How to win more business from a client: A success story about facilitating the transition to outsourced accounting
No Fuss Business is a practice serving small businesses in New Zealand. In addition to bookkeeping and accounting, they provide business development advisory, budgeting/cash flow forecasting as well as app advisory.
Tell us about No Fuss Business, your history and your clients.
We’re a relatively young firm, currently about seven years old, and focus on supporting small businesses from a variety of industries like hospitality, retail or construction: from sole traders to charitable trusts to companies with 10 – 20 employees.
Our story began with bookkeeping and accounting. But as we implemented financial processes, we noticed that our clients needed much more, for instance, capable tools for inventory management, project management, time logging – and reliable business processes. So we decided to extend our services and help them get those issues sorted.
When the Xero apps started arriving, we found a growing demand for them. This led to our decision to introduce app advisory alongside business advisory, coaching, and budgeting/cash flow forecasting services.
Many people ask, what is app advisory? Well, in a nutshell, it’s a service that picks the best-suited apps for a client’s business and then implements them. We also provide training on how they work and demonstrate ways to maximise the benefits.
What are the specifics of working with small businesses?
Our customers might need assistance with their numbers, or they’re growing fast and can’t do everything themselves anymore. Quite often they don’t actually know how to improve things, which is where we come in.
We help them identify their requirements and how to fulfil them. Our ideal client is already in business, and willing to take the steps necessary for further growth and reaching their goals.
Clients usually don’t find it easy to hand over control when transitioning to outsourced accounting and bookkeeping. They want to be involved and see what’s going on – which is where ApprovalMax makes a real difference because it enables shared responsibility with the client.
What do you mean by shared responsibility?
When we take on their bookkeeping, business owners keep the overall control and also the responsibility for their financial processes. ApprovalMax makes them a lot more comfortable with letting us manage their accounts as it ensures that the client always approves invoices first.
This approach also reduces potential confusion and delays when signing off Xero invoices. Without an approval automation system, we must print out everything and have the owner(s) look at the invoices first. Using this traditional method, owners tend to hold on to invoices if they’re unhappy with some detail or have questions. But that’s not all.
Holding back such invoices while business goes on often results in them getting overlooked and weeks later when the statements come in these documents are missing. In the end, suppliers get asked for invoices that the owner already got weeks ago, unbeknown to us. Obviously, that’s not an efficient way to operate and ApprovalMax turns that around.
How does ApprovalMax help you run your clients’ accounting function while letting them stay in control?
A good example is one of our clients who is a manufacturer of veterinary products. For them, we implemented ApprovalMax to automate their so far manual approvals; they used to print out and physically sign everything for authorisation.
When reviewing incoming invoices, the two owners on board had to flick through every single piece of paperwork. One of them frequently works in different locations, which means he’d either take the papers with him or a folder would be waiting on his return. All this caused many delays and it wasn’t the only manual paperwork in the business.
We got the client started with Unleashed for inventory management and production, and Dext Prepare for supplier invoice automation – both tools are integrated with Xero. Invoices are published to Xero in the “Awaiting Approval” status, which prompts ApprovalMax to pull them over and route them to both owners for authorisation.
ApprovalMax provides clients with a really convenient way for completing invoice approvals when and where it suits them, in the office or while on the go via the mobile app. And then, the digitally approved documents go back to Xero, where they get included in the next payment batch.
Tools like ApprovalMax are indeed critical to us when implementing business process automation. They increase efficiency and control for the business owner, and allow us to deliver truly valuable services to our customers.