Last night I hosted Xero hour at Xero Denver HQ. In a word, it was tremendous. I saw lots of new faces which excites me because that means more people are interested in changing how they work. I remember when tax season used to make me question why I am an accountant. Long hours (followed by more long hours) left me a shell of a human by 1/31. We have to close the books, send 1099s, W2s, and meet up with our CPA partners who need to grok what happened during the year. I literally worked from sun up to sun down. I remember stopping briefly to grab my son from school who survived on food delivered to us during this treacherous time. I'm glad he saw me work hard, because I think it instilled a strong work ethic in him. However, I think I would rather him see me work smart vs hard.
In 2014, Justin Hobbs and Xero changed tax season and, dare I say, my life forever. One of the biggest pain points I had in working with my clients was getting questions answered, producing financial statements on time, and producing 1099s at the beginning of each year by the rigid IRS deadline. With Quickbooks (shudder) I had no way to collaborate with my clients. Getting Suspense/Ask My Accountant (a holding account for transactions in question) cleared out took forever. Once we got the financials nice and spiffy, we had to struggle to get the 1099s produced and sent out on time. I remember one year I spent all day printing 1099s, stuffing and adding postage to the envelopes and driving to the post office. I think if I could lay out exactly what my hell would look like, it would be suffering through painfully slow internet, drinking lukewarm gas station coffee, and/or manually printing/posting 1099s for my clients. Now all I have to do is connect Xero with Track1099 and what used to take me all day, just takes a few hours. This means we can move on from the necessary, but sooooo boring, task of issuing these reports and get back to the real work.
One of the main points we hit last night was to decide to make your own path. Do you want to be that accountant who works (overly) hard like the rest of your colleagues or do you want to forge your own path and have fun while you are doing it? I'm glad that Justin gave me a call (again and again and again) because if he hadn't I would still be working every second of the day in January (or maybe Jan-Apr). I may have already burned out already, or at least I wouldn't love my work as much. Seriously, one seemingly small change- moving from QB to Xero- has given me more freedom than I thought was possible. Yes, I still work long days during tax season but not nearly as long as some of my competitors. I also don't have to struggle with broken software and my clients are actually more eager to collaborate because it is so easy.
So, if you want to make a change with your accounting practice, maybe its time to look and see what else it out there. Give Justin, or any other Xero, a shout. Also, I would love it if you would join me at the next Xero Hour. I look forward hosting them every month, because I get to connect with awesome people who get it. Here is a link that will get you connected to Xero Hour- and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about what we discussed or want to continue to the conversation.