XU Magazine - Issue 14

It’s Alive! The Modern Practice is back

Xero HQ apps at Xerocon London
Written by Kim Anderson

Seven years after Xero first talked about the Modern Practice, the concept is now a reality for many businesses. What does it mean to be a Modern Practice and why is 2018 the best me to level up?

The beginning of the Modern Practice

Way back in 2010, Xero started talking about an idea called the ‘Modern Practice.’ They even had a landing page for it, which is how you know a technology company is serious about something.

Shocked by the out dated ways that accountants were still running their practices, they proposed the ‘Modern Practice’ as an easy way to level up your business’ technology and processes without the need for software expertise or lots of time. In practice, the concept revolves around the use of an eco-system of apps to modernise and improve your practice. Xero chose a handful of early add-on partners (including SuiteFiles!) and launched the Modern Practice.

Making the Modern Practice a reality

Ahead of its time (a habit with Xero), the Modern Practice concept petered out after a couple of years. Not quite dead in the water, but for many businesses who were new to cloud anything, it was too big a leap.

Fast forward to 2018 and it’s a completely different ball game. Xero now has over 600 add-on partners who have grown with the company.

Cloud apps are more sophisticated and offer better integrations, making them competitive alternatives to legacy desktop software. Being a ‘Modern Practice’ was possible seven years ago, and early adopters benefitted from it, but now it’s track record is proven – practices that innovate see greater growth and efficiency gains.

Introducing Xero HQ

Xero have revived the Modern Practice concept with the introduction of Xero HQ – a live dashboard for your business. Xero HQ brings together your business data not only from Xero, but also from other integrated add-ons, like Spotlight Reporting. Increasingly practices aren’t relying on one single software vendor for their business, and Xero HQ acknowledges this.

Bene ts of the Modern Practice concept

Since its early days Xero have stated that they’ll only ever focus on creating great accounting software. But accountants need more – they need HR, file management, marketing, etc.

This is where the Modern Practice idea comes in. To help businesses choose the best apps for them, Xero have provided an app marketplace where you can filter solutions, plus a recommended stack of apps for Xero HQ.

So, why modernise? Why phase out desktop software that does everything for a suite of light-weight cloud apps that do one thing, but often one thing really well?

Choice – Your practice is different to everyone else’s. Just like the best candy stores, working with cloud apps allows you to pick and mix the tools that meet your specific requirements. Growth – Getting the right tools not only empowers you to work better, but it also frees up your time to focus on your clients. Automation and real-time visibility of your data will allow you to unlock insights in your business that may have been inaccessible before. Attract – Not only can you access and unlock your business data, but you can do it for your clients as well. This allows you to offer future-focused advice and services that go beyond tax compliance.

• Simplify – Apps that work together will streamline your processes, simplifying many tasks. The subscription models for many cloud apps will also simplify your finances, often allowing you to ditch expensive servers and reduce overall IT costs.

• Access – Work doesn’t just take place in an office anymore. It happens on the road, at conferences, with our clients. Cloud apps give you access to your data when you need it and offers greater flexibility around how and where you work.

How UK-based TaxAssist Accountants simplified their practice

Simplicity is what Dave Forrester wanted for his TaxAssist Accountants franchises in Keighley, Ilkley and Bingley in Yorkshire. With an IT set-up that was expensive, complex and increasingly incompatible, Dave knew they needed to make a change.

Dave and the team decided to move to the cloud and implemented software solutions, like Xero, Office 365 and SuiteFiles.

“The cloud simplifies our operations and Saas (Software-as- a-service) gives us a clear monthly cost.”

Not only have TaxAssist saved money by removing their aging server and reduced their IT costs, but they’ve also seen marked improvements in productivity and Xero HQ apps presented at Xerocon London 2017 the elimination of paper from their three offices. Now Dave’s team can collaborate more effectively and keep track of key data.

Read TaxAssist’s full case study at www.suitefiles.com/customers.

What next?

The Modern Practice is great in theory, but how do you go about finding the right apps and take steps towards transforming your business? Here are 4 tips:

1. Do a business audit – Where are the gaps and opportunities in your business? Is there an area that you need particular help in, maybe in financial reporting?

2. Plan your priorities – Know what’s on your list of ‘must-haves’ when looking for software solutions. Base this list on tasks that you find painful and are a priority, rather than on features that you think you need to have.

3. Do your research – Xero have made research easier with their app add-on marketplace. Also venture out to talk to other businesses, read case studies and ask for references from software providers.

4. Talk to a cloud integrator – Cloud integrators specialise in implementing software solutions and integrating apps. They’re great people to talk to about the best way to choose apps for your business.

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About the author

Kim Anderson

Kim is a passionate Jane-of-all- trades marketer who fell into software a bit by accident after trying her hand at design and teaching high school English. She’s one of SuiteFiles’ first employees and loves learning about how businesses tick. Her goal is to make file management less boring.