Justin Keen sees himself as no ordinary accountant. It certainly takes some guts to set up a practice that services clients that only use Xero.
Three months ago Justin started Cloudaccountants in Freemans Bay in Auckland, New Zealand. The proposition is almost unique. Growth in client numbers is purely organic. There’s no established client database to convert from desk-top accounting software. Clients are already Xero users or they didn’t use any accounting software, relying on the likes of spreadsheets to do the books.
“Because we’re 100 % Xero there’s no baggage with using a different system, says Justin. “I have yet to convert someone from MYOB, but clients are confident with my experience using Xero, and the efficiencies that can be gained from using such a system. Sure it’s challenging starting from scratch, but building a practice to critical mass using an online system as a core offering, is exciting. It’s where the future lies for the accounting profession.”
Justin’s website is his brochure and several clients have found him by way of Google and through the online Xero advisor directory. On the Cloudaccountants homepage clients can choose from a range of monthly pricing plans which includes the subscription to Xero. For now clients tend to be freelancers who work on contract, including graphic designers and there’s also a steady following among property investors.
A lot of interaction with clients takes place over Skype and Justin will call on clients when needed. Clients who live in other parts of the country are more than happy to be serviced remotely. Justin tested this concept himself when he had his website designed by the team at Mogul, who to this day, he’s never met face-to-face. Some team members at Cloudaccountants also work remotely in preference for a lifestyle away from the city which also allows time for parenting.
Early on Justin was excited about the move to online accounting and sought to hone his Xero skills when he joined the Xero UK sales team for a year. This experience has been valuable as he now engages with his own prospective clients.