Raewyn Baldwin is the Territory Manager of Xero in Queensland. Kimberley Middlemis is a partner at Adrians.
In my role as Xero Territory Manager for Queensland, I get to meet a lot of smart, inspiring and interesting people who bring a lot of passion to the accounting industry and the small business clients they work with. I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with a group of great people at Adrians, a chartered accounting firm in Brisbane, since June of last year. Their story of getting to Xero Gold Partner in 12 months is one I’m sure you’ll glean some inspiration and insights from. So, I’ll hand over to Kimberley Middlemis, one of three partners at Adrians, to tell it her own words…
Like any good love story, there comes that pivotal moment when two parties meet and the chemistry takes over. For me and my fellow accountants at Adrians, that moment (albeit in a slighty different guise) happened at Xerocon last year. I was sitting there with a colleague and good friend of mine, Angeline (who was running her own bookkeeping firm at the time), and we were both in awe of what the future of the accounting industry was starting to look like.
We were blown away by what we saw, and we still are: how Xero is changing the entire way SMEs, accountants and advisors are accessing data and doing business. Xero has created massive leaps in efficiency and time saving for all parties. Before Xero, we were a traditional accounting practice with traditional accounting software, and I remember sitting with Angeline in Chur Burger (a trendy little burger place in Sydney) after the event, not only marvelling at what I saw, but also knowing that this change had to happen for our business.
So, change to Xero we did. And now, 12 months later, on the eve of Xerocon 2014 (and yes, we’ll be there with bells on), I’m pleased to say we got to our goal of becoming a Xero Gold Partner in 12 months (celebratory drinks at Xerocon 2014, anyone?).
Clear communication was the cornerstone of our process for getting there. I know that might sound rather simplistic, but you’d be amazed at how much can be accomplished when communication lines are clear and open, and you have an honest dialogue with all your stakeholders.
So, we started talking with our current clients about Xero. We released a bi-monthly e-newsletter providing updates on the latest cloud accounting solutions. We also used the great pool of Xero videos in our e-newsletter to help clients understand what the product was all about. Creating our own video content has also been a really effective medium for us to connect with clients and prospects.
I believe all good businesses owners are looking for ways to make their businesses better, and once you provide them with clear information on how Xero works and how easy it is to use, it resonates with them and prompts them to act. These business-owners started calling us and wanting to know when they could convert. To put it simply, Angeline is our cloud implementation Partner and she has had a VERY busy year!
Changing the way you do things does, of course, come with some challenges. For us, the biggest challenge were the number of new things we required our team members to embrace. We have completely changed just about all of our internal processes and software – that means a significant investment in training. And with new systems in place, you have to feel your way around the program and work out how it is going to work best for you. Our team members have invested a massive amount of time doing this. We also had over 90 percent of our staff get Xero certified in that time as well. Our team really put in the hard yards and got their heads around what they needed to, and we’re so proud of each and every one of them.
I use Xero everyday – if I am not talking to clients and working on their files, I am working on Adrians’ accounts or even my personal files. Usually I access Xero on my work laptop but when I am running around, I use my Surface so I don’t have to lug around heavy computers. If I need something quickly on the run, I will use the Xero iPhone app.
We’d also like to give credit to Raewyn Baldwin from Xero. She’s been our Senior Account Manager for the last 12 months and she’s been fabulous, providing us with feedback and timely information on marketing and updates to the software. She was also a huge help when we converted to General Ledgers due to her extensive background in using the product.
How do you thank a company for changing your life? We kicked a few ideas around the office and came up this video, which we’ve shared with Rod Drury, Chris Ridd, Trent Innes and others at Xero.
A lot has changed for us since Xerocon 2013, and I know we’re all looking forward to learning more, opening our eyes even more – and making some amazing new discoveries at Xerocon 2014. We hope to see you there!