As a law professional, nothing is as important as your time.
A tool like Clio is making big waves with small firms, because it takes operational tasks and simplifies them so you can spend your time focusing on what truly matters for your firm.
Another task that has to be done, but takes up your all-important time is bookkeeping. Xero, a cloud-based partner of Clio takes the task of bookkeeping and makes it collaborative, efficient and mobile.
Most importantly, Xero saves you time.
The questions then are, when and how do you make a transition into a new accounting software? And is it worth it to make a change?
Outgrowing your current systems
When Wendy Whitt started her own law firm four years ago, her role was simple and her focus was singular: find more clients to serve.
But gradually things changed as the firm kept growing while Whitt’s responsibilities increased and her time available decreased.
With little time to spare and a building demand for her services, Whitt quickly began to outgrow the systems she had in place for her small firm.
And like many law firms (and small businesses), one of her first significant challenges became bookkeeping.
“I felt stuck,” Whitt said about considering her options for bookkeeping. “My business grew quite a bit, and I knew I needed more power from my accounting system than I currently had.”
So Whitt started exploring the world of small business accounting. She started by trying Quickbooks, but found herself “horribly confused” by the system.
Then she asked some of her colleagues for advice, and they recommended she hire a full-time bookkeeper. But even with the growth of her firm, Whitt didn’t feel she could afford the time or the money that would go into hiring a bookkeeper.
She couldn’t afford a full-time bookkeeper, but didn’t have the knowledge or skills to do it herself. She was stuck between “do it yourself” and “done for you.”
Through additional research, Whitt discovered a solution with the potential to solve her dilemma.
She found Xero’s online accounting software, with its collaborative capabilities, and decided to look further into the system.
And while she was intrigued by its user-friendliness and beautiful interface, she still felt stuck, unsure of how she would make the transition into the new software.
This challenge was recently brought home in an illuminating article featured on The Lawyerist, “Why Xero is definitely a little better than Quickbooks.”
The article dives deep into Xero’s accounting software, finally coming to the same conclusion as MacWorld and PC World: Xero is the best accounting software for small business.
“The day-to-day ease of use plus the massive time savings is why we are now a paying customer,” the article said of Xero.
In addition to mentioning Xero’s time-saving capability and beautiful design, the most important component mentioned in the post is Xero’s ability to integrate with a variety of other merchant services and add-on partners.
“What I like best about Xero, however, is the way it integrates with lots of payment systems. If you want to accept credit cards, QuickBooks will only play nice with Intuit’s own payment solutions. For everything else, you are in for a lot of manual accounting. Xero, by contrast, integrates with a long list of payment providers. We use PayPal and Stripe, for example.”
Not a perfect software solution
While he concluded Xero is “definitely a little better than Quickbooks,” the post also mentions challenges in setting up in the system and finding the support necessary from Xero.
“I needed a lot of help getting set up with Xero. I think I’m a competent bookkeeper, but I’m definitely not advanced, so I had a lot of questions about Xero’s different way of handling some things,” the article said. “Unfortunately, there is no way to just call Xero for support. You just have to submit a form and wait (a while) for a response.”
Looking for a partner
The challenges described in this article are exactly what Wendy Whitt feared about making the transition to Xero.
Even though Xero looked like the best possible accounting solution for her firm, she had fears about getting it set up, and adjusting to the learning curve of getting started – all the while still focusing on her actual business!
She still felt stuck. And she wanted help.
“My options were do more work myself that I didn’t like and didn’t understand or find a bookkeeper that I couldn’t afford,” she said.
“What I really wanted is a partnership where we could grow together. I wanted to work with someone who could help me make a smooth transition into the new accounting system, who eventually could develop into that full-time bookkeeper role.”
Collaborative accounting and bookkeeping
Just as their software connects with hundreds of powerful cloud-based add-ons such as Clio, Xero is also designed for business owners to connect and have regular dialogue with accountants and bookkeepers so they can be confident in their bookkeeping.
Whitt discovered our business, Kahuna Accounting, and immediately made a connection with our collaborative approach.
Kahuna provides businesses with their conversion to Xero, bookkeeping services at whatever level is needed and ongoing support. Our services allowed Whitt to set up with confidence, have some help with bookkeeping, but spend far less than she would have had to in order to hire a full-time bookkeeper.
This collaborative approach turned out to be the perfect fit for her growing practice, providing confidence in her bookkeeping while she turned her attention toward her clients and her firm.
Having a partner to help her start gave her the confidence needed to make the transition and know she had it right. From the time she first contacted Kahuna to the time she was making invoices and getting paid in the system was less than a week.
“The transition has been incredibly easy and seamless,” Whitt said.
Outsource what you can
Whatever your business is, your focus needs to be on what makes you money. If you don’t make money doing accounting, you should look for ways to affordably do less of it.
Entrepreneurship is all about sharing your unique talents and skills with others who are willing to pay for it. And the more time you spend investing where you’re most valuable, the more you will succeed.
But to do that, you have to create the systems to take care of all the other things that have to be done.
Possibly the best explanation of this comes from Michael Gerber’s classic book, The E-Myth. In it he says, “Every small business owner who survives seeks help. And just about everybody tries to find someone to do the books! Because if there’s anything most small business owners hate to do – and therefore ignore – it’s the books.”
Innovative cloud software like Xero and Clio are making it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to focus where they are best, and collaborate with others who can take care of the other pieces of the business.
With the right help and technology, you can take the stress out of building your business and don’t have to fear outgrowing your systems.
“I wanted more than doing it myself. I am tired of Excel. I hate Excel. And I didn’t think I could learn a new system on my own. I barely have enough time to keep up,” Whitt explained, “Kahuna allowed me to get a start with Xero – a great software – and make it work for my business. And as I continue to grow, I look forward to having them take on more of my bookkeeping.”