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Fish and chip client breaks old habits with Dext and Xero
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Migration tales: The little chip shop that could


Following Rebecca Benneyworth’s story about her switch to online accounting, Riaz Kala begins a new series of tales from the digital trenches.

4th Nov 2021
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When we first began migrating our remaining non-cloud based clients, we reviewed the list and discussed the potential positives and negatives of migrating each one. The list was split between three managers. One manager looked after the bulk of the non-cloud clients and they are the source of this tale.

The manager initially warned me that one particular client, a fish and chip shop, didn’t have Excel or even a laptop. I was startled by this revelation, but as they had an email address we had what we needed to get started. We sent the link to our cloud migration landing page and started the conversation on how great cloud really is.

Since they had recently completed their bookkeeping, they were less than willing to redo it.

The records came in as normal – they consisted of a cashbook accompanied by a bag of stapled receipts. We decided internally to process the bills via Dext. As the client didn’t have a bank account, we used a cash account in Xero to mark the payments and photographed the takings to process them through Dext, adding dates and figures manually.

After this step we found that Xero hadn’t matched with the cashbook and we needed to understand why.

In the past, we spent time typing up invoices in Excel to process the fish and chip shops records. By using Dext, we could process the invoices and then use Xero for the reporting to ensure accurate records and save time. Eventually, we found expenses that had not been included in the cashbook which would ultimately save the client money.

When we told them the results, the owners were delighted that we had found missing expenses. They were also pleased their invoices were now stored in the cloud because they could now shred heaps of paperwork. The clients did in fact own a laptop but did not have Excel. Ultimately this didn’t matter as Xero and Dext are both in the cloud, requiring only a laptop and an internet connection.

Building on this initial success, we moved the conversation on about Xero and Dext did away with the need to prepare a cashbook. We showed them their Xero records, with the expenses uploaded. Having seen the benefits, they agreed to give it a go.

We set a follow-up date in three months to check their progress and to advise about any problems they were having. That gave them the confidence to start sending us their records digitally. From then on, we only needed to look in Xero and no longer had to worry about cashbooks and unsightly carrier bags of receipts.

These are the people we are looking to help, saving them time each month and giving them full visibility over their business by getting them started on their cloud accounting journey.


Riaz Kala will be speaking more about the realities of the automated practice at AccountingWEB Live Expo in Coventry in December. 

Replies (5)

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By Hugo Fair
04th Nov 2021 13:49

I notice that MTD wasn't mentioned anywhere in the article ... presumably deliberately because that would throw into stark relief the difference between selecting a client and encouraging them to volunteer for digital records - vs. the mandation imposed by MTD.

I'm very happy for Riaz Kala and his satisfied client ... truly. But it sounds like a lot of time and effort was spent on this one client - so it would be useful to know:
* How much time & effort was invested during the whole discussion/implementation phases?
* What change in costs (for fees and/or software etc) will be experienced by the client from hereon?
* Whether Riaz will be happy to repeat the process for each and every one of his clients?
* What net impact (in change of resources and profits) does Riaz expect between now and 2024?

Thanks (4)
By Roland195
04th Nov 2021 15:58

I doubt a client who somehow operates their business without a bank account would be as thrilled with digital book keeping as the article suggests.

Thanks (2)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
08th Nov 2021 11:59

As above has absolutely nothing at all to do with MTD

This is digitisation of outdated incomplete manual records something many firms have done years ago, nice of you to keep up at the back.

I am surprised a firm like yours would be doing anything other than using digital methods to undertake this client's bookkeeping and should be assess if its quicker to squirt it through Xero or knock it up in excel. Both have their strengths and weakness and depends largely on the staff member doing the crunching.

Remember we do this stuff for a day job.

Filing this quarterly with the risk of fines for non-compliance is going to help this client in what way?

Thanks (0)
By Michael Beaver
09th Nov 2021 14:16

When you have the time and patience to do this for one or a few clients it's always very satisfying. As we have done in the past.

Although with MTD coming up, I don't know how we can do this for 300+ clients with the staff that we have. The alternative is to take on more staff and make a loss, or kick some clients to the curb (and good luck to them) to scale down to a level we can manage.

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By Robinson154
17th Nov 2021 05:19

Reminds me of the time my brother pretended to be lost, went to a random persons house and asked for sausages and chips because he was scared and sad. He did in fact receive said sausages and chips.

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