A day in the life of an enablement specialist
Last November we profiled our Partner Enablement team in the UK – we work with our partners to help make the transition to Xero as seamless as possible. And then support them along the way as Xero becomes an integral part of their practice.
This time around, we go into a little more detail around the ongoing support we give to our practice partners. We’re very proud to work for a company that offers this highly technical, bespoke service to Xero partners completely free of charge. So, how do we do it?
Getting to know a partner’s client portfolio
To begin with, we’ll work with a new partner to find the clients who’d benefit most from using Xero. Some businesses will get more from a cloud-based accounting solution than others, so it’s important that we get this right.
We’ll catch up with the partner, either in person or on the phone, to talk through the clients they have and what products/pricing plans are best for those businesses. Usually, the account manager will do this, but we’ll also bring it up with the partner when we talk about conversion/implementation options. We recently had a partner bring across 100 organisations at once. It was great to talk through how the different editions can work for the varying segments of their business; for example, those Excel clients that will really benefit from using the Ledger or Cashbook editions of Xero.
Building a relationship with the partner’s practice staff is really important for us – after all, they’re the ones who’ll be doing the hands-on work. We’ll give advice on how to process a year-end client on Xero and will explain the time benefits (for example, using cash coding to reconcile their bank statements). We can also use our import templates to offer batch processing of information for internal bookkeeping clients – this can really speed up their processing time, which partners love.
Moving clients across to Xero
Once we’ve found the companies that are most suited to Xero, we’ll work with the partner to create a standardised chart of accounts file – they can then use this standard file across all their Xero clients, or perhaps have a few standard charts they use for different types of entities they look after. We often base the file on the partner’s current nominal accounts structure from their accounts production software, keeping things familiar and straightforward. Ease of use is always a really important consideration, whatever we’re doing.
Having this chart of accounts file really helps partners to streamline the process of exporting data from Xero into their accounts production system. Plus it keeps the structure the same for the client and/or staff, reducing downtime in learning a new set of nominal codes. We had a partner with a client portfolio that included lots of architects, so we worked with the client to create a chart of accounts that works well across this industry. Then for other partners we’ve helped them to structure their chart into the IRIS format so it was nice and easy for them to export out of Xero and import into their accounts production software.
Creating a helpful conversion guide
Finding out what products our partners are using is the next step, so we can provide them with the right conversion tools. We have a few tricks up our sleeve, but where we don’t have a specific tool already, we’ll work on getting one created. This can take time, especially if macros are needed to help reformat the data. Macros use code saved in an Excel file to automate various tasks, including reformatting your data at the click of a button. An example of this is the macro-based conversion guide we’ve created to reformat sales and purchase bills into the Xero format for an easy import. This reduces the time a partner/staff member spends reformatting the data manually, speeding up the conversion process.
We have a general checklist we’ll run through when helping partners convert clients. This steps the practice through the process, including converting fixed assets across to Xero. Due to popular demand, we’ve also just started working on a FreeAgent macro and conversion document to help streamline that conversion process for our partners.
There’s additional detailed help on our website to help with the conversion process if partners need more assistance. So there’s always support at every stage.
Staying in touch with meetings and webinars
We’re really focused on keeping in contact with our partners. Our day usually includes either a meeting on site or a webinar – either a bespoke webinar for an individual practice or one of our standard sessions that you can register for on our website.
For a practice webinar we’ll generally go into more in-depth detail around product features. This could be a thorough overview of one particular feature or a mix of features available from our Xero, Workpapers and Practice Manager systems. When the partner has specific questions we’ll cover these in the meeting or webinar – we’ll make sure we give solutions that answer the question, alongside clear, concise guidance on the actions they’ll need to take.
Helping partners plan their conversion
We run standard webinar sessions on a number of topics. These include converting to Xero, and an introduction to our Practice Studio products; Workpapers and Practice Manager. If we aren’t running one of these standard webinar sessions, we’re often out visiting partners and talking about the best way to convert their clients across to Xero.
Getting conversion planning right is vital if the partner is going to get the best out of Xero. We’ll sit down with a practice, talk to them about the types of clients they have, who to move across to Xero first and how we can help run client events.
We then work with the partner to get the staff properly trained. This could be one of our set webinars or an onsite or webinar session to go through specific areas the team aren’t sure about. This gets them comfortable with the conversion process and able to answer client questions.
Making the move to Xero as simple as possible
We’ve created some excellent, short client training videos that partners can embed in their websites – short snippets on bank reconciliations, invoicing etc. all of which help to get the clients interested and signed up. We’ve had great feedback so far from partners and have even had requests for other topics to cover – not a bad problem to have!
Listening to feedback from practices and offering this kind of tailored support is what really appeals to our partners. We can talk them through the conversion process from beginning to end, offering standard support and more bespoke solutions when they’re needed.
The close working relationship we have with our partners is awesome: we become like another member of their team. And this team feeling between us and the practice means we also share their success and achievements.
Ultimately, we’re here to make moving over to Xero as simple as possible – and we love working with our partners to make this happen.
If you’d like to find out more about the support we offer, you can contact your account manager. Or you can drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.