Bringing small business accounting to the cloud has revolutionized the accounting industry. Accountants and bookkeepers can now give advice to their clients in real-time by looking at the most up-to-date data.
The real power of cloud accounting is having the accountant and their client on the same page at the same time; a single source of truth. This is a concept we call the single ledger. We are always working to create new ways for accountants and bookkeepers to get the most out of Xero’s single ledger.
This got us thinking – how can we reimagine management and compliance reporting with the single ledger.
In the desktop-based, disconnected world, an accountant could enforce a common chart. In a connected world where the client and accountant see the same data, this doesn’t hold true. Usually to overcome this you would have to create a custom report for each client which could take hours. It also makes practice-wide reporting standards hard to enforce, and there isn’t much room for efficiency.
So five years ago we introduced the concept of report codes. A single list of codes that partners can map client charts of accounts to. This enabled practices in Australia and New Zealand to create practice-wide templates. These report packs could be applied to their entire Xero client base.
Practices using Xero report packs saw productivity improvements immediately. Non-value adding activities like requesting files, transferring data to desktop software, and creating and posting alignment journals for clients were a thing of the past. Report standards could also be applied easily across an entire client base. But there were some features available in desktop software that accountants missed. The benefits of cloud reporting outweighed the cost, but we knew we could do better.
Enter the next generation of reporting on the single ledger: Practice Reports.
Practice Reports are practice-wide report templates that give you the flexibility to create reports the way you want them. We have designed Practice Reports to be intuitive and approachable, without sacrificing the features. This means partners can harness the power of practice-wide templates, while still retaining the ability to customize the reporting outcome to the needs of the client.
We believe bringing practice reporting and the single ledger together is the most significant revolution in accounting since we started at Xero. Our partners are reducing the time spent at year end by up to 90% – in a practice this is a revolution.
After report packs launched we listened to what our accounting and bookkeeping partners wanted from reporting. Creating a best in class reporting engine was a massive project, we almost bit off more than we could chew. Now that we have delivered this first stage, we have a world class solution for final accounts production. This is our foundation and we can now extend it to include features that will move towards management focused reports.
We have now shifted the focus from compliance reporting to reporting that enables accountants to add value. They can use these reports as the conversation starter.
We’re rolling this out in New Zealand in March for the 2015 year end. Australia will see it before the end of June, and we plan to deliver this to the other regions in the coming months.
Our New Zealand partners can learn about using the new Practice Reports on Xero U. We have webinars and self-paced video courses available 24/7 on Creating Practice Reports and Preparing Accounts using Practice Reports.