How Hindsight works
And how to make it part of your and your employees' standard working days
Connect Hindsight to Xero in 3 Steps
With the benefit of Hindsight your practice can begin...
Building a team you can rely on
With Hindsight, everyone knows what they’re doing every day and it allows you to balance workload more fairly between your team. As a result, week by week, your junior staff are picking up more skills and confidence. Your senior staff are working much more with your junior staff and there’s more of a feeling of being a team than ever before. Not only do they enjoy training and interacting with the junior staff but they also know that if their workload experiences an unexpected spike, they can lean on you and the rest of the team for help. Everyone’s got each other’s backs and it feels great – it’s nothing like the cauldron of pressure you’d get at other firms. And for you, the owner, it doesn’t feel like you’re carrying the whole company anymore. All staff are now in touch with clients and clients value the insights and contributions of your staff. It doesn’t feel like they’re being short changed if they don’t speak to you. So how does Hindsight work and how can it achieve all of this?
Accounting is a process...
…and Hindsight automates these processes. The average small accounting firm can have up to 300 clients on their books. Manually logging in and out of each account every day is unrealistic. But not doing creates a major problem for the future. When the big online accounting platforms launched, accountants essentially sub-contracted bookkeeping responsibilities to their clients. However, bookkeeping is complicated. When something happens on Xero that your clients don’t understand, how many of them phone you up for advice? In our experience, only a handful. This means that, over time, the quality of your clients’ financial recordkeeping gets progressively worse. And, because no-one is keeping a daily eye on it, the information on these platforms is often unusable meaning that you and your team have to reconstruct and decipher 1,000s of entries to make sense of it all. Because Hindsight logs in every day, these problems aren’t allowed to mount. Information is nothing without action though and action is where Hindsight comes into its own.
Action this day
When you and your colleagues switch on your computers at the start of the day, you’ll each see your own individual action dashboards. What’s on each dashboard are the tasks and/or clients assigned to you and individual colleagues for that day. The system will highlight certain issues or concerns about each client’s account – we list what they are just below. At that point, you or your colleague can choose to send a template or compose a unique email to your client about the issue or concern. You’ll also be able to see if your colleagues have carried out their assigned tasks. If your client doesn’t do anything about it, the dashboard will continue to remind you or your member of staff. At this point, get your colleague on the phone to speak to them. Explain to them why it’s important to keep their books up to date and let them know that you are there to help them if they get stuck. If your client doesn’t feel capable of doing what you ask them or doesn’t have the time, take this as an opportunity to sell bookkeeping to them – believe us, most of them will go for that instantly. With Hindsight, you know that the information on your clients’ Xero accounts is of the highest quality – quality so high that you can actually save them money on their tax bills. Better still, your clients gain the satisfaction and the peace of mind knowing that you’re watching out for them and that you’re staying in touch with them.
Hindsight on invoicing
You’ll know if a client’s invoice reminders are turned on in Xero. Xero features templates to remind your client’s customers to pay what’s owed before, during, and after the due date. You’ll be able to help your clients manage their cash flow better. Business opportunities
- Too many customers paying your client late? Why not recommend the use of an invoice factorer and earn commission from it?
- A company taking way too long to pay your client? Put them in touch with a respected debt collection agency for a commission.
- Seeing poor credit control standards? Either offer to manage their credit control for a fee or recommend a credit control agency for a fee
Hindsight on reconciliation
If bank reconciliation doesn’t take place regularly and it’s not done correctly, it’s pointless starting on any other tasks. You can’t do management accounts, the VAT return, or start work on the accounts. With the “just in time” accounting system in effect in most firms, there can be hundreds or thousands of unreconciled transactions to sort through in the 6-8 weeks prior to submission deadline they’ve given themselves. With Hindsight, this doesn’t happen. You can set individual limits per client for the number of unreconciled transactions before you or your colleague is alerted (or use the system default). Likewise, you can set an alert based upon the number of bank days since reconciliation. Business opportunity
- Accounting clients find the concept and practice of reconciliation complicated. Offer the services of your bookkeeper to assist your client.
Hindsight on banking and debt
Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, cash flow is reality. However, many clients choose to bury their head in the sand when business isn’t going so well and it seems like they’ll go to every length to avoid checking their bank balance. Hindsight displays the last 13 weeks of bank balances versus the previous 13 weeks to highlight any trends, peaks, or troughs in cash available. You can instruct Hindsight to alert you when the amount of cash drops below or exceeds a certain amount or percentage. Hindsight also keeps an eye on your clients’ credit cards and overdrafts highlighting when they may need to transfer money to clear balances or find alternative sources of cash. Business opportunities
- Coming client cash crunch? If you suspect that a client may have trouble meeting a VAT bill or other demand, earn commission by recommending a suitable commercial finance provider
- Expensive debt? If your client already uses commercial finance but you believe that they would benefit from switching to cheaper products, advise them which products you’d recommend and earn commission from the provider of those products.
Hindsight on day-to-day management
Every accountant has experienced having to complete a VAT return or a client’s accounts with multiple unapproved sales or bills. Either clients’ customers have not been invoiced or clients’ suppliers have not been paid. When this happens, the amount of money sitting in a clients’ bank account may not reflect the true reality of their cash position. For each client, you can either use the default settings or set triggers based upon the number of unapproved items, the value of those items, and the dates of the oldest unapproved transactions. For invoices issued and received, you can set triggers based upon the number of days your client has been waiting for payment or their suppliers have been waiting for payment from them.
Hindsight on client sales
For most of your clients, the average value of the invoices they issue will fit within a fairly narrow band (with a few outliers, of course). Hindsight checks through the month each clients’ average order value. Clients may be unaware that their average order values are falling or rising. If they’re falling, contact the customer and let them know with a mission to identify the underlying issues. If they’re rising, is this a cause for celebration or are there internal mistakes which may lead to customer complaints. Either use the default percentage or set a percentage for an individual client and Hindsight will alert you and your team of significant movements in either direction.
Incorporating Hindsight into your practice
With Hindsight, you can stay on top of every client account automatically without having to manually log into each client’s Xero account and run a series of reports. Hindsight does this all for you. As you move from “just in time accounting” to Hindsight accounting, the workload you and your team face flattens out over the year making for a calmer, more enjoyable workplace and a tighter, more efficient team with much happier staff members. You’ll be working off accurate financial records so you’ll actually find that the amount of work needed for each client substantially reduces from where it is now. You’ll actually get the time back you were promised by Xero. With that time, you can be the type of accountant business owners want – more than a cruncher of numbers – you’ll be a business partner to them on their journey keeping your eyes on them to make sure they’re doing well. And it won’t all be about you anymore. By encouraging your team to interact regularly with clients, your clients will feel like they’ve got their own accounting team rather than an accountant working on their own. And you’ll be able to use the time you save to sell higher-ticket services and do the type of challenging accounting work (with your colleagues) that you find the most satisfying and fulfilling. Welcome to the world of Hindsight.