Stacey Morrison, the ‘cultivator’
My Xero journey started long before I joined the company as a partner consultant last year. In fact it began back in 2014 as a chartered accountant at Old Mill where I attended a Xero Roadshow and was blown away by Xero’s fresh, bright, and positively different approach to bookkeeping. As I dove further into the product throughout the ensuing years it was safe to say that I was truly smitten and had found a lifelong passion.
I felt compelled to pass the efficiencies onto as many clients as possible. But getting them onside could at times prove challenging, particularly with those who were further behind on their digital journey. It was crucial for me to have the knowledge and confidence in positioning Xero to my clients in a way that was relevant and of value to them, so together we could overcome barriers and successfully onboard them to Xero.
Since joining Xero, I have helped to develop Xero’s onboarding portal, which is full of content, resources and training for partners. Designed to empower our partners to break down client onboarding barriers to help deliver a seamless Xero experience.
The ‘big three’ of client onboarding barriers
The three main client barriers many face when onboarding clients to Xero are time, cost and the size of the business. Below are a few tips I’ve learned during my time in practice to encourage clients to experience the full value of Xero.
I regularly had conversations with clients explaining the long-term value of investing time up front to learn a new system or educate staff. Once I was able to show them a better way of working and completed the training, I often had clients come back to me confessing that they should have changed sooner — and that was really great to hear.
In time, my clients would tell me that they didn’t even notice that they were doing their bookkeeping any longer. They would simply raise their sales invoices (usually on the mobile app or tablet), capture their supplier bills as they come through and tie it up to the bank reconciliation. They found themselves popping in and reconciling everything whilst enjoying a cup of tea, or between meetings. By the time it comes to their VAT quarter they are pretty much done. Gone are the days of spending evenings or weekends pulling all the information together.
For those clients who use paper-based systems or excel, there is clearly going to be an added cost moving to cloud-based software, which may make them feel uncomfortable. I found that the best way to alleviate this barrier is to bring it back to their number one issue – time. Helping clients understand what they pay for a Xero subscription is incomparable to the time they’ll get back. Time they can spend on other aspects of their business or time with friends or family .
I would also focus the conversation around the need for keeping on top of their incoming and outgoing cash flow. Small businesses, in particular, cannot afford delays in cash coming in and clients who use spreadsheets or paper records don’t have a clear picture of their real-time cash position. With Xero, they have an up-to-date view of which customers owe them money and when they should expect it.
They can also see what money they owe to suppliers and when it is due, giving them a far better understanding of their true cash position. I then show clients how to send online invoices, set up payment services and schedule invoice reminders to help get paid quicker. They soon understand that the cost of Xero is outweighed by the benefits of getting paid sooner and not having to spend time chasing invoice payments.
Size of business
Many clients think they are either too small or too big to use Xero. For businesses that feel too small for Xero, it ultimately comes down to the fact that they don’t think paying for software is needed. Challenge clients’ perception about being too small to implement technology by explaining the benefits of setting up for success in the same way larger businesses do. Once they understand the value outweighing the cost, they are on board to migrate across to Xero.
In the case of clients thinking their business is too big to use Xero, first understand why they think that. Usually the barrier is in relation to more complex reporting or stock requirements. In such cases, it’s about packaging Xero with the right solution from the Xero App marketplace. With over 1,000 apps connected to Xero, businesses (small and big) can customise their own online accounting solution to suit their needs.
The advantages of using cloud-base software to access information anywhere, from any device and not being tethered to an individual computer are huge. Plus, having one source of truth in the data between accountants and small business owners enhances the ability to work collaboratively. Enabling both parties to make informed business decisions with confidence in their numbers to meet business goals establishes trust and builds value in the relationship.
Explore Xero’s dedicated onboarding portal
Visit Xero’s onboarding portal and be empowered to communicate the value of Xero with your clients, overcoming any client barriers. In the portal, you’ll find:
Co-branded client facing resources
Find and download customisable resources to support you when talking with clients about Xero. This includes a template presentation deck, a cheatsheet for overcoming client objections, instructions to create your own Xero demo video, plus much more.
One-to-one support from a Xero partner consultant
Schedule a meeting with one of our dedicated onboarding specialist consultants. Whether you need help migrating clients or have any technical questions, you can get the support you need.