“Why do you think Xero is good for future accounting business?”
“Will cloud systems put accountants out of business?”
This is a question I got asked via Twitter recently. Someone had posted about how wonderful Xero is, and I weighed in with the equivalent of “damn straight”, and an accountant DM’d me and asked the genuine question, “Why do you think Xero will be good for future business?”, with the underlying question of “Will Xero take away some of the business that I have?”
Excellent questions, both, so I take my marketing-tip-pen in hand (okay, my iPad bluetooth keyboard) to answer them.
The number one reason I think Xero is good for the future of accounting business is that small businesses love it. I see it everywhere online – on Twitter, emails from clients, in blogs…even blogs written by the small business owner on how Xero makes their life better.
They love things like instant bank reconciliations, invoices created on a smartphone, expense receipts captured in an app, and little details like that. But it goes deeper than that. The firms I have spoken to say that thanks to Xero, their clients:
- Don’t hate or dread or avoid their accounts anymore
- Do their bookkeeping faster and more often
- Understand their accounts better
What does this mean for your firm? Well, if you take each thing the client loves to its conclusion, you find that:
- Clients don’t dread meeting with you, the accountant
- You get to do more of what you love , and less of what anyone can do
- The client is more engaged with their accounts, and more interested, and therefore a better client
- You get more clients of the type you want and love
- Your clients have better data so they make better decisions…
…which means they get more profit and are happier…
…which makes you look better…
…which means they refer more people to you…
…which means you get more business…
All of which are the things you want as a good accountant.
You don’t want more clients of the type that want the cheapest accountant, who want you to do everything for them, who change accountants every year.
If they start using Xero and decide they don’t need you as their accountant anymore, my initial reaction would be that is the best news you have heard all year. No more trying to convince them to hand in their books, no more urging for a meeting, no more telling them to do things they say are good but never put into place.
Yes, you may lose a few clients, it is possible. But my argument would be that (unless you are the rare accountant who is trying to be the cheapest possible), they’re the ones you wish you could sack but avoid the conversation because they have been with you so long, or because they were your father’s friend, or because they are your friend, or for some obscure reason you are not even sure of. Keeping clients on an emotional basis is never good for profitability.
What do you say? Does that sound good for the future of accounting business?
Remember, too, that I have never proclaimed that Xero is the be-all and end-all for every single accountant in the entire world. Not even Xero would claim that. But unless you are still stuck in the dark ages with SAGE (it has to be said), feel free to use whatever makes your clients’ lives (and yours) better.
Just don’t do nothing. We all know where that leads.
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