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Xero moves into practice management

2nd Apr 2012
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New Zealand Cloud accounting supplier Xero is introducing new web-based tools for practitioners to handle time & fees, billing and CRM.

Xero Practice Manager is based on applications developed by Kiwi software house Max Solutions, which Xero acquired in February. The practice system is already widely used in New Zealand, and has been tested by a small number of firms in the UK, said Xero UK country manager Gary Turner.

“Effective today, Xero partners with a minimum of 20 clients on Xero get it free for life, unlimited users and can get it immediately,” he said.

“The last five years been focused on the client side of accounting, but we have been progressively investing in the practice side, as a significant part of our go-to-market model is through the advocacy of accountants.”

Having given accountants the facilities to improve client service, Xero is turning its attention to helping practices run themselves more effectively, he added.

“This product [Practice Manager] is already in marke and we already have Xero practices using it. It can organise and track jobs and projects, work in progress, time sheets, billing and lead management.”

For the moment Xero is hanging back from developing UK tax software, but is commited to rolling out an accounts production program by the end of the year. The final accounts module will be iXBRL-compatible and also allow practices to build management reporting packs for their clients.

With the exception of Sage most “client side” software developers have stayed on the bookkeeping/small business side of the fence. Turner continued.

“We see the Cloud being able to deliver one common architecture for practice and client. We think that’s very disruptive. And we are happy that the adoption of Xero by clients will underwrite our ability to provide these practice tools to accountants for free,” said Turner.

On the heels of February’s Max Solutions acquisition, Xero recently raised another £18m from investors to fund further expansion. The extra money has helped Xero open a new office in Milton Keynes, where Turner has added 10 new people to his sales and support teams.

“The reason we raised the money is because we’ve seen less well funded competitors struggle to get traction in market. We’re not playing around. We’re going forward with a lot of intent.”


Replies (7)

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By Bob Harper
02nd Apr 2012 16:04

Time is not the future for the profession

Great stuff but is the time and fees model really the future of the profession?

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By justsotax
02nd Apr 2012 16:17

@Bob.....probably not....

....but no doubt many will continue to use this format......

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By Peter Kilvington
02nd Apr 2012 16:29

Time may not be the future

@Bob time may not be the future as a basis for billing.  But having started to use this system it is great for controlling the timing of jobs and what I have to do and when.  Basic stuff maybe but it controls my great weakness of switching from one thing to another without considering up coming deadlines.

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By Bob Harper
02nd Apr 2012 16:36

And my guess is that

@justsotax - over the coming years (as more and more business owners make better use of technology and switch to providers like they will see lower prices and smaller margins.

Now is the time start developing the practice in a new direction with a new business model.

Crunchers Accountants

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By Bob Harper
02nd Apr 2012 16:42


@Peter - how long something takes has nothing to do with what needs to be done when. You don't event need time to understand profitability (especially as people lie anyway).

The key is firms becoming more effective and being able to help their clients improve their bottom line. And, this requires knowledge. 

Crunchers Franchise


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By TimCaprica
02nd Apr 2012 22:50

I started using this last week. I agree with Bob that the timesheet aspect is mostly irrelevant (profitability monitoring aside) as 90% of my work is fixed fee. The workflow aspect is really good though and will help practices that are looking for the scalability of what companies like Crunch aim for.

Btw. I trialed the basic £15pm version of WorkflowMax and the far more expensive Accountancy version and found all the functions I wanted were in the cheap one.

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By TimCaprica
02nd Apr 2012 22:52

If this post is referring to a different version then I haven't tried that .....

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