A day in the life of an enablement specialist


In January 2014 we profiled our Partner Enablement team in the UK.  As we know, things never stand still for long here at Xero, and 2014 was no exception as some of the Enablement Team took up new roles at Xero and new team members arrived.  So we thought we would give you an update.

Partner Enablement work with our partners to help make the transition to Xero as seamless as possible. And then support them along the way as Xero becomes an integral part of their practice.

The focus of Enablement is in three key areas:

  • Client Conversion
  • Xero Product Knowledge
  • Commercial Enablement  – change management

So, how do we do it?

Getting to know the practice

One of the biggest challenges to a new partner is the time and resource needed to move clients across to Xero from their existing systems. So Enablement step in to ensure this process is as seamless and painless as possible – with minimal impact on the practice. Enablement need a good working knowledge of the partner’s portfolio. This is to ensure the clients most suited to Xero have been identified. Some businesses will get more from a cloud-based accounting solution than others, so it’s important that we get this right.

Once the clients have been identified, we will discuss the most appropriate pricing plan for them. For example, those Excel clients that will really benefit from using the Ledger or Cashbook editions of Xero.

Building a relationship with the partner’s practice staff is really important for us. After all, they’re the ones who’ll be doing the hands-on work. The first step for us is to identify a Xero Champion within the practice who can really help drive awareness and change within the firm.

Client conversion

Once we’ve identified the clients that are most suited to Xero, Enablement can offer to bulk load these template clients on to the partner’s Xero platform. This saves the partner and their staff lots of time.  We’ll work with the partner to create a tailored and standardised chart of accounts file. This will save them time when setting up their clients. They can then use this standard file across all their Xero clients, or perhaps have a few standard charts they use for different types of businesses they look after.  We often base the file on the partner’s current nominal accounts structure from their accounts production software. This keeps things familiar and straightforward. Ease of use is always a really important consideration, whatever we’re doing.

Having this chart of accounts file really helps partners to streamline the process of exporting data from Xero into their accounts production system. Plus it keeps the structure the same for the client and/or staff, reducing downtime in learning a new set of nominal codes. We had a partner with a client portfolio that included lots of architects, so we worked with the client to create a chart of accounts that works well across this industry. Then for other partners we’ve helped them structure their chart into the IRIS format. That way it was nice and easy for them to export out of Xero and import into their accounts production software.

Creating a helpful conversion guide

Our partners sometimes want to bring data from their existing systems into their new Xero account. Enablement are there to assist with this too. This may involve producing a step-by-step self help guide. Or perhaps producing Excel macro files to more easily format data that has been extracted from other systems.  These resources are critical to ensuring our partners are skilled, independent and confident.

There’s additional detailed help on our website to help with the conversion process if partners need more assistance. So there’s always support at every stage.

Staying in touch with meetings and webinars

We’re really focused on keeping in contact with our partners. Our day usually includes either a meeting on site or a webinar. It will either be a bespoke webinar for an individual practice or one of our standard sessions that you can register for on our website.

For a practice webinar we’ll generally go into more in-depth detail around product features. This could be a thorough overview of one particular feature or a mix of features available from our Xero, Workpapers and Practice Manager systems. When the partner has specific questions we’ll cover these in the meeting or webinar. We’ll make sure we give solutions that answer the question, alongside clear, concise guidance on the actions they’ll need to take.

Step-By-Step Conversion Course

During 2014 the Enablement Team produced a Step-By-Step video series to help partners self-implement. This self paced course means that partners don’t have to attend a particular series of webinars. Instead they can skill up the team as and when they need.

Xero Product Knowledge

Some partners have reported that the main barrier to using Xero across a wider range of clients is not the converting. Instead the problem is in the practice staff not feeling entirely confident in using Xero. This may be because the workflow is different from accounting systems they are more familiar with. So a good part of the enablement process is to ensure the staff are properly trained in the day to day use of Xero.

Using live client examples, Enablement will advise on tips and tricks that can be used to get the most out of Xero. We build confidence by showing the team that Xero does a lot more than people realise. Often more efficiently that their old systems.

Making the move to Xero as simple as possible

We’ve created some excellent, short client training videos that partners can embed in their websites. Short snippets on bank reconciliations, invoicing etc. all of which help to get the clients interested and signed up. We’ve had great feedback so far from partners and have even had requests for other topics to cover – not a bad problem to have!

Commercial Enablement – change management

Whilst not professing to be marketing experts, an Enablement specialist may also advise partners on how to manage the change to a new system. This means both internally in the practice as well as selling the idea to clients. We draw on the knowledge gleaned from working in practice ourselves. We also use information from the discussions we’ve had with dozens of firms. We give great advice on how to promote the use of Xero more widely with staff and clients alike.

Overall support

Listening to feedback from practices and offering this kind of tailored support is what really appeals to our partners. We can talk them through the conversion process from beginning to end, offering standard support and more bespoke solutions when they’re needed.

Listening to feedback from practices and offering this kind of tailored support is what really appeals to our partners. We can talk them through the conversion process from beginning to end, offering standard support and more bespoke solutions when they’re needed.

The close working relationship we have with our partners is awesome: we become like another member of their team. And this team feeling between us and the practice means we also share their success and achievements.

Ultimately, we’re here to make moving over to Xero as simple as possible – and we love working with our partners to make this happen.

If you’d to find out more about the support we offer, you can contact your account manager. Or you can drop us an email at partnerteam@xero.com.

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