How we helped one of our long-standing clients, Wiseworld Enterprises Ltd, make a successful switch to using Xero.
Wiseworld Enterprises Ltd has been a client for over 30 years and runs a point of sale installation and logistics business with turnovers around the £2m per annum mark and also has a fifty percent shareholding on an import textiles business. They’ve been using a traditional manual ledger system for the past 30 years or so, which I must say had actually been kept to a very high standard and had served them well.
Of course, we had mentioned computerizing several times over the past 10 years but their books were in good order and I’m not in the business of creating extra work for people unless it’s absolutely necessary, which to just prepare their year-end figures it wasn’t essential.
However, with the advent of MTD for VAT looming they had read our warnings and listened to what we said and agreed to have faith in our judgment and agreed to let us implement Xero, in both businesses.
The bookkeeping duties have always been handled Sharon, one of the Directors, who as I said is an excellent bookkeeper and her fellow Director and husband, Richard had always used a balance sheet movements technique for estimating his profits using the information contained in the manual ledgers, which actually always got him pretty close to our figures.
So, we knew we had our work cut out to make sure implementation, training and catch-up process went smoothly otherwise we’d lose their faith for not one but two systems, so a lot of business was at stake for us.
With two companies and switching from a manual books system to computer for the first time we knew this was one of those instances when we could not be certain how long this process would take due to;
- the size of the step up from a manual system rather than a conversion from say, Sage,
- the speed at which Sharon would learn Xero
- the amount of opening balance information and the 4 months catch up data that needed posting as we were now in July and
- the ongoing need to maintain the existing system whilst the implementation was in progress.
The above factors could have caused us major problems and we’d have been left with the proverbial egg on our faces resulting in a totally dissatisfied client but what I did know is that Sharon’s bookkeeping knowledge was second to none and that if we managed the process tightly we’d be ok.
The whole process took several weeks, from start to finish, but that was needed as we had to control the process so that any glitches along the way were efficiently ironed out before they manifested into a problem.
Business Type:Retail & Logistics
Based near Loughborough, Wiseworld Enterprises Ltd has been a client at Marlow Proactive for over 30 years. Wiseworld runs a point of sale installation and logistics business with turnovers around the £2m per annum mark and also has a 50% shareholding on an import textiles business.
The Steps We Took...
Setting up the chart of accounts structure in Xero – this was no great challenge as we knew the companies accounts from old but we did offer to add additional expense codes so the directors could track costs monthly and manage these tighter.
This can be the long-winded part - loading the opening balances. Because there were two companies and we didn’t want the current transactions to build up into a backlog we actually helped load the balances with Sharon so that she could quickly get to a starting position of day one of the current trading year.
Then what was needed was to bring the transactions since 1st April up to date which meant Sharon had to post every one of the last 4 months sale, purchases and bank transactions which as you can imagine was quite laborious but necessary and good training for her to see how the system all tied together. with Sharon using the catch-up posting of the last 4 months transactions as the training process.
Because the system was online this enabled us to monitor Sharon’s progress and give guidance along the way. At times Sharon found the catch-up work quite daunting but stuck to the task and learnt the system well and once the ‘penny dropped’ as to how the software mimicked the manual system she knew so well everything clicked into place and she had much more faith in the system.
The next step came when the benefits of the digital technology started to make a difference to Sharon’s daily tasks, such as emailing invoices and the ability to check when customers had actually viewed them, she could see why we had recommended the Xero system because of these intelligent features.
Now that the separate manual ledgers have been replaced with an integrated nominal ledger we can produce monthly management accounts after a quick remote online review of Sharon’s work. So the operations directors of both companies now have 24/7 access to their transactions and don’t have to wait for answers to their queries as before.
After three months we had our first official review meeting to show how the powerful reporting system can produce reports and insights on a myriad of business matters. Up to that point, the directors thought this was all about bookkeeping and VAT but now they have realized the benefits of having access to information and not just data.
Richard recently rang me to thank me for pushing them to implement the system as he realized it would provide us all with real-time information to help them make better decisions essential to support the ongoing growth of both businesses.