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New recognition for growing partners with Xero Certified teams

Posted 5 years ago in Advisors by Xero
Posted by Xero

Today, at Xerocon South, we announced that we are introducing a brand new partner recognition called the Xero Champion. We’re incredibly excited to introduce this special distinction, which will be awarded to partners who are growing their Xero practices and demonstrating a level up commitment to certifying their teams on Xero – a commitment we value immensely.

A champion level for our fastest growing and most certified partners

There are just two criteria for becoming a Xero champion: sustained growth and Xero certification. Sustained growth is measured relative to the number of partner points an advisor had 12 months prior. Measuring growth over a 12 month period provides a true reflection of growth as it takes into account seasonal fluctuations, such as tax time.

Under the new Xero partner points system, partners can achieve growth by (i) adding new or switching existing clients to Xero, (ii) adding additional Xero services like Xero Payroll, or (iii) increasing the level of service provided to a client by moving to a more fully featured Xero services. With so many ways to earn points, we’re making it easy for all partners to qualify, even partners that are not accepting new clients.

The second criteria is ensuring that staff are earning or maintaining their Xero Certifications.  A certain number of Xero-certified staff are required to meet this criteria – two if you’re at Bronze level, or three for Silver and above.

Designation as Xero Champion partners is calculated at the close of each month. Partners that met both criteria will have during this assessment will receive the Xero Champion badge for the month.  Partners that fall short can make adjustments and will automatically be reconsidered at the close of the month. Partners that met the criteria the preceding month but missed in current assessment will retain the Xero Champion badge for a 1-month grace period until the next month-end assessment.

Recognition for partners achieving both criteria

The achievement of both criteria distinguishes the most desirable types of partners, by recognizing those  that are exceptionally committed to growth and knowledge of Xero.

This distinction is available to partners regardless of partner status. It offers extra rewards for those who are investing to go a level up from for meeting the baseline certification and partnership requirements, and showcases Xero partners that are the best they can be within any status level.

The Xero Champion badge will be prominently displayed to the thousands of small businesses who search the new Xero Advisor Directory globally every month, making it easier for them to find your practice.

The Xero Champion status adds another layer of rewards.

Once a partner meets the Xero Champion criteria, their practice will benefit from a range of extra value.  In addition to the Xero Champion badge, they’ll receive:

  • premium Xero Advisor Directory listing which provides partners the ability to add a video to their partner profile and to have their Xero Champion badge prominently displayed;
  • inclusion in our wide-reaching efforts to match small businesses without advisors to Xero Partners;
  • and, other opportunities like being featured in Xero marketing and promotion.
champion 1

This new Xero Champion status is part of the expanded Xero Partner Program and will be available to all accounting and bookkeeping partners from November 2016.

Once launched, partners will be able to keep track of all the details needed to maintain this badge through a monthly partner points update. This will be delivered to the Xero contact (practice administrator or principal user) at the beginning of each month. Partners will also see a Partner Points and Status mini-dashboard appear within Xero HQ later this year so that they can view their points and progress anytime.

We’ve been busy testing the system and know that there will be many partners who will have the Champion distinction and benefits from the first day of the expanded partner program.  If you would like to be one the practices that receives the Xero Champion badge and the extra benefits in November when the program goes live, you can start by studying up and getting enough of your team certified and by adding new clients or services on Xero.  Partners will receive progress updates as we get closer to November.

18 comments

Bianca Sellar
September 8, 2016 at 12.04 pm

And how does the certification work in Bronze if there is just the owner working without any staff? Considering it mentions that there must be two certified advisors in Bronze.

Doug LaBahn
September 8, 2016 at 12.32 pm

@Bianca, most of the partners we talked to said they would partner up with someone by adding a contractor, or part-time employee. We really want people like you to qualify so we are still working through the criteria and will have more information soon.

Karen Greinke
September 8, 2016 at 2.23 pm

We will experience something similar – looks like we would move from silver back to bronze because of insufficient staff numbers. We are a small business with a significant proportion of Xero clients, hopefully you can iron this out Xero so it doesn’t happen.

Doug LaBahn
September 8, 2016 at 2.57 pm

@Karen – there is no change to how we recognise partners for Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum status. So, your staffing will have no impact on your Xero Silver status. The Xero Champion badge is an extra level of benefits for partners that are growing and have gone beyond the baseline requirement of 1 certified staff member. For you, as a Silver Partner, you’ll continue to be a Xero Silver partner. And, you now have the opportunity to gain additional recognition of being a Xero Sliver Champion partner.

Karen Greinke
September 8, 2016 at 5.53 pm

@Doug, thanks for clarifying that for me Doug, that’s good news.

Dona Skaife
September 8, 2016 at 9.28 pm

I love the idea of the new points based system and the idea of having Xero champion status, but disappointed that one of the key ways to identify a champion is based on numbers of certified staff. We currently have silver status with only two members of staff, so despite being a fully Xero committed practice (for some time), we would have to recruit additional staff to show that we are equally as much a champion as the bigger firm who also has silver status, but may not be 100% committed. I can’t imagine that we are unusual in our size/strategy of practice, and would be interested if anybody else feels slightly disadvantaged?

Doug LaBahn
September 8, 2016 at 10.06 pm

@Dona – Thank you for speaking up. We appreciate that you love the idea of the new points based system. This is the outcome of many conversations with partners. We definitely want to recognise great partners like you that have a talented team, dedication to Xero and thriving practice. We really want partners like you to qualify. We’ll work on this and have more information soon. We know already that partners have said they would invite in another practice user such as a contractor or part-time employee.

Paul
September 8, 2016 at 10.07 pm

I agree with Dona – there are many practices out there run by one or two people. For them to be disadvantaged and not allowed to be a Xero Champion because their growth does not involve recruiting more staff does not seem to be a fair move. The staff number criteria should be removed, it does not reflect how much of a “champion” a Xero partner will be at providing service to a client.

Doug LaBahn
September 8, 2016 at 11.33 pm

@Paul – The Xero Champion badge is an extra level of benefits for partners that are growing and have gone beyond the baseline requirement of 1 certified staff member.  There are other criteria like user star-ratings and comments that we’re considering to reflect how well a partner serves its clients.  We’re listening and will continue to refine as we learn.

Jordan S Zoot
September 9, 2016 at 7.53 am

I am EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED WITH THE CHAMPION PROGRAM…..IT IS A JOKE that it stops with Xero certification and doesn’t recognize truly important credentials like a CPA certificate or an MST….or technology such as AWS Architect or being a Google for Work Partner which requires a five digit investment and real training and certification.

The Champion program as conceived is a rehash of a sales incentive, and doesn’t do anything to recognize those of us that are professionals with graduate education and real certifications…and CPA need to be VERY CLEARLY DISTINGUISHED FROM CPA Inactive…and anyone that violates the Inactive rule should be terminated from the program immediately.

I could elaborate, but the more I think about this the madder I get.

Bea
September 9, 2016 at 8.42 am

While I don’t agree with shouty capitalisations, I do agree with the notion that meeting the criteria of and belonging to professional bodies should be recognised when you’re ranking competence. Chartered Accountants are trained for a minimum of six years to achieve that designation, are required to undertake a specific minimum of professional development, are bound by a code of ethics, required to adhere to professional standards, subject to disciplinary procedures and subject to periodic review of their practice. That level of knowledge is quite a big deal when it comes to assistance to clients in their businesses.

Doug LaBahn
September 9, 2016 at 10.40 am

@Bea – We agree that criteria and learning of professional bodies is very important and want to increase the awareness of the high standards they represent. To this end, the new Advisor Directory will make these hard earned professional standards more visible than the current design. In this way, we are giving every advisor the opportunity to showcase and describe their professional qualifications with self-authored profiles. This approach lets each person share what they are proud of and their unique qualifications. Jordan, for example, has many designations (e.g., CPA, CGMA CITP, CISM, CGEIT) including a Google Partner which are less common and requires investment to achieve.

We know how important the designation of professional bodies are and that not everyone searching the directory will know a CA represents. As a community and through the directory, we want to increase awareness in addition to how we work closely with professional bodies, groups and associations to increase overall awareness in the business community.

I’ve spoken and corresponded with Jordan on several occasions during the development of this round of program enhancements. He raises some really good questions about people who have inactive CPA/CA credentials. Ideally, inactive versus active could be checked in real time and be visible to people searching for advisors. The continual progress of technology is making it more possible to do realtime API validations of credentials. We’re investigating this. For now, we’re continuing with the processes and display rules we have today.

@Jordan, you have some very keen insights into what we can do to make this directory the most trusted and best validated way to find advisors just right for their business. We’re working on these ideas. What you are seeing in these blogs is the first release of the new directory. As mentioned in the announcement communications, we are replatforming our partner program and we’re not stopping with this release. We will continue to listen to partners, small businesses and professional bodies to guide the next round of improvements.

Gillian
September 9, 2016 at 5.29 pm

I am not sure why everyone is so upset at their status. As a sole practitioner with one part-timer there is a limit on our growth anyway, so sales incentives have never worked for me. I have not had one client come to me because I was a 100% Xero practice. Maybe I am too low down on the list that no one ever makes it to the page I am featured on, but to be honest I have always found referral clients to be much better than those who found us on a website.

Jordan Zoot
September 9, 2016 at 5.42 pm

Doug……thanks for the updated comments….I will play ball as it is clear that you understand what I am concerned about. In the US, the credentials for a certified public accountant can be verified at http://cpaverify.com. An IRS Enrolled Agent’s status can be checked at https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/verify-the-status-of-an-enrolled-agent. No EA IRS return preparers can be verified at http://irs.treasury.gov/rpo/rpo.jsf. An Enrolled Agent does not have the same qualifications that a CPA does, and clearly has NO verifiable skills with regard to financial statements or financial accounting.

If anyone has issues or questions with US Professional Standards, I am more than willing to point you in the right directions, and have thirty five years as a CPA licensed in California, Illinois, Florida, New York and Texas which covers about half of the US population. I am more than willing to assist with such issues for other professionals or businesses that have no interest in becoming a client…as a service to the profession.

Kirsten Blake
September 18, 2016 at 1.28 pm

Just some feedback I have given before that I still struggle with. I think it particularly important with the new partner program that is placing more importance on Xero U and staff certification. As practice manager who is going to drive the education of my staff I need to know where they are at in their certification and what courses they have done. Currently I can only see my own and even that is hard to find. I think we need a staff certification dashboard but at the very least your could put the certification status on the staff page.

As an aside to some of the arguments above, whilst I agree that professional credentials and registrations are an indication of professional credibility and very important to clients when they are selecting an advisor, they don’t necessarily reflect a Xero Champion. The number of ‘CPA’ set up files I have had to correct is testament to that. So without throwing discredit on CPA’s in any way, I think the Xero Champion status needs to be based on advanced Xero knowledge and skills first and foremost.

Doug LaBahn
September 19, 2016 at 9.56 am

@Kirsten, with the new Xero HQ release in November, you find a number of improvements to the staff page including information on the certification status of staff members.

Your comments also bring to mind the differences between recognising the achievements of firms/practices and recognising the education, knowledge and proficiency of people. We are planning to increase recognition of both practices and people.

For practices, we have the Xero partner status levels (e.g., Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) which recognise the size of Xero practice and Xero Champion which recognises growth and team commitment to learning and knowledge of Xero.

For people, we have Xero Certification. We’re considering other certifications that people could receive such as Xero Expert, Xero Advanced, Xero Payroll, Xero Accounts Conversion, etc. We also know that the recognition of individual knowledge and proficiency are very important and needs to be done properly. We’re carefully working through the details and will share the progress in November.

Julie Wiggins
December 20, 2016 at 8.33 am

I agree with Dona and Paul, I like the idea of the points system but do not like the idea that one of the ways to become a champion is based on numbers of certified staff. My practice is currently silver status and it’s only me. I’m growing my business and Xero has helped with how long it takes to work on a client which is why I am able to add more clients. I don’t have any plans to add more staff in the future (I can’t for the life of me find a good bookkeeper) and will never achieve champion status if the only way to get it is to have three certified staff. It is a disadvantage to the small firm and excludes us even though we may be growing.

Doug LaBahn in reply to Julie Wiggins
December 20, 2016 at 10.16 pm

@Julie, based on comments from partners like Dona, Paul and others.

We’re going to change the approach for how we establish a “level up” knowledge of Xero to make Xero Champion accessible to you and partner like you with 0 or 1 team members. We announced an update in a subsequent Xero blog (https://www.xero.com/blog/2016/11/all-you-need-to-know-about-your-xero-partner-points/#comments).

We’ll announce the final details and release date on the other side of New Years. Thank you for taking time to comment and for the excellent growth of your practice. Best, Doug

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