In this series, we interview Xero partners trialing Xero Tax. In part one we interviewed Bryan Stevens of Interbiz Ltd and for part two, we have Toby Woodhead in the hot seat.
Xero Tax simplifies the process of tax filing and financial reporting in the UK for Xero partners, connecting Xero directly to HMRC and Companies House.
Toby Woodhead, Xero partner and Solution Architect at Armstrong Watson, was one of the first to trial Xero Tax in the beta programme.
Below he outlines his experience using the product, his favourite features and how the tool is a game-changer for the industry.
Tell us a little bit about Armstrong Watson?
We’ve been supporting, advising and protecting clients across the North of England and Scotland for over 150 years, providing a full range of specialist services and financial advice.
With 16 regional offices from Glasgow to Leeds and over 400 staff, we’re focused enough to provide a truly tailored service and experienced enough to work alongside any size of business.
Our sweet spot is working with family and owner managed businesses across a wide number of different sectors like: farming, hospitality, retail, legal and manufacturing.
Have your internal processes evolved with the adoption of cloud solutions?
Massively, with the advent of cloud accounting we realised that we had an opportunity to work closer with our clients.
We’ve moved our entire practice to use Xero at our core, enabling us to develop an approach we call “Unified Ledger”, allowing year end accounts production to be visible to our clients.
You’ve been involved with Xero Tax for a while now. What were your initial thoughts?
We were really excited when we first heard about Xero Tax. Up until that point we had to export the client’s data into a third party system to perform the corporate tax calculation which introduced risk and decreased the efficiency of our accounts process.
By being an integral part of the Xero product suite, we no longer had to worry about importing and exporting data across systems; this removed several steps from our process and ensured we were always using the right numbers.
“Free corporate tax calculation and iXBRL filing built directly into Xero and designed by accountants for accountants, what is not game changing about that?”
Tell us about your experience using Xero Tax since then?
Xero Tax has helped to take the stress out of the final stages of accounts production; we are faster to draft a calculation, quicker through the review process and safer because the accounts are filed with Companies House automatically.
Which features stand out and why?
Whilst Xero Tax has many features, the one that stands out for me is the user experience. This might sound a little strange, considering all the other features Xero Tax provides, but reducing the barriers to adoption by making it simple and behave as an accountant would expect, is key to a firm seeing a fast return on it’s time investment in changing systems.
You’ve had the opportunity to really shape Xero Tax by building features and functionalities with the team. Tell us a little bit about this?
This has been an amazing process. The Xero team have worked with us tirelessly to streamline the process, reduce clicks and unnecessary data input so the user flow is as intuitive as possible.
We’ve had a small project team that have met every month with Xero to feedback the results of their testing and recommend changes for the next month.
Some of these have been big recommendations like the introduction of a review process whilst others have simply been the renaming of a label from a non-accountant phrase to one that doesn’t need explaining.
This agile approach to the project has, in my opinion, led to an accountant focused design which is the key to rapid software adoption in any accountancy practice.
Why is Xero Tax important to Armstrong Watson?
Xero Tax is important to Armstrong Watson in two ways; corporately it will reduce our risk of an incorrect tax assessment being made and at a user level it will make Corporation Tax quicker and easier to calculate.
Would you recommend other practices get involved in the Xero Tax Beta and why?
Absolutely. Firstly, change happens; the closer you are to it, the better prepared you will be. Secondly, the more accountants that feed into the design the better Xero Tax will be for everyone.
How is Xero Tax a game-changer for the industry?
Free corporate tax calculation and iXBRL filing built directly into Xero and designed by accountants for accountants, what is not game changing about that?
If you’re interested in joining the beta, and being the first to hear about our future development plans, you can register your interest by emailing UKTax@xero.com.
For further questions or support, please contact your Xero account manager. Look out for videos, resources and updates on our Xero Tax . And if you’re not yet a Xero partner, sign up to the partner programme at xero.com/partners or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read part one of this series here.