Senior accountant Angie Jarvis is proud of CATS, the firm she works at on NSW’s Central Coast. Not least because Angie has witnessed some pretty fundamental changes since working there, including the introduction of Xero Tax – and the difference this has made.
“CATS was a traditional accounting firm when I joined 11 years ago, straight out of high school,” says Angie. “It was using MYOB products, and we just accepted things the way they were.”
Angie laughs when she remembers what a day in the life was like before Xero Tax came along.
“Before Xero Tax came into being, you would come into work, double-click on the software, make a cup of tea, and then wait,” she laughs. “Then MYOB would start up and you would open a tab, and wait again.
“The software was just so laggy that the time spent waiting meant you’d have to go and do something else. Yet because all the work was only on one window, you couldn’t flick between windows.
“You know when you don’t have internet? It was like that every time, and so frustrating.”
Angie says the contrast is stark with Xero Tax now in place. “Xero Tax means we can now be far more fluid in our work,” she explains. “We can open different screens at once, and be so much more productive.”
Unpacking the favourites
But when it comes to picking Angie’s favourite feature, three come to mind.
“The best feature on Xero Tax is by far the electronic signature. It is hands-down amazing.”
Angie says the e-signature option means clients are so much more responsive when it comes to signing off on tax returns.
“Clients don’t have to come to your office to sign documents and it’s so much easier because of this. We can now do appointments over the phone with clients if they prefer. We have a form we send them beforehand, and then we go through their tax particulars over the phone together while we’re on Xero.”
Turning around turnaround times
While the e-signature feature is a bonus, Angie says that Xero Tax also improves turnaround times.
“Because clients can have this meeting from their home or their work, it means they can quickly access 95 percent of the info they need, and we can access the other 5 percent from there.
“Everything is done and dusted in that half-hour session.”
ATO plugged in to go
But the day-to-day impact of Xero Tax is also significant, says Angie who refers to lodging client activity statements.
“The import function from Xero is great,” she says. “The BAS function and reports can now be directly imported into Xero Tax, which automatically populates the activity statement. It can then be lodged with the tax office at the click of a button. That means there is absolutely no room for errors in transposing.”
By contrast, Angie reflects on the way things once were, citing the back-end processes as time-consuming.
“Before Xero Tax came along you would have to manually enter in the purchases, the GST, the sales, the wages. It took forever,” she says.
“But all of that stuff now gets prepopulated and locks that data in. Later on down the track you can look back at the data to analyse it, which is so useful given how much data can change.”
Spotlight on: Kiss My Cupcake
“Kiss My Cupcake has been using Xero since late last year,” Angie says of one of her clients. “Before this, the owner was spending a full eight to nine hours a week on processing transactions, including doing payroll for 10 staff.
“Now it takes her less than one hour each week – and wages take 15 minutes.
“She says it’s so easy to use Xero and if there is something that she doesn’t know how to do, the help area is actually helpful!”