I started operating my business in 2012. In the first couple of years, I took on a range of clients, using the three major accounting software applications at that time. I was using an old fashioned whiteboard to keep track of my jobs. There was nothing more satisfying than crossing those jobs off one by one!
As my business grew though, I knew things needed to change. Around eighteen months ago, I made the decision to focus and specialise in using Xero, and I started converting my existing clients.
A number of factors led me to this decision:
- Learning multiple tools slowed me down – With the fast changing pace of the industry and regular improvements to software, I found myself struggling to keep abreast of each package. And I was experiencing inefficiencies with my work as I changed from one software tool to another. Each one had a different way of doing the same bookkeeping task.
- My expertise suffered over multiple platforms – I felt that the service I was providing my clients wasn’t as good as it could be as I was spreading myself over too many products, knowing three of them quite averagely. I didn’t have the time or brain capacity to know them all inside out.
- I was at a crossroad in my business – I needed to decide whether to employ to grow, or streamline processes to grow. I was daunted by the thought of employing staff, so I decided to streamline.
- My analog tools weren’t cutting it – Using the whiteboard to track my jobs was becoming too time-consuming, and I was also running out of room on it!
- There was demand – There was plenty of demand in my area for Xero bookkeepers as some weren’t willing to make the change and adopt it.
One of the biggest drawcards was the Xero suite of products that was coming out. Not only was Xero itself very efficient for bookkeeping, but using Practice Manager, and then with the launch of Xero Tax for BAS, I was sold.
My top priority was adopting Xero Practice Manager to help manage my jobs and workload. As a single operator, I know I’m not using this software to its full potential, but my favourite features are recurring jobs and time tracking. I’d hate to imagine how many hours I didn’t bill my clients for prior to using this feature! I’m also a visual person, so seeing my time summary grow each week is very satisfying.
When Xero released Xero Tax, to say I was excited would be an understatement! It was going to be another link in the chain in developing a super streamlined BAS process. Gone were the days of printing software BAS reports, manually entering BAS figures into the ATO BAS Agent Portal, and then manually creating template letters and substantiation documents. And gone were the days of having to endure the unstable environment and constant system outages of the ATO BAS Agent Portal. A couple of other great benefits of Xero Tax are that I can log in and use it anywhere, on any device, without the need of my own Auskey (sometimes from the banks of the Murray River) – and being able to lodge multiple BASs with the ATO on one go is a great time saver! Two clicks of the mouse and I can lodge ten BASs in seconds!
The final link in the chain for me was introducing an electronic process for signatures. It was inconvenient for my clients to have to print my emails and BAS documents, sign them, scan them and email back to me. Prior to Xero Tax releasing their eSign feature, I introduced Adobe eSign into my business, and still use it as a stand-alone product. I estimate that by adopting Xero Tax, together with eSign, I’m easily saving myself 30 to 60 minutes per BAS lodgment. This has allowed me to offer additional services to my clients, and also increase my client base.
My clients are also happy with the whole process, as it has saved them time and money. They also have complete faith in my knowledge of Xero now, so I’m usually their first point of contact for any support matters.
While some may disagree with me choosing to put all my eggs in one basket, I think it’s the best decision I ever made.