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Are you a “good Xero accountant”?

Nov 30, 2017

Are you a “good Xero accountant”?

When a prospect is looking for a good Xero accountant, do you fit the bill?

Recently my friend Marion Thomson of XU Academy wrote a blog post advising business owners on “How to find a good Xero accountant – the complete guide”.

It’s an excellent and comprehensive guide – we can even say exhaustive, because Marion herself said when it was posted that she was exhausted, and it felt like it was in draft form forever!

An article like this is the sort of thing that your prospective clients are going to read. How will you measure up? Will they want to get in touch? Will another accountant’s website be more impressive?

Are you a good Xero accountant, or are you simply an accountant who uses Xero?

Marion identified some key elements that she suggests prospects look at when they’re choosing an accountant.

If you’re missing any of these, I strongly recommend that you take action on them. I have personally spoken to many business owners who rejected an accountant – even when they had a personal recommendation – because some of these items weren’t up to scratch.

You can’t afford to miss out on them.

Let’s go through the items that Marion identified, and you can use it as a checklist to see how you measure up.

1. How’s your Xero Advisor Directory listing?

Are you on the Xero advisor directory?

This is not automatic. If you haven’t submitted your listing, get going now. Here’s the Xero help file about it.

Is your ‘About Us’ interesting and different?

You can submit a paragraph about your firm. If yours says, “We are a modern, forward thinking, Xero using accountancy firm that is more than just the numbers” or anything vaguely like that, I’d suggest changing it. Try flicking through a few of them and they all start to look the same after a while – until one of them stands out.

Our clients Saint & Co have specifically mentioned some of their niche areas, including farming, fashion, tourism, and technology. They’ve also mentioned the Lake District and Scotland. Those words leap out to the right person.

You can also add a video, like our friends at Blu Sky. Let your prospects meet you before they even go to your website!

Have you included your team members?

There’s a space to add individual team members and their photographs. This is basically like a mini website which sits on the Xero website. Great for SEO, great for prospects, and great for standing out.

Our clients Farnell Clarke have made the most of this section, adding over 20 team members and their photographs.

2. Do you have a niche, and share content for it?

Having a niche is the single best way to stand out as an accountant – because if you’re scrolling through hundreds of accountancy firm listings (either on Xero or on Google or on social media), they all start to blur together after a while.

But if you’re a dentist, and you stumble across the firm DBS, whose website declares that they “provide accounting exclusively for dental professionals”, you have an instant connection and reason to explore further.

If you then go to the firm’s website and discover that they have relevant blog posts, and downloadable PDF guides, and stories and testimonials all centred on dentists and dentistry, it’s likely you’ll not bother with another firm who doesn’t know anything about your industry.

Marion suggests that business owners “ask Google” (and presumably “ask social” as well), and the more content you share relevant to your niche, the more likely it is that Google will lift you up as the result that your prospect is looking for. Google wants to connect the right people with the right content.

3. Would all your clients say you’re amazing?

Marion suggests that someone searching for an accountant asks other business owners they know and trust. This is automatic for most people – but it’s a good idea to do a client check, and think about what most of your clients would say if someone said, “Hey, I’m looking for an accountant who can help me with….?”

Remember that these days, it’s unlikely for someone to simply ask for “an accountant”. What they want is…

  • An accountant who understands my industry
  • An accountant who uses Xero
  • An accountant who is really good at using Xero and the apps
  • An accountant who can help me get funding for something
  • An accountant who replies to emails, answers phone calls, and seems to care about me as a human being
  • An accountant who will explain things in a way I can understand

When they ask their friends and colleagues, they’re asking with specific direction. Do you fit the bill?

4. How does your website measure up?

I’m always encouraging accountants to continually update your websites. Add fresh, relevant content. Change the home page message. Get new photographs (real ones, of you and your team and your offices).

It’s encouraging that Marion identified many of these items in her list, which I present here as-is:

  • Do you like the look of their website?
  • Is it friendly and fun?
  • Is it corporate (navy blue suits and ties)?
  • Can you easily find information on the actual people you will be working with?
  • Do they have a section explaining the benefits of cloud accounting and Xero?
  • Is their blog kept up to date and are the posts helpful?

If you’re missing out on any of these, you’ll want to address them. Get some help from us at PF, or join a training programme so you can learn how to do it yourself.

5. Are you present and relevant on social media?

The final item mentioned is whether you post regularly on social media.

By now most of you have recognised that social media is practically a full time job. You need to come up with engaging, interesting content, share it regularly, add custom images and GIFs, run live videos, respond to posts, make comments, engage with people….

As one firm owner said to me at a social media workshop in London, “How will I have time to do any client work?”

If your concern is that you won’t get any client work done, you’re looking at social media all wrong.

It may be part of a full time job for your marketing manager, or depending on the size of your firm you may want to hire a full time social media manager.

But even better would be you, and your team members, and the whole firm being on social media so that it’s relevant and interesting and human.

Being present alone is not enough.

Start with some free social media training from us at PF, and begin thinking about how to involve your entire team.

6. Are you actually good at Xero and the apps?

This is the most important item.

You can update your Xero Advisor Listing, generate content for a niche, make sure your service levels are spot on, update your website, and start posting regularly on social media….but if you’re not actually that good at Xero, it will be instantly obvious to the business owner.

There are many accountancy firms who have a lot of clients “on Xero”. It’s a good idea to ask yourself (and your team) what that actually means:

  • What percentage of your clients are on Xero?
  • Do they know they’re on Xero? (Some firms put their clients on Xero, but the client has no idea what it is or how to log in)
  • Do they actually use Xero themselves? (Log in, navigate it, review reports, etc)
  • Do you provide regular training to help them use it better?
  • Are you familiar with the Xero apps – particularly the latest and best ones?
  • Have you selected industry-specific Xero apps that you can recommend to your clients?
  • Do you provide training for how to integrate the Xero apps, and use them consistently?
  • Are all – or at least most – of your team members Xero certified?
  • Have your team members been to Xero events? (Xerocon, roadshows, trainings, workshops)

All the great marketing in the world won’t make you and your team great Xero accountants….and conversely, if you’re already great at Xero, no one will know about it if you’re not addressing your marketing!

Have a great Friday!