Xero first flagged its redesign of Xero “Green”, the partner side of the cloud accounting program, a year ago at Xerocon 2015. The initial ideas for Xero HQ focused on two areas; a unified customer list including Xero client files and the partner’s client list in the tax office portal, and an activity feed that showed a list of actions across all client files such as making payroll or reconciling bank accounts.
Xero says “the first iteration” of Xero HQ will be launched in November as part of a revamped partner program and with a broader set of features aimed to cement the app as a management tool for a Xero practice. Xero HQ will direct tasks to staff through custom activity feeds, connect to third-party apps such as CRMs and email marketing tools, manage certification details for staff and control listing details in the partner directory.
There is also a new tab in Xero HQ called Explorer segments clients by the type and number of third-party apps and services, and by the client’s industry. “It’s like a pivot table of your client list,” says Matthew Prouse, Xero’s solutions manager of practice tools.
Xero suggested a number of ways that partners could use this tab.
- Find best industries and optimise operations
Many accountants and bookkeepers don’t collect information such as the type of industry of each client. You may have described yourself as “pretty much across the board”. The reality is that every practice will have one or two industries that are better represented than others.
Xero asks users to enter their industry during file set up and Xero HQ will consolidate this information in the Explorer tab.
Xero partners can focus their staff training on issues that frequently arise in their top client industries to improve the quality of service. They can also spend their marketing dollars more effectively by targeting industry-specific clients with case studies of their existing clients.
- Find apps popular by industry to recommend to clients
Xero partners can segment clients by industry and see which third-party apps and services are the most popular. For example, a search by retail industry may show that the most popular point-of-sale app is Vend.
The Xero partner can use this knowledge in two ways. They can create a list of retail clients that aren’t using a cloud POS app and recommend Vend. This could be done in partnership with a cloud systems integrator who could pay for the referrals.
Or the Xero partner could train staff in the most popular apps for its most popular industries so they can answer technical questions or advise on business processes.
- Find popular services and broker relationships with suppliers
The Explorer tab can sort clients by the banks that supply their bank feeds. If a partner knows that the majority of their clients bank with HSBC they could use it as leverage to better manage relationships with the bank on behalf of clients. The partner could learn more about the bank’s business services and collect referral fees.
For more details of what Xero HQ will look like, this interview with product managers Matthew Prouse and Neill Fraser goes into greater detail.
More to come…