Just like that, another Australian Xero roadshow tour has finished. I believe it has been the best one ever and it was made all the more special with the participation of Xero app ecosystem.
Not only did 45 exhibitors join us across all locations, but we had events on the night before the Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane roadshows where a number of exhibitors presented what their apps could do for businesses and practices.
The networking times through the day were a constant buzz as exhibitors and delegates mingled over cutting-edge tech, coffee and delicious food. (Despite my continual profession of love for each location’s lunch, the gnocchi in Melbourne truly won my heart.)
Some might say (me) the best was saved until after lunch, where we went beyond Xero and heard from app partners.
Setting the foundations of a practice app stack
The final session of the roadshow showcased nine of the most popular practice apps.
In each location, six app providers spent 10 minutes each articulating how their app extends the features of the Xero platform and, most importantly, why it’s a game changer for Xero partners.
This was particularly exciting for me as, when I was an accountant, we were constantly distracted with admin tasks such as rekeying data, chasing up clients, and maintaining multiple different spreadsheet registers.
These apps, once integrated with the Xero platform, provided solutions that I could only dream of back then, as we didn’t have the benefit of using cutting-edge cloud technology.
I love the paradox here: by using more technology we can actually become more human. The less we need to worry about transposing data or updating multiple client lists, the more we have time to dedicate to our clients, our family, and our friends.
If you missed out on the roadshow, here’s a snapshot of how each of the nine apps that were presented cut down non-value admin tasks and offer deeper client insights:
Beautiful first impressions and eliminating debtors
Practice Ignition not only automates the creation of engagement letters, but they help create a beautiful first impression with clients and can eliminate debtors. No more manual Word documents or spreadsheets attempting to track the status of all those engagement letters.
In control of timely and accurate client data
Getting complete, timely and accurate data can be more painful than a sore tooth. So it’s refreshing to see how Hubdoc and Receipt Bank are extending the features in Xero to get access to real-time data, including being able to go straight to the source, by-passing the client completely.
Automated reporting and forecasting
I still have nightmares about trying to prepare meaningful management reports for my clients. Often it meant taking outdated data to Excel to manipulate and turn into a set of reports. Not only was it prone to human error, we also struggled to prepare the reports at a price that was affordable for our clients.
Xero’s report templates are a great start to providing management reports, but it’s taken to a whole new level with Spotlight Reporting, Fathom and Futrli. These solutions are particularly useful for clients who need consolidations and robust forecasting.
Turbocharging practice management
A challenge in many accounting firms is maintaining separate client databases that don’t talk to each other. It’s no fun trying to keep the data consistent, especially when you forget one and end up sending financials to an outdated client address. Which is why AccountKit (a suite of admin, compliance advisory tools) and NowInfinity (entity management and corporate compliance) have long been popular apps that integrate with and enhance Xero Practice Manager.
FYI is relatively new to the Xero apps ecosystem, but has already gained incredible interest with its document management and process automation. (Wait till you see the Notice of Assessment integration with Xero Tax!)
Xero is only as powerful as the information you connect to it
The theme of the roadshow was the digital domino effect, with one of the dominoes being connectivity – best-in-class apps seamlessly integrating with each other.
Xero’s accounting software is fantastic and goes beyond accounting in several areas. It may well be all you or your clients need, but many businesses can benefit from using Xero as a base and connecting apps that extend it so the entire business runs on one connected platform.
It’s not dissimilar from how the smartphones are used as a platform. The typical user downloads many third-party apps to extend the utility of the phone. In fact, it’s got to the point where a smartphone isn’t really the right name anymore.
Imagine if Apple or Samsung decided to shut its platforms to all third-party apps. Without Uber, Netflix, Airbnb and so on, the mobile phone would be a much-reduced tool.
The key message is that just as you wouldn’t use a smartphone only to make calls and send texts, only using Xero for accounting means you’re not harnessing the full power of the Xero platform.
For more information on the apps that presented at the roadshow, check out the web page turbocharging your practice: roadshow in review.