Being the first recipient of Xero’s Most Valued Partner Asia Award at Xerocon South 2016, held in Brisbane, is the culmination of Futurebooks’ Xero journey and a kick-start for online accounting in Asia.
Six years ago, two team members at Futurebooks got certified on Xero, and we decided to include Xero in our cloud accounting software offering. We noticed a steady upswing in demand for Xero from customers in Singapore, and those expanding their businesses from Australia and the United Kingdom.
In the first twelve months of adopting Xero, our accounting team members also expressed a strong preference for Xero over the other accounting platforms. As a result, in early 2015 we decided to go 100% Xero and ceased offering other online accounting software. Doing this allowed us to focus all our resources training on best practices in Xero. All our accounting team members are mandatorily Xero certified. Accepting the award now, on behalf of the Futurebooks team, is a validation of the investment we have made towards being Xero brand evangelists in this part of the world and the trust we have in the people behind Xero.
Xero is changing how we view accounting
Accounting is not historically perceived as a “sexy” industry. Attracting and retaining talent has been tough, especially for smaller accounting firms in Singapore. With Xero’s breathtaking vision, a rapid pace of innovation and intelligent interface that augments accountants, it is making accounting sexy in Asia.
A new crop of accountants has rekindled their interest in serving startups and small businesses. On the client side, Xero has built an incredibly smart platform which is arguably giving small businesses an accounting software platform which is better than traditional enterprise accounting software.
Xero’s cloud-based, multi-device friendly platform enables business owners to view their accounts in real-time, and the beautiful interface makes what can be a daunting task of reviewing your business’ accounts a much more pleasant one.
The single ledger approach of Xero, along with powerful add-ons, like Receipt Bank and Chaser, allow businesses to minimize data crunching and repetitive activities and instead focus on deeper financial reporting and performance reviews. This is especially relevant in Asia, where thermal receipts are still pasted onto white pieces of paper and then photocopied, and receiving a shoebox full of receipts is not uncommon for accounting firms.
Then there is the annual intellectual gathering of accountants and bookkeepers at Xerocon, an event that is both invigorating and informative. Not only does it bring together accountants from different markets, but the event also acts as a stage for everyone to share knowledge and learn the best cloud accounting practices.
What a Xero presence means for Asia
Having a Xero team physically present in Asia means that accounting partners in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines and the region have constant and open communication concerning features and localizing the software we’ve discussed this further on our own blog.
They also act as a bridge connecting us to the right team members overseas, whether it be in marketing, learning or support. For accounting firms, Xero’s presence in the market provides credibility with the local business owners. It gives entrepreneurs peace of mind that the software has a team working in the local market. The Xero Asia team has been fantastic and provided us with constant support. Alex Campbell, Managing Director for Xero Asia, in particular, has regularly reached out to us, working with us in honing in on the industries we have been working on and pushing us to grow not just horizontally but vertically by adding further depth to our offerings in each industry. Questions such as, “What have been your pain points in the past and how can we help?” and the one-on-one approach he has taken on how they can help us grow as a business add a whole new depth to our partnership with Xero. Shaun Burke, Sales Director for Asia, has provided us with data and insights on client retention and has been a consistent anchor for two years.
We have seen the conscious effort the Xero team puts in to treat their accounting partners not as separate bodies, but as part of their extended team. This has been true with Johnny MacAvoy, our first Xero account manager six years ago, now Head of Sales at Practice Ignition, and with Sam Thing, our current Account Manager
While accepting the award, I talked about the journey that Xero and I have been on together and acknowledged that this is just the beginning. We believe we took home the award not just for the firm but also on behalf of all the thriving small businesses in Singapore who are looking to this new and improved accounting system to help their businesses become even more successful.
This blog was submitted by Namita Sethi, CEO of Futurebooks based in Singapore.