Beautiful Accounting Software
After about 10 years or so of working with clients on all varieties of QuickBooks, I grew tired of watching them struggle with basic transaction recording creating so many errors leaving their internally created financial statements dubious and of little value for management purposes.
To make things worse, clients rarely called us because most staff were untrained in such software based on the obsolete philosophy that CPA's need not be accounting software experts to be expert accountants. This presented a recurring perfect storm of material errors requiring hours of correcting adjustments especially if the client was performing payroll without seeking professional guidance. Such was the case with "DIY accounting solutions" and we CPA's would resign ourselves and our clients to the perennial, unsurmountable log jam during our busiest time of year, tax season, and we would do this year after year. I began looking for alternative accounting software that accomplished five basic criteria:
Enabled collaboration between clients and accountants while maintaining segregation of duties controls;
Cloud based in a highly redundant and secured environment and assessed by an AICPA SOC 2 report;
Facilitated accounting automation to eliminate or significantly reduce the labor intensive data entry;
Provided integrated electronic documentation of transactions;
Supported an open application architecture to provide third-party software vendors freedom to develop specialized tools in a robust marketplace of apps.
Enter Xero: a start-up from New Zealand with U.S. offices in San Francisco and Denver. Xero was one of a new breed of accounting solutions featured at an AICPA Digital CPA Conference that I attended in Denver in December 2015. Other accounting software vendors were noted, specifically Intacct and Sage Online, however sales reps from other third party software providers all told me to check out Xero. The other accounting software providers had their strengths, but I considered their weaknesses too significant: too expensive or too complex for small business, or the vendor lacked a track record of dependable U.S. marketing commitment. I obtained my Xero Advisor certification shortly after I returned from the conference.