More focus, more control

Adding Workpapers to the Xero product mix is all about giving our accounting partners the tools to improve focus and control on core compliance work.

When Xero first launched, the vision for cloud accounting was to connect the client and advisor on a single ledger, so advisors could service their clients better. This has played out well for those firms who lean towards offering business advisory services built around regular client meetings and management reports.

It’s been interesting to see the effects that the cloud has had on early adopter firms who are more compliance-focused. Just doing the same compliance work they’ve always done, these firms are experiencing material improvements in efficiency. This is an important shift as it provides a compelling reason for any firm to move to a cloud platform, improving their efficiency, and giving them the option to increase service offerings and connect with clients down the track if they want.

The secret to providing value through compliance services is efficiency. Focus and control are the two main ingredients that make up the efficiency mix and Workpapers has been designed with this in mind.

The problems with compliance workflow have frustrated accountants in practice for a long time:

  • Lots of human effort is required – much of it manual, repetitive and unfocused;
  • Workflow and resourcing is dictated by the client-base, who typically bring in records whenever they please and answer queries in a haphazard and incomplete manner.

These problems result in laborious and often unrewarding compliance seasons for many firms, and often a sense of powerlessness. There can be a loss of focus and control over our own practices.

Workpapers was designed with a fresh approach and a challenge to the established order. Harnessing technology was key – goodbye EXCEL spreadsheets, manual data-entry and ten-inch lever-arch folders. Hello workpaper dashboards, synchronicity with Xero and an online prepare/review/archive experience.

With Xero and WorkflowMax integrations, an online client queries portal, and ‘smarts’ such as filtered workpaper selection and auto-journals – Workpapers is using the power of the cloud to help firms complete their work in a focussed way. With better focus firms should aim for improved resourcing outcomes and an improved ‘bottom-line’.

We’ve also been encouraging firms to look at how they can take back ownership of compliance workflow. With the Xero single ledger data available for import into Workpapers after year-end, plus a tailored, online client query process at the heart of Workpapers, there is simply no need to wait on tardy clients responding to generic checklists. Now you can prioritise your client workflow as desired, and control your own resourcing and deadlines.

More focus, more control. Surely that’s a better way to do business?

Richard Francis is GM of Workpapers – Xero. If you are a Xero Gold or Silver Partner in Australasia, contact Richard or your Account Manager to request a trial whilst Workpapers is in Beta. Watch this space for details of open release during 2013.

7 Comments

Justin
January 18, 2013 at 11:24 am

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone Richard…. :)

This has been a game changer for us at Cloud Accts. The entire process from client communications, to peer and final review sign offs are a breeze.

Efficiency gains with turnaround, uploading all backing documentation, and processing external and internal queries are big positives!

Xero + Workpapers + WFM tax = Streamlining compliance

(so you can do the important stuff we trained to become Chartered Accts for!)

Mike Block CPA
January 18, 2013 at 7:50 pm

WOW! (as long as we can customize the steps) Please give U.S. CPAs access ASAP, especially those who outsource. Some of us have been waiting for this for more than 35 years already.

Dave Hill
January 19, 2013 at 2:31 am

I’m with you, Mike. When PC’s came out we dreamed of this day. The next step for the Accounting profession will be to realize that the 700 year old technology of double-entry bookkeeping has been replaced. Debits & Credits will not be missed.

David Kime
January 19, 2013 at 4:40 am

@Mike – you hold on in the US – the UK asked first lol

Richard Francis
January 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback. We have an exciting year ahead for Workpapers – watch this space! :)

Steph Hinds
January 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I have to agree with Justin. Using Workpapers for the 2012 year end compliance work has made a huge difference to us. We have been growing at a rapid pace and the efficiency gained in compliance means we haven’t had to employ anyone else.

it’s also so much easier to review work. Clients are happier as they only need to respond to questions once and they can just tick boxes for yes and no.

Awesome product. If you aren’t using it already can highly recommend starting ASAP :)

Jon Stacey
January 23, 2013 at 6:52 am

@David, @Mike – absolutely…..UK ready & waiting…..

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