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Xero Partner – “Forget Xero, stick with Sage..”

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Laurence Moore of Coventry based Prime for the first time last month. Having now encouraged more than 100 of their clients to move to Xero, I was keen to get Laurence’s take about how the shift had worked out for both Prime and the clients. I didn’t quite get the feedback I was expecting.

 

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12 comments

David Harper
11 July 2011 #

This copywriting technique did indeed work on me, but the price is that I unsubscribed the xero blog from my reader. I spent the time watching the video, only to see that you’ve tricked me into wasting me time. Fool me once ….

Gary Turner
11 July 2011 #

@ David – While I concede that it might be caked under a thick layer of mischievous irony in its delivery (I guess there’s no serious way to frame the subject of Xero endorsing the anti-competitive aspirations of accountants), the point Laurence Moore makes at the end is actually a serious one.

The provision of accountancy services in the UK (and I guess in other countries) is becoming increasingly more competitive and we are in fact sometimes asked by new Xero accounting partners if we might consider offering them territorial exclusivity – which, of course, we don’t.

Please don’t unsubscribe on account of my inability to make a coherent point in a serious tone, the other bloggers on here are awesome and will be upset with me.

Mark Telford
12 July 2011 #

@David, I can only assume you’ve stated that with your tongue firmly in your cheek.

@Gary, I’d like to flip this around. Using Xero is one thing, but using it well and demonstrating a great understanding of a clients needs and using the ‘real time, multi user’ capabilities of Xero is something else.

What’s the point of having Xero if you still can’t get hold of your accountant via the phone or e-mail.

So, the more accountants who use Xero (poorly), the more opportunities are created for the accountants who use it well (which Lawrence touched on briefly).

Gary Turner
12 July 2011 #

@Mark – Interesting comment. As with any new shift, adoption tends to follow quite a predictable bell curve with visionaries and early adopters being first to embrace. Whilst it’s not universally true, upon reflection most Xero partners I’ve met meet either of these descriptions and ‘get’ the big picture components, too. I don’t think I’ve met an accountant who advocates Xero but who insists on maintaining traditional client service principles.

[...] Sage UK is a business under siege. It will say otherwise but when you objectively review the business model and what it has delivered it is hard to see where future growth comes from or how customers can once more be made to feel loved by a brand that in the past has done much for the SME. The company itself is only talking single digit growth when its larger competitors are back to double digit growth. It has paid down its debt so what now for money flowing into its coffers? An increased dividend? Sage will argue the UK SME economy is particularly badly affected by the recession. Maybe but I still see plenty of examples of growth and prosperity. Sage is not part of those conversations. The professionals who truly understand the future are eschewing Sage for new things. [...]

Jared Roussel
24 July 2011 #

Funny! At first I was thinking “well… I guess it’s respectable that they’re fair and present both sides of the picture, but maybe this goes a little too far.”

Kent accountants
19 August 2011 #

@Gary, just because Xero is being utilised efficiently doesn’t mean a client shouldn’t or wouldn’t contact his/her accountant in the conventional manner.

I could check a clients accounts now (UK time 12.45am) send him an e-mail and expect his call in the morning/afternoon.

Cloud accountant
23 August 2011 #

Who does Xero consider its biggest competitive threat? Netsuite, MYOB Online, SAASU, Sage??? Any thoughts or comments

Rod Drury
23 August 2011 #

Sure, good question. This is how we see it.

Netsuite has announced they are leaving the SMB market and going up towards the high end.

MYOB Online simply is not a good product and seems to be outsourced out of MYOB so we don’t see as a major technology threat but they do have a great brand.

SaaSu is a nice product in some areas. They went wide but thin. We went deep and are broadening out. We think we’ve raised the requirements to include accountant side so they’ll need to partner or raise some money. Our acquisition of Paycycle is a problem for them. As a private company in AU we’d expect them to sell soon to MYOB, Reckon or Sage.

Sage don’t have much online.

Quickbooks online has the most customers but we think we stack up against them and have a better strategy. But Intuit is always going to be around.

FreeAgent have a great product for freelancers and their tie up with IRIS means they have client and account-side.

Kashflow make a lot of noise but not as strong technically. Can’t help but admire Duane though.

It is a huge market so I’d expect a few successful vendors over the next few years and some to verticalize like FreeAgent is doing well. It’s really too early to tell. We keep an eye out to see who gets funded. We’d expect one of the above to be able to raise some real money soon. But it does take a while to do things properly as we’ve shown.

Love to hear how others see it.

Kent accountants
24 August 2011 #

@Rod

Agree with the comments on FreeAgent and Sage.

Enjoying a friendly bunfight on ICAEW website with the pro Sage lobby.

Laurence Moore
4 September 2011 #

@Gary It’s been a couple of months since our interview.

I’ve been thinking things over but am afraid I still don’t get it. Anyway, our staff are used to Sage which is the main thing and having to keep 4 versions of Sage on our network and the same of QuickBooks, which won’t work in Citrix properly, keeps our IT department busy, which is good.

My partners tell me their clients won’t like going online and its great because they know that without asking them which keeps it easy.

The trouble is some businesses are finding Xero themselves and ringing us up so I have had to put this blog up to put them off. Sorry. [@David don't read it]

http://www.primeaccountants.co.uk/blog/top-reasons-not-to-use-online-accounts-systems

David Kime
5 September 2011 #

@Laurence – I did read it and I agree with you – you know I am 100% sold on Xero and agree with your article completely.

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