Xero recently released a Xero Partner Code of Conduct for partners to refer to in relation to Xero account access between client and advisor. This code was developed after considering multiple external resources and has intended to provide one short document to give value to advisors within the partner network and assurance to their small business clients, by enabling accurate and complete communications with clients on this issue.
James Solomons, Head of Accounting, explains more.
The cloud has brought some great changes to the accounting industry but with change, comes new questions – such as how client-adviser relationships operate within the context of a shared data file.
Naturally, we want to know who owns the file, who owns the data, who can access the data, and who is responsible for it? To help our partners navigate this, Xero created the Xero Partner Code of Conduct.
Creating the code
The code is designed to give practical and concise guidance to accounting and bookkeeping partners on how to operate in the cloud when it comes to the issue of shared data and client projects.
It was developed in consultation with the accounting industry across Australia. This includes all the accounting and bookkeeping associations in Australia, International Association of Qualified Cloud Accountants (IAQCA), the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and the Xero Partner Advisory Council (XPAC).
It has been a thorough process, which has been 18 months in the works. The code officially became part of Xero’s new partner program in November 2016.
Early feedback and developments
Feedback has been positive. During Xerocon 2015, we held a panel session of industry associations and the TPB. They discussed why the code was a useful supplementary document to refer to for guidance when needed.
The TPB has since extended the theme of the code of conduct with its own release of the TPB Cloud Computing Practice Note, designed to provide further guidance to the industry.
Ultimately, this code adds value to Xero’s partners as it helps to resolve disputes that may arise. It enables access to the correct information – easily and quickly, at the right time.
Can this be copied & used by the Xero partner as part of our standard T & C’s & displayed on our website? It would certainly promote the clarity of processes around non payment by clients & support the request to the client to sign a standard payment authority with the partners bank to automatically deduct the fees owing.
We’re ok with you including a reference or link to the Code of Conduct on your website, especially if you include appropriate context about what it is and what it means for your relationship with your client.
We don’t recommend copying and pasting it verbatim on to your own website as if it was part of your own client engagement agreement for the following reasons:
– the Code has drafted as part of the agreement between you and us, rather than as part of the terms of engagement between you and your client. However, we appreciate that your obligations under the code will have implications for your letters of engagement.
– we think its important that firms consider getting their own advice on Ts and Cs that they wish to impose on their clients – Xero can’t advise on this.