We have seen no end of social media posts lately about how hard it has been to sell the cost of the Xero subscription to your client base and also how tough it is out there to keep and increase your bookkeeping revenue. So we thought it might be time to share our experience with you as we have had consistent growth over the last year and even though we are a practice of four we are making good progress towards Xero Gold status. Don’t focus on the cost of the Xero Subscription, focus on the benefits this product can offer your client. Your enthusiasm and expertise will outweigh any client cost reservations every time.
Here are our top tips for growing your Xero bookkeeping and accounting practice:
Accept that clients will want to bookkeep themselves. Embrace that, and support them.
On a recent social media post, the senior management of Xero mentioned that 70% of small business do their bookkeeping themselves. Sure, this isn’t ideal. And of course these small business owners will make mistakes along the way. However, there is a real niche here for your practice to be part of this 70% which is a huge, untapped client base. We position ourselves as bookkeeping coaches and provide a safe harbour for the client to check in once a quarter to get feedback and learn how to fix mistakes they have made. Along the way, we pick up no end of extra work in BAS preparation, fixing problems in the Xero file, and value add services such as extra training and tax.
You just need to train and support the client, the rest of the work will find you!
Work on your website – in the short term it will be the main source of your incoming work
In the early years, your website will be your primary source of incoming work. This asset will be more valuable than any other. Invest both time and money in that. Try and find a search query term that is not competitive and build on that. There is no question that Xero Accountant and Xero Bookkeeper will be really hard words to come up on page one of a search engine. So what search term could go to the top of the search rankings quickly? Figure this out and you will be well on your way to success. Can you figure out the search term CloudCounting uses?
Find a partner that will help you distinguish your website. We built our website in Word Press, and did about 80% of the creation and content. Then, we found a Word Press partner to do the remaining 20% and this made all the difference. We constantly get feedback about our website and how it really ‘resonates’ with clients.
Longer term, referrals will become the main source of new work. Delighted clients will spread the word about their positive experience and their small business friends will make contact. Clients love Xero. They will talk about this and mention your services.
Immerse yourself in all things Xero
Many of you are already doing a great job with this. The first thing we did is made a significant investment in XeroCon in August of last year. Then, we went on a mission to figure out the celebrities of the Xero world and started to engage with them. I remember being on the plane to Melbourne and seeing Gillian Rosseaux walk by. Once landed, I found her at the baggage carousel, and twenty minutes later was in a taxi with Gillian and Lisa Martin. I was so excited! I also love talking and spending time with Heather Smith. Heather is a speaker and author of Xero for Dummies and hosts a monthly Xero Mastermind Group here in Brisbane and I try not to miss it. We have been so fortunate to work closely with Cassandra Scott from Laurus and have learned so much from her. Melanie Power, head of Xero Bookkeeping recently hosted a Xero catch up in Brisbane and we got to see the new Xero office. And we tweet to Xero people we would love to meet and they tweet back. We love learning from our Xero account manager Justin Campbell. Don’t be proud – reach out – admit you don’t know everything about Xero, ask for help and make some friends! Referrals and work will come from this, we promise you.
Follow social media, podcasts join groups
There are some really amazing ways via social media to learn more about Xero. Facebook groups are our top suggestion. Heather Smith runs a group called Xero Masterminds for those who are well on their way in their Xero Journey. Heather also hosts a fantastic podcast called Cloud Stories. Melanie Power, Head of Xero Bookkeeping hosts two great groups called Official Xero BAS Agent and BK Partners and the Xero Eco-system Community, the amazing Bookkeepers Support Group hosted by Kelly and Jenifar, and finally the Bookkeepers in Practice group facilitated by Cassandra Scott. We have learned so much about bookkeeping, Xero and other products on these groups. Join, participate, and ask questions. You will often see referral opportunities here as well.
We joined Twitter about a year ago and have made many connections here. It is always great to meet a ‘Twitter’ connection in real life. As your followers grow, so will your ability to connect with your colleagues.
Expand your tool kit
Not a BAS Agent? Become one! Thought it wasn’t possible to become a tax agent? Think again! Find your add on solutions and pick your integration partners. You don’t need to be an expert at all things but you do need tools in your kit prior to a Xero conversion. You will be asked by the client about add on solutions, and you must have names of specialists you can refer to if you are not an expert yourself. Pick one or two products to specialize in such as Receipt Bank. You will double your value and increase your revenue stream.
We have spent a lot of time with other tax, financial planning and Xero experts that we have introduced our clients to increase our skill set and have not billed for this time. We consider this free training.
Yes it is a competitive business, and yes, the cost of the Xero subscriptions is a challenge. But we promise you, your business will grow and thrive if you spend your energy on the factors you can control. There has never been a better time to be a bookkeeper and/or an accountant – you have such an opportunity to introduce automation tools to your clients that will be game changing.
Good luck with growing your practice – you’ve got this!
Tracey and the team from CloudCounting
ps we would love for you to follow us on Twitter @CloudCountingAU