I want to share some of my thoughts from my recent trip to New South Wales. I travelled with Xero’s Gold Coast Partner Manager, Kerry Bowden to help a team of volunteers in Lismore. We went to clean up the aftermath from the devastating floods that ravaged the city and surrounding districts.
Lending a hand
A week after the floods, the water finally began to subside revealing the extent of the damage. Gold Coast Partner Manager, Kerry Bowden, put the call out through the bookkeeping community to see if any partners wanted to join her on a trip to help out with the floods. Straight away I put my hand up, despite the fact that it was the start of one of the busiest periods, BAS season!
When we arrived the streets looked like a scene from an armageddon movie. The entire city centre was blocked off. Where we could drive, the streets were strewn with piles of personal belongings, shop fittings and stock. Walking through the streets, we could see the shopfront windows stained with mud up above head height. It was still raining when we got there. At nine-thirty in the morning on a weekday there was no one in sight. No-one apart from the marshals who were protecting shops. And the cleanup crews who were trying to keep on top of the ever growing piles of damage. All day we met with people who had suffered terribly, all of their possessions and memories swept away in the floods or thrown to the kerb. However there was still so much positivity.
“Look at everyone who has come to help us out – you guys, the SES. It’s bad at the moment, but it’s such a tight community. We’ll rebuild, it’ll just take time.” I heard someone say.
I say with all honesty that the only reason why I could take an entire day out of my schedule was because my clients are almost exclusively on Xero. This gives me the ability to login and access their financial data at any time, from anywhere. When I went into business for myself, I was determined that every process I put in place was the most efficient and flexible as possible. Using Xero for the business owners I work with gives me that.
For me, Xero is not just software. It’s a client relationship tool that I use every day so I always know how the businesses I work with are tracking. By keeping the numbers up to date with Xero, I can identify at any point in the year if something ‘doesn’t look right’ and have the conversation with the business owner straight away.
More than software
Not only am I able to identify trends and anomalies in the numbers, but the ease of training people to use Xero has meant that my role has significantly changed from processing to business support. We give people the ability to use up to date, accurate, reliable information. Then they can make genuinely informed business decisions that previously – in the dreaded days of dropping a year’s worth of information off to an accountant – they could only have dreamed of. Now I get clients calling me throughout the month to discuss the financial reports they know how to run themselves. This means that from the outset, my relationship with them is providing value. It is geared towards training, education, information and growth – not just processing.
The flexibility and functionality of Xero means that I can give value and build relationships. Through the benefits of collaborating through Xero I could build a reputation as someone who was affordable and accessible. I could also specify that I specialised in helping out small businesses and StartUps. Additionally it meant I was able to replace my income as a full-time employee within six weeks of starting my business. Within four months I invoiced more in one day than I used to earn in a month working for someone else.
Xero is built for business – both in the bookkeeping and accounting industries and the wider business community. I can also use it for the Not For Profit businesses I work with. It helps me to genuinely contribute to my community, which for me is the best outcome of all.
Troy Schoenfisch runs his own business, Troy’s Bookkeeping, in Coopers Plains, Queensland.