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Taking the pain out of writeups

We’ve talked to a number of accounting professionals over the last little while and one thing we continue to hear is that Xero is a great tool for write-up clients.

In the US, a write-up client is accounting terminology typically used to describe clients who need financial statements for a tax return. In order to get the financial statements done, an accounting professional needs information from the client, such as a check register, bank statements, cash receipts, and a sales summary. Then they need to get that information into a software package, make sure it reconciles with the bank, make any necessary adjustments, and produce the reports.

This gets complicated quickly because the accountant has to work with a year’s worth of data. It gets even more complicated with the not-uncommon “shoebox” clients who don’t use accounting software, but rather opt to use spreadsheets or literally keep a hard copy of everything in a shoebox – hence the name.

I recently caught up with one of our Xero partners here in the United States (Mariette Knoblauch of Ballard Beancounters). She offers both consulting services and write-up services.

Mariette has a good number of Schedule C clients and S Corporations that would be considered write-up clients. When I asked about her experience with Xero for these clients she was thrilled. She said Xero was a huge time-saver compared to desktop software. With the automated bank feeds, bank transactions are automatically fed into Xero so there’s no need to manually enter all these transactions when write-up time comes around. And the bank rules allow for automation and remove opportunity for client error.

Mariette went through her experience of collecting information when her clients were on desktop software. Below she describes the things she had to go through for each client:

  1. Ask for the data file
  2. Show the client how to back the file up
  3. Client sends the file via email or some document storage application (show client how to do this)
  4. Remind the client to send it
  5. Get the file from the client.
  6. Find / remember password and version
  7. Remind the client not to do anything to his or her version of the file until it is sent back
  8. Upload the file to the Accountant Edition of the desktop software
  9. Review the data file, make adjustments, and create the report
  10. Send the file back
  11. Explain how to overwrite their current file
  12. Email the report or upload to document storage environment

And now Mariette’s experience with Xero:

  1. Login to Xero
  2. Review and make adjustments
  3. Publish report

Accountants and bookkeepers: are you using Xero for your write-up clients?



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Mike Block CPA
14 July 2012 #

What is equally important is that you get to work on clients at your convenience, during the year, instead of having to rush most of your work during a few tax season months. This lets you use lower priced help and keep them busy all year, instead of trying to staff and train for the tax season.

David Kime
14 July 2012 #

Same as the UK. Most Of the s’s in SME are like this.

Mike Block CPA
15 July 2012 #

Hi David: This is unusual:

Alexa says Xero has the most popular accounting SaaS website by far (not counting Mint and Yodlee, which do not compare for accounting power).

100+ very good add-ons use a free RESTful (industry-standard) add-ons interface. The number doubled last year and should way more than double this year.

Only Mint has more bank, credit card and other financial institution feeds, for automatic nightly downloads (PayPal is 4 times a day). Rules easily control the automatic posting (with splits) of these items. This should soon lead to CPA-level rule libraries, with regional libraries quickly following. This will sharply cut accounting time.

Unlike even Intuit/QuickBooks, Xero has a powerful accounting practice manager, which is free with more than 15 clients.

Xero will soon vastly cut setup time, thanks to the recent former head of the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program.

There are a very rapidly increasing number of Xero trained international bookkeepers and CPAs available, as needed, at very low rates.

Xero has good online help, forums, blogs and more than 100 readily available videos, including many teaching videos. Xero also has fast, free and very effective email help, 24/7. They call you and take control of your computer, as needed.

Xero uses many redundant computers, an different remote secure site, for vastly superior reliability and safety.

I could go on, but I am #2 for Xero clients in the U.S. and have many more clients to get started.

Gayle Buchanan
16 July 2012 #

Hi Mariette – you go girl! Wave your magic xero wand and slash time out of processing – well done you.

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