The cloud has given accounting firms a major opportunity to automate their accounting practices. However, many firms are yet to realise it can also improve the efficiency of administering their office and delivering services to their clients.

In his report How to run a Highly Automated Xero firm, Digital First editor Sholto MacPherson used our model as an example of automating an accounting practice to highlight ways a practice can be made more efficient.

But while Sholto focused on some of the accounting aspects, we’ve also used automation to respond to our clients more quickly and reduce the amount of manual administration.

For example, we automatically linked our web site into Xero Practice Manager (XPM), and then developed programs that generated reports, letters and even passwords automatically, depending on what service the client needs.

Programs such as Practice Ignition and Receipt Bank offer huge time savings in specific areas. But the key to automation is linking these programs to create an automated office platform that eliminates both unproductive time and the risk of human error.

Here are just some of the ways we’ve automated our practice:

  • When clients upload documents and information to our web site they get saved directly into the client files and then creates jobs/tasks and sends notification emails to our staff.
  •  Clients can generate and accept their own proposals online which, when accepted:
    • creates new clients in XPM
    • generates a welcome letter
    • creates the jobs for that client in XPM
    • sends a notification email for our team to start the onboarding process.
  • We created our own collaboration tool to display client notes for any opened Xero file. It lets us create and email queries within the Xero screen without needing to enter other screens or programs.

These benefits are on top of those we get from using Xero with Receipt Bank and the other add-ons available. And all these time savings quickly add up to become major efficiencies.