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Tips to Help You Choose a Xero Accountant for your Small Business

Tips to Help You Choose a Xero Accountant for your Small Business

As a small business owner, you may have started off doing your own bookkeeping or getting some help within the family. Logging receipts, summarising bank statements, Google sheets/Excel………….you may have dipped your toe into cloud accounting with Xero.

There comes a time when you know it is time to handover the financial processing to an expert. Someone who knows this stuff inside out, who will get in done accurately and much quicker than you.

It does feel like a big decision to hire an accountant for your small business. The right time to do this after start-up is usually when the business becomes VAT registered, so turnover of £90k +.

In terms of choosing a firm to work with, how do you know if you’re getting value if you haven’t worked with an accounting firm before? Here are a few valuable tips for #smallbusinessowners if you are looking for a firm who can use #Xero for your financial processes:

Xero Certified

Make sure the firm are #XeroCertified. This helps you know that the team looking after your financials have some knowledge and experience using the platform.

Partner Levels

It doesn’t matter so much what level of partner the firm advertises (i.e. bronze, silver, gold etc). All this tells you is how many licences the firm has bought from Xero, and a chunk of these might be empty! Partner levels are more of a marketing gimmick than a sign of expertise. What is more important is the firm’s time as a Xero Partner and their ongoing usage.

Time Since Started Using Xero

A better measure of a firm’s Xero credentials is how long they are using Xero. You can easily find this information on the Xero Partner Directory.

Usage of Xero

Now comes the most important indicator – how often do the firm use Xero for their existing customers. You should ask this question directly and find a few key indicators, such as:

(1) How many clients/customers does the firm have on Xero?

(2) What percentage of their customers does the firm service using Xero?

(3) How often does the firm use Xero for these customers? i.e. just once a year, monthly, weekly, daily?

(4) What other tech and apps does the firm use regularly to serve its clients/customers?

Useful Comparisons

Some firms use Xero with their existing clients but they do so less frequently. Whilst the basics will be known, there are intricate features within Xero itself that take more frequent usage to get to grips with. If a firm isn’t using Xero daily/weekly, it may not be best placed to serve your small business financial process needs to get data processed quickly AND in an automated fashion. With data, getting things done efficiently leads to more timely information and better quality reports.

Take a firm who is a silver partner for 10 years plus, and who have 95% of their clients on Xero, and they do daily and weekly bookkeeping for their customers on Xero – i.e. they live and breathe Xero. Compare this to a firm who are platinum partners for 1 year, who have 50% of their clients on Xero but they only use Xero to produce year-end figures for their customers. Which firm do YOU think would be best placed to automate your financial processes and get maximum value from the tech you need?

A Key Indicator: How Your Year End is Done using Xero

This one is a little more technical, but it’s a key sign of how “expert” a firm really is on Xero and cloud accounting in general. When it comes to your year-end, keep in mind that the figures on Xero MUST match what gets filed at Companies House. Also, the details on your Xero ledger should match AT TRANSACTIONAL LEVEL. Too many firms still operate in a more traditional accounting approach, which involves posting “year end journals”………….even worse, some take reports out of Xero, make the necessary changes to your figures and DON’T UPDATE YOUR XERO DATA! This is pretty much diabolical and must be avoided at all costs. The only way to get accurate reports from Xero is KNOWING your year-end balances are in line with signed accounts!


Choosing an accounting firm for your small business is important, so hopefully the tips above give you a useful guide to refer to. It goes without saying that cost is still a factor, but understand that working with experts is a much better longer-term investment for your small business in terms of building a meaningful and professional relationship with you and your team.

Keep in mind this useful little analogy – GOOD, FAST and CHEAP. You can have two but never all three!

GOOD and CHEAP will never be FAST. GOOD and FAST will never be cheap. FAST and CHEAP will never be GOOD.

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