Implementing a completely new system across your practice is a major decision.

We became painfully aware of this when we first moved the Poole Group from one accounting platform to another. To cut a long story short we got burnt, and so when we decided to adopt the Xero cloud-based platform we took a much longer-term view.

Training and re-skilling our staff was a given, so we created a transition program that let us phase in the platform in parallel with the anticipated release of Xero’s tax modules. We also focused on areas that would provide the most benefits and least disruption to our firm while completing the transition.

Our journey revolved around seven steps that let us:

  1. Evaluate the feedback
  2. Make adjustments as necessary
  3. Move to the next stage once we were happy with what we’d put in place.

The 7 steps we took to move our business to Xero

  1. Learning the basics: Learning the Xero program ourselves to understand how it worked and the benefits to our clients.
  2. Getting client feedback: Introducing Xero to our clients to gauge their feedback.
  3. Exploring the ecosystem: Understanding how the app ecosystem integrates with Xero and how this can be used to help clients improve their businesses.
  4. Establishing Xero Ledgers: Establishing Xero ledgers for our non-Xero clients so we can operate our practice across a single platform including using reporting tools such as CrunchBoards, Fathom and Spotlight for all our clients.
  5. Introducing Xero Workpapers: Trial and introduce Xero Workpapers to have a uniform approach and processes across the firm.
  6. Looking for efficiencies: Identify ways to utilise the cloud-based platform to reduce the level of basic processes in-house and have our staff focus on higher-level value add services.
  7. Adopting Practice Management: Implementing the Practice Management Suite.

Some people may find this approach a bit controversial, but we believed adopting the accounting platform first would:

  • generate immediate efficiency gains
  • help generate support internally from our staff who may have been reluctant to change and adopt the new approach.

Our other major issue was wanting to build this new process from the ground up. We didn’t want any processes and systems based on our old model. We were committed to changing our whole approach, and re-engineering not only our business structure but also how it operated.

We’ve successfully adopted the first three steps, and have trialled steps four through seven with our Xero implementation team. The trials have proven we can achieve the benefits we’re after and we’re now rolling out the strategy to all 60 staff in our firm.

This means we’ll be completely cloud-based by June 2015.

By adopting this measured approach we could make sure we:

  • were comfortable with the platform
  • could measure the efficiencies we expected to achieve.

And we’re already seeing some of those efficiencies. Clients with traditional write offs and slow payments are happily accepting fixed-price monthly instalments and add-ons when we hand them the final bill.

If you’d like to know more about how we approached our transition, check out our How to Fast Track Your Journey to Cloud Accounting with Xero ebook.

And if you want to talk about how we can help you climb that ‘stairway to heaven’, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.