As you may know I have been on a crazy journey with Xero for the last four years. In 2013, I got a call from Justin Hobbs who implored me to try out Xero, a plea that I ignored (boo!). At the time I was using Quickbooks Desktop, hosted with Right Networks, and was struggling but was unsure about making the switch to Xero. We had high software costs for each of our clients ($65/user) and the time it took to do our daily work made us feel like we were trudging through mud. Our end of year work felt insurmountable as every process seemed to be manual like printing and mailing paperwork to our clients, and sending data files back and forth to our CPA partners and clients. By January 31st, everyone at Accountingprose wanted to crawl under our desks and hide until the busy season was over. Thankfully Justin kept calling because, after the January 1099 deadline was over, I was ready to make the switch. I had enough of working hard vs smart and paying for insanely expensive software. I knew that there had to be a better way.
In Q1 of 2014 I reached out to a client, Brushfire Interactive, and we hatched a plan to beta test Xero. We agreed that my team would keep Xero and Quickbooks up to date, at the same time, to evaluate what type of time and sanity savings we would have. We wanted to see if using Xero was really as easy as the help videos led me to believe; it seemed too good to be true. Could we really do the work in half the time and spend 1/3rd on software costs? After a month of digging into Xero we realized that we had to use it with all of our clients. It was faster, easier to use, less expensive, and we never had to struggle against the software. In the past we dealt with broken backups, inconsistent bank feeds, manual data entry, and so many headaches. Those days were over.
When we all agreed that Xero was the way to go, it was a done deal. We handed the Xero conversion team our Quickbooks Desktop backups and they were off to the races, moving everyone over for us. We communicated with our clients about the change, and prayed that no one would ditch us to go back to Quickbooks. We sent emails explaining the benefits of Xero, walked our clients through their files once they had been moved over, and made sure that everyone felt comfortable in the change. When the dust settled we saw that we didn’t lose any clients, in fact moving our clients to a better platform helped strengthen our relationships because they saw the intention behind the shift. More than anything we wanted to do great work, save our clients money, and get them the information they needed to run their businesses more effectively. In the end, the move wasn’t just a win for us. It was a win for everyone.
Since we made that first step with Xero, I have made it a point to be closely connected with the Xero team. In the beginning, I hopped on calls with the development team, offering suggestions for how to make the software even better. I worked with their marketing and sales team, offering my time to speak with prospective Xero users/partners. I felt that I had benefitted so much by using Xero, that I wanted other people to know about it. I think that hearing from an actual user of the software speaks volumes- why listen to a sales person when you can hear about real life experience? Plus, we are very careful with our growth, making sure to only take on clients that fit our verticals and service offering. For example, if a client in construction wants to work with us, we have to refer this business out. We have worked in this industry before, and while we can manage the work, it isn’t where our expertise lies. If I can spend a little time getting to know other Xero accountants, why not throw some business their way? I naturally have built a solid network of accountants who support best-in-breed software and also understand the Accountingprose vision. Again, stepping in and helping is a huge win for everyone.
After about a year of advocating for Xero, they asked me to join the Xero Partner Advisory Council aka XPAC. You can read a little more about my experience here. In short, XPAC is a group of accounting bada**es who come together to change Xero and the accounting profession as a whole. Together we dreamed big and worked with the design, development, and sales team to make those dreams a reality. It was so cool to see our ideas come to life! Each member of XPAC serves on the council for 2 years, which at first seemed like a huge amount of time. In reality, the time flew by and I said goodbye to the council in May of this year. Sigh…. At the time I figured my day of shaking things up at Xero were over… that was, until Xero called me again in July and asked me to be a Xero Ambassador!
So folks, as of August 2017, I am now an Ambassador for Xero. I get to do the same cool stuff that I did before- run the monthly Xero Meetup Group in Denver, host webinars, talk to prospective Xero users, offer my input on the direction of the software, and help my “competition” grow their own practice. I get to hang out with a bunch of cool Xeroes and Xero users who I have gotten to know over the last few years- some of which have become great friends. I also get to continue to run Accountingprose, as I am not employed by Xero. Essentially, I get to have all of the best things- a dream come true! On LinkedIn, you may have noticed the addition of Xero Ambassador- Colorado on my profile. My experience/responsibilities are listed as:
• Help accountants build profitable and fun accounting practices by connecting them to beautiful accounting software and awesome add ons
• Host #XeroHour every month
• Produce captivating blog content, news articles, and live/on demand webinars
• Have the most fun ever
This is going to be SO MUCH FUN! I am very excited to meet more amazing people, dream even bigger, and continue to bring everyone in the accounting industry up. Together, I know that Accountingprose and Xero will make a huge difference in the lives of accountants and their clients.
PS- Here is a photo from the Xero Ambassador meeting held at the beginning of August in Denver, Colorado. What a bunch of studs! <3