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Community > Small Business >

Choosing a Xero Accountant

Started by Fergus Macdonald -   in Small Business

We're about to move to a new accountancy firm and I'm wondering whether anyone has any recommendations of accountants, and also some pointers on what to look for in a good Xero accountant?

We're UK based and require most of the basics - CT return, statutory accounts, VAT, payroll and some Xero setup and ongoing support/advice for specific issues.
Hi Fergus
If you have a look at www.xero.com (ensure that you select your country - the option for this is right down the bottom of the page, right hand side), you will then see a "Find Advisors" link. Click on this and then search the accounting partners that are listed.

As with anything, there are partners, and their are partners, and I would suggest that you make contact with a couple of them and ensure that you can find a best fit for you and your business requirements.

Cassandra Scott  

Hi Cassandra,

Thanks for getting back to me. I have looked through the list and selected a couple of options - it's a great feature that Xero has that list.

However, I was wondering if anyone had any tips on what makes a good Xero accountant or which ones on the list are recommended?


Fergus Macdonald  

The list shows certified partners, all of whom must have passed the Xero certified adviser test to become a partner therefore should all be good Xero accountants.
I would suggest you write a list of what you feel is important to you and contact some of the accountants that you think meet your requirements. If you have some specific issues then choose accountants that can help with them - most accountants have particular areas they specialise in.

Rebecca Taylor  

I recommend interviewing more than one accountant. Are they familiar with your industry? Make a list of your needs/expectations and discuss them with the accountants you interview. Choose the accountant you would feel most comfortable working with. Good luck!

Jody Seibert  

One thing to ask them - do they use Xero to produce accounts, or do they download to their own systems and produce final accounts in another system?

I was surprised, and not that happy, to find that rather than having the report saved in Xero, my accountant downloaded and used their own systems, and I only got accounts in hard copy.

Also check that they e-mail invoices and copies of reports - another irritant to me has been getting everything in hard copy, which I then have to scan and archive rather than an e-mailed invoice.


Rachel Prosser  

I'm an accountant and I would suggest that if your prospective accountant has ticked the box of being a Xero user then your choice should be about:

1. Do you like them?
2. Do they return your calls/emails promptly?
3. What fee will they charge? Is it fixed?
4. Are they a member of a professional body? Anyone can refer to themselves as an accountant.
5. What experience do they have of your industry?

I wouldn't let the technology blur your decision. Using Xero won't make a bad accountant a good one!

Jonathan Ford  

Hi Fergus,

I am running a multi-channel e-commerce site and have started using Xero and specialist Xero accountants. Get in touch if you would like to discuss.


Campbell Smith  

+1 to Rachel Prosser. It is crazy that we get hard copies of reports and that they are not Xero native. To me that means that they are not being efficient and still don't 'get' working in the cloud.

And as per the others - Make sure you contact a couple of them and have a chat. See if they deal with other customers like yourself and that you feel comfortable with them.

Glen Barnes  

All good advice - thanks, it's much appreciated.

Fergus Macdonald  

As a UK accountancy practice and Xero Certified, can I just clarify a couple of the above points.
Most UK accountants will use systems such as IRIS, Digita or Tax Calc to actually produce your accounts and tax return. At present Xero is not an Accounts Production Software for accountants but a brilliant book-keeping system, from which we can pull the relevant data into our compliance software.
Of course, you could produce some basic annual accounts (which we have done for smaller entities), but where clients are Ltd companies or larger sole traders it is necessary for us to 'tick all the boxes' and use our expensive IRIS, Digita systems.

Finally as Jonathan, the key issues in appointing an accountant are:

1. Do you like them
2. Can you contact them easily
3. How do they charge
4. Are they appropriately qualified (can be by professional body or experience)
5. Do they have specific experience of your industry (not a major point but always useful).

Good luck.

Richard Adams  

I'd like to second Richard Adams' point. Xero is a brilliant accounting package, but it is not (yet) designed for nor capable of final accounts production . Any accountant will prepare your accounts in software designed for that purpose.

Brian Hegarty  

An interesting and important point I suspect. Thanks.

Also a month down the road I think the other points that Richard mentions are also important. Things go much more smoothly if you enjoy working with people.

Fergus Macdonald