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It’s been a blast: Mel Power reflects on the Head of Bookkeeping role at Xero

Posted 4 weeks ago in Advisors by Melanie Power
Posted by Melanie Power

As Xero retires the role of Head of Bookkeeping, Mel Power reviews her nearly four years in the job. Mel will be continuing her work with the bookkeeping community as part of Xero’s global partner team.

September 29 in 2014 was a memorable day – and one that I remember distinctly. It was the day I started my journey with Xero Australia as head of bookkeeping. It was also the day I started my journey with James Solomons as head of accounting – and what fun we’ve had, Jimmy!

I felt an incredible sense of pride as I boarded the plane bound for Melbourne. Thinking about the opportunity I had to represent my beloved profession of bookkeeping – a profession that had provided for my family, given me lifelong friends, and helped me make lasting connections across Australia and around the world. It was also a profession that enabled me to do what I was most passionate about. I wanted to help small business owners be successful and create businesses that were vehicles to help them achieve their life goals.

Grow your practice

One of the key things I was engaged to do in this role was to be the voice of the bookkeeping industry back into Xero. I helped to champion the value that bookkeepers bring to small business. My mission was very quickly formulated by a challenge that Rod Drury threw out at Xerocon 2014: to help bookkeepers double their income.

The Grow Your Practice series for bookkeepers was born in April 2015. Here’s the short video of Rod and I launching the concept.

The series was so successful that the first round was just the beginning. Statistics show that those who went through the initial program increased the size of their businesses by 47 percent within six months. So we ran another three series, live workshops at Xerocon Uni Day, and created an on-demand series so that bookkeepers could participate when they wanted and connect with each other through the Xero community.

The series was also picked up by our head of accounting James Solomons. He then created something unique for our accounting partners by adding guest presenters from the industry. This was particularly great in the live Xerocon sessions.

It was such a privilege to be able to walk with our bookkeepers on this journey and see their success. Many people from this very first series have since gone on to be recognised as Xero Bookkeeping Partners of the Year, regional winners, and have also become members of XPAC, the Xero Partner Advisory Council in Australia. It’s been incredibly inspiring to see this happen!

Developing a community

By late 2015, I was travelling to other regions, including Canada, the UK, the USA and New Zealand. I started speaking at bookkeeping events about the importance and future of the profession. During these travels, I met so many fantastic people working as bookkeepers, and others that were really invested in the industry. My mind was ticking over how I could connect all of these people together and keep these great conversations happening.

Enter the power of Facebook communities. At Xerocon 2015, I created the first Xero Facebook community for bookkeepers in Australia. This group has become a fabulous place for our bookkeeping partners to connect, collaborate, share and support – not only in business but also personally. The community has rallied on many occasions to help each other. One scenario that has stayed close to my heart is when one of the husbands of one member became seriously ill. The entire community rallied and provided emotional, financial and practical support to her.

Now that’s human. That’s really living the values of what we stand for at Xero.

The success of the Facebook community in Australia led to the creation of other communities around the globe. Whether in regional or global groups, we see the same community spirit and collaboration occur with work referrals across the region, business-to-business deals, and friendships created and solidified. We’ve seen natural leaders arise, such as those in XPAC.

I honestly never dreamed of how powerful this spirit of community could be!

Xerocon 2015, Mel plays in the Xero band

Thank you

In four years, I’ve seen our bookkeeping community truly stand up and be counted for the value it provides to small business. I’ve seen bookkeepers smash their business goals and make big decisions around the future of their businesses. And I’ve seen collaboration between the entire profession, with bookkeepers really stepping forward to transform small business.

It’s just astounding.

My role at Xero started out in 2014 as a super advocate and champion for the bookkeeping channel. It’s now 2018 and I can proudly say that our Xero bookkeeping partners are a voice to be reckoned with. They are passionate about the value they provide. They are also prepared to stand strong and tall for what they believe in.

This incredible group of self-advocating people no longer require a champion within Xero. Instead, they stand together in a clear voice and are absolutely heard. The community we have created as a platform for this voice works brilliantly.

So, with my hand on my heart and some tears in my eyes, it’s time for me to step down as the Head of Bookkeeping in Xero Australia as this role has been retired. I will be staying on with the Global Partner team until 30th June to assist in transitioning our new role Head of Community in AU and to complete existing engagements.

Thank you to all of my bookkeeping partners, who I call my peers and friends. And thank you to James Solomons (my debit), Rod Drury, Chris Ridd, Trent Innes, Rob Stone, Anna Curzon, and my other fellow Xeros…

What a blast it has been.

6 comments

Tash - Tashly Consulting
May 1, 2018 at 12.28 am

Mel – I have been one of the blessed individuals who has had your guiding hand on my bookkeeping journey. I am one of the ones who hung off every word you shared as part of the GYP and went on to be an award winner and join the XPAC! My business has grown into something I could never have imagined possible! I cannot thank you enough for the inspiration, the wisdom and the genuine caring you have given me and our bookkeeping community! Thank you!! You will be missed!!

Melanie Power
May 1, 2018 at 1.18 pm

Thanks for your lovely words Tash. Grow Your Practice was definitely one of the highlights of my tenure at Xero and so many of our Bookkeeping Partners that have gone on to success started in that first ever series that Cecile Boulter and myself run. It’s amazing what you can achieve with a simple webinar and almost no design on a set of slides – it’s all about the support, knowledge sharing and community…. Thanks so much for being a part of such a special journey and you deserve all the success you have achieved. All my best, Mel xxoo

Amanda Hoffmann
May 1, 2018 at 11.36 pm

Mel you contributed in helping Bookkeepers feel important, empowered and heard as Xero’s Bookkeeper representative. Your presence, warmth and personal interest made every bookkeeper feel that you were their friend. I was impressed by your authenticity, admired your Grace under fire and celebrated your many victories.
While your presence will be missed by all of us as Xero’s Bookkeeper head, the future chapter is your’s to write!

Melanie Power
May 10, 2018 at 4.43 pm

Thankyou Amanda for taking a moment to post a response, and also to many other places in the digital communities. It has been an honor to get to know you and also walk with you on your own journey of representing our profession within the industry at many levels. You inspire me!!! I will still be in the Communities, just not wearing the official Xero t-shirt any more.

Samantha Sam
May 2, 2018 at 5.57 pm

Mel you rock!! You motivate me to help even more people and I am so thankful for your sharing!! Without you I could never have won the award!

Melanie Power
May 10, 2018 at 4.45 pm

Oh HELLO my favorite Bookkeeper in Singapore, you are one impressive woman whom not only champions our profession but also the women that work within it. Your fire and passion for reskilling women to re-enter the workforce and the training materials and community you have created is incredible. I can’t wait to come visit again…

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