The value of a great onboarding process

24 July 2017

When you start working with a new accountant, it’s important that you get up and running as quickly as possible – any delays and issues can be costly, so it’s vital to work with a new firm that makes the switch easy to complete. A clear onboarding process is key to this, helping you and your business move to a new adviser with as little hassle as possible.

Once you’ve signed up and engagement letters have been completed, the real process of getting you on board with your new accountant starts. That means switching systems, transferring data and learning new ways to manage your finances.

But how does this happen? How do you transition from being a ‘new client’ to a business that’s ready to work in depth with your adviser and take the next steps in the business journey?

Let’s look at how FD Works onboard clients and give them the experience they’re after.

Onboarding as a two-way process

The difference between us and a more traditional practice is that our onboarding is as much about listening to YOUR needs as it is setting expectations of our working practices.

We talk to you, we listen and we work with the business to find what your ideal Xero online accounting system looks like. Then we’ll give you the advice, support, training and deeper education you need around two key things:

  • What needs to be done to get your Xero accounts ready.
  • The practical elements of how we’ll get this done and dusted.

That’s what differentiates us from other accountants. We speak to a lot of people who’ve got frustrated with their accountant because they come out with accounting jargon that business owners just don’t understand. You end up just nodding your head and coming away thinking ‘I didn’t understand any of that…’.

We don’t want to blind you with accounting science. We want you to be confident and comfortable using Xero, working with our team and getting the results you need.

Getting your accounts ready in Xero

With onboarding, we’re essentially looking to get your accounts into a workable state – and you’d be amazed how many accounts we pick up that are in a shambolic state. We’ll get accounts that are incomplete or where year-end adjustments haven’t been posted etc. – and that means the business owner’s not looking at the right figures.

  1. Our first job is to make that your Xero accounts are correct, if you’re a Xero user.
  2. If you’re not on Xero, we need to switch you over from your old accounts software.
  3. Then we need to tidy up the numbers if your old accounts were in a mess.

If, for example, you were using an old Sage desktop system , we’ll get your accounts converted to Xero and will then review the numbers. What we’re doing is making sure all the accounts and figures make sense and that we’ve got a level playing field to start with.

Customising Xero to your needs

The next step is sitting down with you to customise Xero to the exact needs of your business. Xero is great ‘straight out of the box’ but it’s even more powerful when it’s been tailored to the requirements of the company.

  • If you’re doing your own bookkeeping, we’ll make it as simple for you as possible – that could include setting you up with the Receipt Bank app and providing automated bookkeeping that links direct to Xero.
  • If you’ve outsourced your bookkeeping to us, we’ll outline the deadlines for sending data and explain how Receipt Bank will make that process as fast and efficient as possible. We’ll also show you the reporting side of Receipt Bank so you can check on the status of your expenses, costs and bills.
  • If you have directors or employees doing a lot of business mileage, we’ll also set up the Tripcatcher app, so your team can record and submit travel expenses from their mobiles.

With this done, you’re then on the right platform (Xero), you’ve got the right data and you know your accounts are going to tell you exactly the information you need as a business owner.

It’s this real-time view of your Xero accounts that provides such an accurate view of how the business is performing. Having an up-to-date view of costs, revenue and cash flow keeps you informed and helps you make the right decisions for the company.

Acting as your tax agent with HMRC

With your accounts set up and Xero tailored, the next thing is to get us set up as your tax agent with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). We’ll be dealing with HMRC to submit all your tax returns for the business, and to make sure you’re paying the tax you’re due at the right times.

To do this, we’ll ask you to fill out form 64-8 so we can take over all the administration and submission of your tax returns. Once we’re set up as your agent, all the heavy lifting of sorting out your tax affairs can be done by our team – reducing your workload and giving you back time to focus on the more pressing areas of the business.

Giving you the Xero training you need

An accounts system can only add true value when you – the business owner and team – know how to use your finance system with real speed and clarity. And that’s why training and education are such a big part of our onboarding cycle.

We don’t just implement your Xero system and then leave you to it. We’ll find out:

  • Who in your team will be using Xero
  • What access they will need to the accounts
  • What roles people will be carrying out (data entry or reading management accounts etc.)
  • Where training is most needed to get you up and running.

We can come to your offices for face-to-face training, or we can carry out training sessions via Skype and screen-sharing. What’s important is that we get YOU driving the Xero system and getting as much hands-on experience as possible. You learn so much more by carrying out tasks using your own numbers, and seeing real results come out of the reporting.

We’ll also highlight some of the key numbers to keep an eye on – whether it’s monthly cash flow levels, your profit margins or whether there’s enough in your tax account to cover your quarterly VAT payments to HMRC.

Being confident with your accounting

Getting to a place where you’re totally comfortable with using Xero, and getting the numbers you need, won’t be an instantaneous process. In our experience, most businesses will take a month or two to get fully up to speed and ticking along nicely.

But we also see the huge difference in our clients when they become confident in using Xero. When you understand your accounts, and can get the overview you need of the current health of the business, that can be a real gamechanger – have a look at our Case Study page to see how clients have benefited from the way we use Xero.

And if you’re stuck, or you have a Xero query you need to ask, we’re always here at the end of the phone or via email. That support and Xero expertise is what makes the difference – we’ll help you get the best possible value from your accounts.

That means:

  • A bookkeeping and accounting process that’s fast, simple and effective
  • All your tax and compliance taken care of as standard
  • Xero reporting that shows you the key numbers and metrics that matter for you
  • Education and training to improve your use of Xero, Receipt Bank and Tripcatcher

When you work with us, we’ll put onboarding right at the centre of your initial services – meaning you get more from your accounts, now, in the short term and in the future.

Who are FD Works?

Our team of accountants, business advisors and Xero specialists are in Bristol and Bath. Our team of experts provide clients across different sectors with hands-on financial support and FD-level strategic advice. 

Switch to FD Works and Xero

Looking for an accountant who’ll switch you to Xero with minimal hassle? Come and talk to us.

Find out more about our Advisor package