The origins of Manchester-based James Scott date back to the 1980s. The firm serves a range of clients in the North West Area, covering individuals, family businesses, owner-managed businesses and large commercial groups of companies with a turnover up to around £10 million.
James Scott provides a full-service offering, taking care of all compliance filing requirements, bookkeeping, management accounts, tax advice and strategic planning. They aim to set themselves out from the competition by providing a value for money service, with regular client touchpoints creating a strong working relationship.
Ten years of cloud working
The firm was one of the first to use cloud accounting software in the UK and signed up as a Xero accounting partner in 2011. Over the last few years, they have been transitioning the bulk of their clients to Xero and encourage all new clients to take it up.
Matthew Taylor, one of the two partners at the firm, lists Xero’s more than 800 add-on partners as integral to servicing clients’ needs. These software partners, which integrate directly with Xero, add extra layers of functionality bespoke to sector-specific client needs.
Citing the example of ecommerce, Taylor references A2X, a Xero add-on partner that connects to third-party ecommerce platforms to pull in and reconcile sales data.
Taylor says: “Amazon settlements are notoriously difficult to decipher, and A2X’s integration with Xero does this for you. It saves a load of time and also works with eBay and Spotify.”
This has been particularly useful during the pandemic, when the practice saw a surge in sales from many of their ecommerce clients.
“Previously, we had to extract and import the data into separate accounts production and tax software. Xero Tax has really smoothed that workflow out.”
– Matthew Taylor, Partner at James Scott
Switching to Xero Tax
James Scott made the move from their desktop-based accounts production and tax software to Xero Tax, and are switching their clients across for their respective year ends.
Taylor lists the main benefits from the switch as being a complete end-to-end workflow in one piece of software.
“You have your bookkeeping software which produces right through to Companies House and HMRC within the same software suite,” he says. “Previously, we had to extract and import the data into separate accounts production and tax software. Xero Tax has really smoothed that workflow out.”
Rather than undergo the free training materials provided by Xero Tax, Taylor preferred to dive right in to see if he could get to grips with it instantly.
He says: “The software is fairly intuitive and takes you through the process in an orderly and reasonable way. Understanding the processes behind final accounts and corporation tax returns is enough knowledge to understand the flow of Xero Tax.”
While Taylor believes there is “no substitute for getting your hands dirty,” other staff members in the office went through the Xero certification process to build on their knowledge.
The firm now plans to use the efficiency gains from Xero Tax to take on new clients and focus more on growing the ecommerce side of the business.