The standard accounting model is broken
And no-one is winning anymore. Online bookkeeping platforms like Xero are great but clients don’t really know how to use them. Even so, many of us have gone ahead and sub-contracted bookkeeping responsibility to our clients.
Are we really surprised that, as year/period end approaches, we spend hours & days correcting mistakes on hundreds of accounts? This “just in time” accounting is exhausting and stressful – it never lets up.
“Just in time” accounting means being constantly up to our necks in deadlines and constant queries. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
It’s not like you’re well rewarded for it either. You don’t have enough time to look after clients individually like you want to and, as a result, they’ll leave your practice to save £50 a year with a competitor. At any given time, one third of clients want to leave their accountants because they can’t see the value in what you do and they feel that they’re always having to chase you, not the other way around.
Your staff are probably miserable too. 36% of accountants admitted they were unhappy with their working environment. Accountants rate their career happiness 2.6 out of 5 stars putting them in the bottom 6% of careers.
And what about you? Is this what you imagined? No. I sold my own accountancy practice in 2019 to concentrate on how to fix the structural issues lurking within every practice instead of treating the symptoms – prevention, not cure.
In Hindsight, we would have done things differently.
A day in the life of a Hindsight accounting firm
Before you open the office...
…Hindsight automatically logs into each client’s accounts and downloads the latest information from Xero. Remember that clients can actually see when you or someone from your firm last logged into their Xero accounts. And it’s never a good look when a client discovers that no-one at their accounting firm has logged in to check how they’ve been doing for months. Hindsight insight – have you ever had a client whose turnover has increased to such an extent that they needed to register for VAT? If an accountant isn’t monitoring his/her clients’ activity on a regular basis, s/he misses an important opportunity to demonstrate their value. Hindsight collects and stores the financial information from every client’s Xero account in the morning so you don’t have to.
Surround yourself with all-rounders
As your team comes into the office, there is a sense of purpose because everyone knows what they’re doing that day. That’s because they know exactly what they’re going to be doing. With Hindsight, you can assign certain tasks and/or certain clients to yourself and every member of staff. Start by varying your staff’s working days to keep things interesting. Let them get good at each task and let them develop their skills. In just a short space of time, your people can multi-task better than ever before and you and your team will be able to cope with spikes in workload better than ever before.
Put fire in the belly of junior staff
For recently-qualified accountants and junior staff, giving them responsibility for certain tasks and for certain clients:
- broadens their skill base,
- increases their confidence levels, and
- offers them the opportunity to interact with real life clients.
The three Hindsight goals
We want to make a difference. Together we will make a difference.
Meet the team
When accountants and geeks collide, things get messy (and productive)
I ran my own accounting firm for the best part of a decade and it nearly killed me! Ours is an industry full of talented, fun, caring, and dedicated people whose work, insights, and experiences can make a real difference to our clients. However, the structure of most practices stops us from being the accountant we want to be. We’re not the accountant our clients want us to be either and the staff working for us will only think of us as a man or woman who piles constant pressure on them. It wasn’t meant to be this way so I got out and, together with Mike and the team, spent 18 months developing Hindsight, the system I wish I had at my old place.
Mike Da Silva
I used to car share with Jon on our way to what you may describe as 'traditional' accountancy practice. It is during those shared trips that conversations often turned to tech and accountancy. It's difficult to concentrate on driving when you are that excited! However, it was during our time working together at Smart Team and later at Just Add Tech that we really honed our skills in the cloud accounting space. Going on to help over 250 companies migrate to Xero and integrate many addons from the Xero ecosystem. There was always something missing, a sense that we should and could be doing more with technology. It got to the stage that if you can't buy it then you have to build it. So I got out and, together with Jon and the team, spent 18 months developing Hindsight, the system I know will help make the differences we all want to make.