Cloud accounting – why it pays to train

People have generally learned computerised accounting like this:

  1. Take hard copy commercial documents like invoices, batch them up, check with a calculator, key them into the software, check the batch totals and the day books;
  2. Manually reconcile with the bank statement(s);
  3. Sort out the accruals and pre-payments;
  4. Crank the handles, run the trial balance, check it, post error correcting journals, check it;
  5. Run the management reports;
  6. Audit everything.

Why cloud?

However, in a cloud accounting world, you create the capability to do this online, anytime, anyplace and anywhere.

You have direct bank feeds, so transactions are already in the system, ready to be reconciled.

You have a range of methods available to get additional transactions into the system. For example, by taking a picture of a receipt with your phone. Machine learning reduces the need to check and input codes.

With the work of the accountant ever-changing, Xero certification is a great way to learn more about cloud accounting. If your practice chooses to become a Xero partner, then your staff will have to be certified. This makes sense: if you’re supporting clients in the set up and running of Xero, you will need to know the ins and outs of how to use it.

The benefits of certification

With so many third party apps available,  you have an ecosystem of business solutions that appeal to clients  much more than bookkeeping (a farmer may be more interested in FarmFlo, for example).

You have an assurance dashboard of proactive indicators that give you an up-to-date picture of where the business is.

“We are able to service clients more quickly by having the relevant information at our fingertips,” says Stephen Paul, managing director of cloud firm Valued. “But not just more quickly – we are able to condense the time it takes to provide real added value services as everything is real-time. I would say that this time saving is the equivalent of two full-time members of staff.”

By the time you and your staff are trained in cloud software, you will have a solid understanding of the difference this makes to bookkeeping and accounting tasks and workflow. It’s a step towards understanding the potential cloud accounting can bring to the work you do. That can’t be a bad thing.

Upskilling the team

We have thousands of cases where all staff in a practice get certified; sometimes even the receptionist is trained on all the ins and outs of the platform. It is already a prerequisite for candidates seeking jobs at many partner firms.

“Xero Education and Xero Certification in particular is really important to us,” says Will Farnell, founding partner at Farnell Clarke. “My team achieves some experience of the software and a better appreciation for what cloud accounting is all about before the real thing. Xero Cert has become a mandatory requirement for all new employees.”

Xero and AAT

Previously, Xero Certification has only been available to Xero Partners. For the first time, however, we’re offering the chance to become Xero Certified via AAT.

Certification involves a pack of eLearning courses, which takes about six hours to complete. There are four mandatory courses and four elective courses. It includes real-world simulations on how to setup and run Xero on a day to day basis, as well as  knowledge checks throughout.

By the end of the course, you will be able to set-up Xero, run Xero day to day, review month end and generate all relevant reports. The elective courses cover areas such as inventory, budgeting and fixed assets.

Xero Certification costs £25 excl VAT, with another six hours worth of additional content free of charge. When you have successfully completed the certification, if you start your own Xero partner practice or become employed by one within 12 months, we will transfer your certification to that practice for you.

For more information on Xero Certification courses, go to:https://www.xero.com/uk/training/certification-equivalent-courses/

Mike Day is the director of UK education sector, Xero.

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