This Xerocon is a monumental event, in fact it is one of the biggest accounting events in the UK! For two days, with over 3,000 accountants and bookkeepers gather to learn and share how they’re growing the UK small business economy.
What I really love hearing are the stories of what our partners are doing in the UK to shift the needle in this rapidly changing industry. With Making Tax Digital (MTD) there are 1.1 million businesses that need to adjust and to do this they need the support of their accountant or bookkeeper. At Xero we are working hard to support you, our partners, so that you can provide the advice they need.
Creating great client experiences
Last month, we asked 1,500 UK based small business owners about how their businesses are doing and the role of accountants and bookkeepers in supporting them through the uncertainty and challenges they face.
The results showed those working with advisors are more confident, less stressed, and more ready for MTD. We also discovered that right now a whopping 27% of UK businesses are looking for a new advisor because their current external accountant or bookkeeper isn’t making the grade. We asked them – what makes them stay with (and enthusiastically recommend) their advisors?
From the survey we discovered that there are four key pieces of criteria small businesses look for in their next advisor:
- Be capable with technology
- Be knowledgeable in their industry
- Make their business a priority
- Provide proactive information and advice
Developing the knowledge and vision needed to succeed
Supporting accountants and bookkeepers, is at the core of our ambitions. If you are effective, small businesses are successful and the wider economy and communities benefit as a result. Today I shared the top actions UK advisors can take to place their practice in an unbeatable position to take the very best care of your clients and grow your practice.
We are so happy to announce at Xerocon that we have vastly improved the Xero certification experience so that you and your staff can be confident in skills you have with our software. The new certification learning is delivered via bite-sized modules, which now include focus areas on our new features which are in high demand – expenses, projects and payroll.
We have also created a new series of courses to help you up-skill in specific industries. Like certification, on completion you will receive a badge which you can display on your advisor directory listing and for your own marketing material.
And to really help you with your advisory aspirations we have produced a brand new book – ‘The Pacesetters: Advisory’. Like book one in this series, ‘The Pacesetters’, we have sorted through many stories of real UK advisors and selected the very best best practices of accountants like you so that you can learn from the best and take your practice to the next level. ‘The Pacesetters: Advisory’ is available now from Amazon as a Kindle e-book and the paper copy is coming soon!
Solving compliance for the UK
Another question we asked small businesses was “what are the jobs they are doing they would rather pay for?” Not surprisingly 80% of those jobs were still compliance orientated. With MTD for VAT landing in April 2019, focusing on compliance has never been more important for UK advisors. But it goes further than just MTD, to run an efficient compliance practice you need the best tools to collect and process data and documents and you need to be able to finalise accounts right through to filing with HMRC and Companies House.
Today we announced that we are bringing accounts preparation and tax filing to Xero with the acquisition of Instafile. Instafile automates the process of tax filing and financial reporting in the UK seamlessly connecting Xero directly to UK compliance bodies (including HMRC). The acquisition of Instafile enables Xero to connect the ‘last mile’ between our platform in the UK and HMRC.
It’s important to note that Xero continues as an open platform so small businesses can choose from our 700+ Xero-integrated apps. We expect our customers will choose best of breed and absolutely support choice for our customers.
When can I have it?
For those of you that joined me at Xerocon today, every one of you now has an invite to our MTD VAT beta programme so that you can start trying the new experience in Xero! We are also working hard on the VAT Central advisor portal – expect to hear more about this in the new year. For Instafile, we are taking expressions of interest in our beta now via UKtax@xero.com with full release to follow in 2019.
In keeping our passion to to grow small businesses and connect them with advisors, we’re including these new capabilities in our Xero software and partner programme at no charge to our Xero partners.
We are so excited about these features and look forward to hearing your feedback.