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Xero and the Accountancy Firm’s Mindset Change

Dec 6, 2013

Xero and the accountancy firmTaking on Xero for your accountancy firm will probably be one of the best decisions you’ve made.

But if it doesn’t lead to further decisions about where your firm is going and further changes, you may be missing some major profits.

We ran a webinar this week on Xero and the accountancy firm’s mindset change, so here are a few of my tips on how Xero can change your accountancy firm for good.

I’ve split this post into a few categories of accountancy firms, so feel free to scroll to the section that applies to you, whether you’re not on board with Xero yet or have been using it for years!  There’s a mindset change needed no matter where you are.

Never Heard of Xero?

If Xero is new to you, chances are you’re a bit behind the times when it comes to the cloud.  Here are my tips for the mindset change that your firm needs:

  • Realise that if your marketing is 100% traditional, you are definitely missing business. (This means new business comes primarily from referral in person, telesales, phone calls.) Yes, you’re missing business. A lot of business.  Read this post about who your prospects are. This is not your father’s accountancy firm, or world, anymore.
  • Look into Xero, at least. You don’t have to sign up, and you can certainly choose something like FreeAgent instead, but at least begin the process.
  • Start listening to the young ones in the firm.  Listen to them about Facebook, and Twitter, and getting a mobile app, and refreshing your website, and doing some video blog posting. Not only do they know what they’re talking about, they can probably help, and it won’t take much.
  • Start going paperless.  Most of your clients will thank you, and for the tiny percentage who won’t you, you can either stick with your old process, or let htem go.

Recently Signed Up With Xero

Excellent. You’ve set a foot on the path.  You’ve got a real mindset change coming, and it involves:

  • Begin transferring everything to the cloud.  This is part of making things easier for your clients, and it means that it’s not just Xero that you offer – it’s an entire cloud process.  Use Dropbox or GoogleDrive to share files (don’t be nervous about security, even big companies like Xero themselves use it), get contracts signed online, scan everything.  (If you need help transferring everything into the cloud, ask us.)  Start using Skype or Gotomeeting to hold meetings and phone calls, instead of in-person meetings every time.
  • Change your systems and the way things work. If you’re going into the cloud for your clients, your firm has to be in it first – and no matter how much fear this inspires in you, every single team member has to be on board. No more saying everyone has to be using online diaries, but knowing that in practice there’s that one guy who just refuses to get rid of his paper one.  No more systems that are based on “how we’ve always done it”.  This is new ground, and you’re the leader of the pack.
  • “Nail your service offering.”  (This is a direct quote from Denis Breem of ProfitPal, Xero gold partner in Ireland.)  You’ve absolutely got to know what you offer, what it includes, and how much it costs – so that your clients and prospects know, too.  Pricing tables on your website are a great idea.
  • Ramp up your online marketing. If you’re going to offer Xero, the type of businesses who will use it are the ones who will look for you on Twitter and talk about you on Facebook and expect to see emails dropping into their inbox with links to e-books and infographics.  A new website might not go amiss, but if you want to start small you can do that too.  And look at SEO and Google ads for sure.
  • Change your conversations.  When you’re talking to clients, use Xero and its excellent add-ons to give better reports, more accurate and current information.  Spend less time on the paperwork and more time helping clients get what they want out of life.
  • Go global…or at least national.  With the advent of Xero and all these cloud tools, your clients don’t have to be within a 10 mile radius of your office. They don’t even have to come to your office at all.  Yes, some people still want the old-fashioned “swing by the accountant’s office on the way home” relationship, but that’s becoming less and less the case.  Be ready for long distance client relationships that are hugely profitable for you.

Already at Bronze or Silver Status with Xero

So, you’ve onboarded Xero, and you’re adding more clients every day.  Excellent!  Your mindset change has already begun, but it’s time to ramp it up a bit:

  • Step up your online marketing.  I’m presuming you’ve got a decent (if not very good) website, a simple email marketing system, all the basic social media engines, and maybe even regular blog posts.  (If not, off you go!) Now it’s time to create a new landing page on your website every month.  To split-test those pages until you find which ones work best.  Get a graphic designer to do some impressive artwork for you, and record some FAQ videos that will get more traffic to your site.  Revisit your SEO analysis and use the right keywords in the right places.  Everything has to be yours – not generic.
  • Niche, niche, niche.  If you haven’t already, you’ve got to know what your areas of expertise are, and flog these online for all you’re worth.  Good at working with veterinarians?  Prepare reports for them that can be downloaded online, videos that apply to them particularly, blog posts, and everything they could need.  Begin to customise Xero and its add-ons for the markets and niches you know the most about, so they all want to come to you.
  • Design simple resources to give away.  It really is not that complicated to have an ebook written, or a new website landing page created.  Once you’ve got your resource developed, you can simply send a link to every single new prospect.  (Kind of like our Free Stuff.)
  • Begin giving presentations (online or offline).  The best place to start is with live webinars, but you can also deliver recorded webinars or YouTube videos.  We offer the generic Business Builder webinars, or we can help you with custom ones as well.  Live-and-in-person works even better, because it builds trust twice as fast, so a combination can work really well.  If you’ve developed your niche, you’ll want to start speaking to those niche areas.  And if you’re not comfortable with public speaking, take a course.  This is no time to be a shy retiring flower.

Gold Status with Xero

Well, I think if you’re at this stage you’ve probably completely embraced the mindset change, and your business is zooming forward at levels you couldn’t have imagined.  Feel free to peruse the items above for ideas, but for the most part you’re doing well, and keep it up! 🙂