Case study

Tracy Bell, SavvyBooks

How Hubdoc and Xero Expenses helped a bookkeeping business automate and grow

Hubdoc and Xero Expenses at the centre of SavvyBooks’ business transformation

SavvyBooks Founder and Practice CEO Tracy Bell implemented Hubdoc and Xero Expenses in her own bookkeeping business to drive efficiencies. Within 18 months she’d converted a handful of clients to the same system and scaled her own business for future growth. Find out how Hubdoc and Xero Expenses helped transform the SavvyBooks business, and its clients’.

About SavvyBooks

SavvyBooks is an Australian bookkeeping practice, based in New South Wales. Tracy Bell leads a small team of dedicated people with a goal to simplifying accounting and bookkeeping procedures for their clients. Helping small business owners get back to doing what they do best, running their business - without the distractions of day-to-day bookkeeping. SavvyBooks specialise in Xero Accounting Software and are proudly Gold Certified Xero Partners.

The problem

Slow processes equal slow progress.

In any given month an accountant or bookkeeper could spend as much as 30 percent of their time chasing financial documents and questioning clients on how they’ve spent money.

That was certainly the case for Australian bookkeeper Tracy Bell of SavvyBooks prior to implementing Xero Expenses and Hubdoc. Her client base is a wide variety of trades, service industry and retail businesses; many of them dealing with high volumes of receipts, bills and statements.

After over 20 years in the industry Tracy was originally planning on going back to bookkeeping for “a few hours a week” but found she was working 40 hours plus weeknights and weekends to keep on top of processing and filing financial documents for clients.

“It was clunky and 100% reliant on me, because I was the only one that knew the client's processes. It just wasn’t sustainable or a scalable model,” said Tracy. “I had clients that were based 40 minutes away, so doing their paperwork would sometimes be a four to five hour job, including travel time. That’s just ridiculous when I think about it like that.”

The way Tracy saw it, she had two options. Either, she dropped some clients to keep up with the workload, or she started to work smarter.

“I had to step back and decide if I wanted to put processes in place that would turn my business in to something that I could grow and could be scalable,” said Tracy.

The solution

A moment of truth, and transformation.

Tracy made the call to grow SavvyBooks and set about hiring staff and implementing new processes to streamline her workflow, and that of her clients.

“I did a lot of research. I did various webinars and online training sessions, I spent time talking to other people who had put new processes in place and looked at the way work needed to flow,” said Tracy.

“When I came across Hubdoc I was searching for better ways to work with clients who had high volumes of invoices. I loved that it had the ability to also drawdown bank statements. It meant I wouldn’t have to ring clients and ask for closing balances and copies of bank statements each month.”

“When the new version of Expenses came out I jumped onto it and saw how user-friendly it was, and started encouraging clients who are on the road or have staff that spend on their behalf to start using it. It’s extremely user friendly and they have all been very happy to use it.”

"When they see how it streamlines their work and their paper flow, they’re onboard."

– Tracy Bell

Say goodbye to chasing documents and data entry

Tracy began overhauling her processes by implementing a combination of Hubdoc and Xero Expenses in her own practice, to ensure she was recommending the right products to her clients.

She introduced the same processes with a couple of her larger clients and in doing so minimised the backend processes like data entry and filing that were weighing the business down. Paperwork that was taking her four to five hours per client was cut down dramatically. Both Tracy and her clients were able to benefit from these changes.

“This year we're going to be doing a major push to get more clients onto Hubdoc and Xero Expenses so we've got access to source documents. When they see how it streamlines their work and their paper flow, they’re onboard,” she said.

“I have a client that talks about how awesome these new processes have been since we implemented them into his business  and how much time and effort he is saving. His wife runs her own business and she's now approached SavvyBooks for the same solutions for her business.”

A reorganised and reinvigorated bookkeeping practice

The result

The transformation to automated processes has been remarkably swift for SavvyBooks. 18 months after starting the journey Tracy had implemented new processes with her clients, employed two staff members, rented an office space and significantly grown her client base.

“I feel so much more confident taking on additional clients knowing that we have the backend processes to fully support them. I can now say, with confidence, this is the way we do it, it works seamlessly and this is how it'll benefit you.”

Through automating her bookkeeping workflow Tracy was able to reinvest time in client relations and expanded her business advisory offering. As a result, her client relationships were stronger than ever.  

“When I call clients now they know I'm calling to talk about something important rather than just creating more work for them. I can focus on their business and find other ways to streamline their processes.”

Even stressful parts of the job like filing Business Activity Statements (BAS) has now become simplified.

“The last BAS period was incredibly smooth for both us and the clients with all the access to source documents as and when we needed them. The processes that we have put into place have also allowed me to take back control of my business. Everything has fallen into place beautifully.”

The conclusion

Implement change one step at a time

Over the next 12 months Tracy has planned to focus on further automating her client’s processes and training her new clients and employees. It’s an investment she knows will pay dividends for her business and recommends other practices get started on their own journey of automation.

“My advice would be to have a good understanding of the software, and then move forward and speak with your clients. Just take them through it one-by-one and step-by-step in the beginning. Try it with a client that you're very familiar with their workflows and requirements and you'll understand where you're going to get the time and cost efficiencies from.”

Learn more

Contact your Xero account manager today to understand how Hubdoc and Xero Expenses can benefit your clients & how Xero can support you on your journey.

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