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So, the time has arrived, apparently, whereby I need to start implementing software akin to the aforementioned title.

Ignoring all of the marketing hype, set by Xero HQ - How does this is all add up, in terms of running a small practice?

1) Xero isn't as cheap as VT - If you've really small clients, how are you factoring in the price of the cloud? Are you switching real terms cash, for time savings?

2) I collect / drop off - or 'tother' way around - paperwork, invoices etc. Is there a need to still do this with Xero? Or is a scanner and a iphone camera enough? I've probably completely misinterpreted the myriad of pretty videos I have seen.

3) If point two is in anyway factually correct - VAT, we all know how important VAT invoices are, these are still checked by yourselves, even if the client enters them into the software? Again, think I'm missing a trick there.

4) Bank feeds - Yep, definitely see an advantage there.

5) Workpapers - I know what working papers / schedules are in yesterdays terms. Xero offers workpapers, do they do as they say? Or am I still using the tried, tested, and loved Excel?

Thank you


  • burgburg Experienced Mentor GloucesterModerator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    We have been using Cloud software for some time now (2 or 3 years maybe). One of the major factors was the cost V the time benefit. We chose Clearbooks as when you take into account the accountants discount the prices work much better in my opinion.

    1 - Still use VT for the majority. Give Clearbooks cashbook free to contractors as avoids the normal questions i.e. how much VAT / tax do I owe and how much can I take as dividends. Have moved larger businesses without other software over to Clearbooks. Will continue to do so.

    2 - Try to encourage those clients to adopt paperless. We are a paperless practice so it helps us.

    3 - Client is taking responsibility for the bookkeeping. Most of these we did not do bookkeeping for before anyway. We check the entries for higher risk transactions and check those.

    4 - The whole point. If they cannot do bank imports then we advise the cloud probably isn't for them.

    5 - We still do them on Excel. Not a huge fan of Xero and think it may just be an unneccessary add on.

    We do have a few clients using others such as Kashflow, Xero, Accounts Portal, Quickbooks online, Sage One but frankly cost V features Clearbooks in my opinion is by far the best.

  • MarieNoelleMarieNoelle Trusted Regular Hampshire/Surrey borderModerator, MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,431
    There is an interesting discussion on Xero (and price increase) here

  • burgburg Experienced Mentor GloucesterModerator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    @MarieNoelle - Thanks. Had missed that one. Was quite useful as if you look back a few years ago, accountants were raving about Xero.

  • Gem7321Gem7321 Experienced Mentor DevonMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,438
    I partnered with Xero on Friday - then received the email about the price increases!

    I wasn't bowled over when I did the certification course so I am still keeping my eyes open for alternatives. I think I'll be having a look at ClearBooks - thanks @burg
  • burgburg Experienced Mentor GloucesterModerator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    @Gem7321 - happy to have a chat at somepoint about hwo we use Clearbooks and how it may be useful. I'm busy all this week due to staff sickness but should be around next week.

  • Gem7321Gem7321 Experienced Mentor DevonMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,438
    Sounds good, thanks very much :) I'm free on Thursday or Friday next week. Will PM you some details.
  • south59south59 Registered Posts: 22
    edited April 2016
    Thanks for the replies.

    Pricing is a interesting point.

    Come nearer the time of mandatory digital filing, as per hmrc requirements - I do fear prices will rise to uncomfortable levels. Considering margins are tight as things stand.

    The larger clients will find it easier to absorb, the smaller client however.

    Once factored in with small clients who either; don't want to do their own bookkeeping, together with those who can't / unable do so, prices will of course not only rise with RPI for instance, but rocket.

    It's an absolute marketing masterclass from the cloud providers - partner up with accountants, get them to get the product out there - leaving them to pull all the strings.
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071
    Accounts Portal is ok but you get what you pay for: it's basic and the bank rec is clunky. Some other features are annoying. But it works.

    I love Xero but it's very expensive. I thought the working papers are only available to practices with Silver status or above (i.e. you have more than x clients on Xero).

    I've used Clearbooks but didn't like it.

    I love VT but obviosly it doesn't have the cloud and bank import thing going for it. But if you use VT final accounts then it's amazingly quick to turn a set of books into a set of accounts.

    I despise Kashflow with the heat of a thousand suns.

    Back to the original question I wouldn't pay for Xero for all my clients, it's not needed. None of us know how exactly MTD is going to work yet so I wouldn't make any rash changes.
  • stevo5678stevo5678 Well-Known Cheltenham Registered Posts: 325
    I get Ian's reasons cost wise and for contractors adopting clear books but am with monsoon in that I much prefer using Xero as its cash coding function (amongst other things) is way more practical than any of the other cloud software providers in my humble opinion. Xero partner fees start from £6 pm for the bank feed version.

    We also do bookkeeping for our contractor clients as it is very minimal on a quarterly or annual basis. Our trainee does this on spreadsheets as it's easier to review her work this way.

    Ps Xero working papers looks awful and they are clearly trying to tie firms in.
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