Projects and Timesheets from Xero Payroll eliminating double handling and making Xero Projects just that little bit better! This feature is only available in Australia at the moment.
Xero is opening up their bankfeeds API to allow greater flexibility and speed for those wishing to utilise the feed option.
Like every other Xerocon I’ve attended in the past, I lost my voice towards the end after the fantastic opportunity presented to network with my fellow colleagues and integrated software applications that, with the inspired support of Xero, aim to shape the accounting, bookkeeping and small business markets into beautiful businesses.
I look forward to connecting with all those I chatted with over the course of the event and as always, if you want to know more, get in touch for a chat!
Ian Walker has recently joined the Clarity Street team as our CTO. He has over 10 years experience with Taxation Compliance, Business Services and Cloud Consulting including Xero migration services. Get in touch and see how Ian can help your business!
Clarity Street was conceived from years of engaging with Accounting firms on a daily basis and a constant desire to make Accounting firms & SME’s more efficient and profitable.