Beautifying the Accounting Industry

If you have small business clients that don’t pay attention to their accounting as much as you would like them to, you are likely not alone.  The problem is that most of us accountants give up on those types of clients who seem apathetic to our passion for numbers.  We shrug our shoulders and consider the client a hopeless case if they won’t take a look at their financial reports at our urgings.

What if those clients really care but just feel stupid around all those numbers or feel overwhelmed at trying to learn something they got a “C” in in college?

The answer is to get these clients in the right system with a beautifully-design user interface that appeals to entrepreneurs with talents in creative areas but not necessarily in the financial area.  Remember how Apple made PCs far easier for nontechnical types with its beautiful interface?  Could there be an Apple-like interface that would transform befuddled small business owners into financial geniuses?  Well, maybe.

Xero, a fast-growing company offering a small business accounting system of the same name, has been called the “Apple” of accounting.  Based in the cloud, Xero sports a clean dashboard of important small business numbers like cash balances, get-to-the-point reporting, and intelligent bank feeds that almost code themselves.

The Xero interface is especially appealing to graphics designers, ad agencies, startups of all kinds, personal care business owners, and technology businesses.    A number of mid-sized accounting firms have adopted Xero for their small business write-up and bookkeeping clients.

Beyond Xero’s brilliant interface is an even more brilliant business strategy.   Rod Drury, Xero’s CEO, focused on Asian and European markets while strengthening product features before taking the more challenging United States market by storm in the last year.  He initially funded the company on the New Zealand stock exchange and is now well-funded with heavyweights such as Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal.   And they are moving fast.  Their San Francisco team numbers 30 and is growing as fast as they can find, hire, and onboard top talent.

So why should accountants care?  Here are the top two most compelling reasons:

  1. Data entry costs are slashed.  Getting the right small business clients into Xero can cut their accounting expenses drastically.  When my little company implemented Xero, we cut our accounting expenses in half.  My accountant is now freed up from data entry to work on other projects for me, such as better margin analysis, cash flow forecasting, and accounting tasks that really make a difference in my profits.
    Our savings were dramatic – we saved over 50 percent and I will be able to get a bottom line annualized pickup of $25K conservatively.  Imagine doing that for your clients.
  2. Think ground floor opportunity.  The number of accountants who are Xero-certified Advisors is still relatively small, but leap-frogging every day.  We believe getting in early and adding this product to your services makes a lot of sense; there is little competition now.  Xero is friendly to accountants, offering us a free dashboard/partner account where we can manage our clients centrally, sell and profit from Xero subscriptions, and control what our clients see and don’t see with user access options.

With groundbreaking technology, strong financial backing, great customer service, and a talented team of executives, we believe Xero is capable of transforming the accounting user interface, making it possible for those small business clients who resist numbers and their financial reports to actually begin to understand and even like them.

And when that happens, we can all smile, because we accountants knew all along that accounting can be beautiful.