How to choose a Xero add-on for your client
Within our services, and as a result of our vast experience, we look at the ecosystem of a business, the add-ons that their systems may need and provide almost a support network type of service. By looking at the existing systems within a business, what the needs are and how systems currently do, or need to, link together, we help identify and deploy systems for a whole range of clients.
How to select an add-on when using Xero is one of the questions we’re asked about most. Choosing an Xero inventory app or add-on isn’t much of a task in itself – where the real work comes is gathering all the requirements that you have in order to effectively identify and choose the right add-on. For us, this is where the skill is and that’s where the process really needs to be defined and run in a really methodical manner.
Gathering requirements is a relatively simple process. When we do this, we triage a prospect, which typically involves an hour discussion to understand what the client needs and how we’ll work with them. We’ll take this data away and look at research in the market, identify some solutions and apps that we think will fit and then, following further analysis, we’ll recommend the add-on. It’s as simple as that. Well, not exactly as the triage process gathers high level requirements which we’ll take a look at now.
System scoping session
During a scoping session, we recommend that the discussion is recorded or documented in some way to reflect back on. This detail is also crucial to help identify where new processes may be needed internally for the company once the new Xero add-on has been implemented. Understanding the operational elements of a business is crucial as without understanding, it’s very hard to make the best decision – and get a good outcome. We also take this time to ascertain the clients’ expectations – are they realistic? Will the required work align with their desired go-live timeline? What is their budget and is this in-line with what they require?
In some instances, we might find that we can’t, or don’t, offer a solution that is compatible with what a customer needs. But without understanding the complexity of the requirements, this is hard to pinpoint. The client might only need a singular add-on, such as simply managing their expenses or do they need a multiple add-on for a delivery of goods business that needs stock, online commerce, managing till receipts and integration into Xero. Once we know what the high level requirements are, we need to identify whether there is an add-on, or add-ons that will cover the requirements.
What determines a simple job or complex job?
One financial add on is the most common form of a simple requirement that we get. We recommend that if you already know what the best add-on would be, don’t drag out the requirement scoping session. If the requirement is clear from the start and you know of the perfect system add-on, consider it a job done! If the client has only simple requirements such as logging stock and managing purchasing – there will be an app that can accommodate for their requirements. Once the requirement and app has been identified, it’s time for implementation.
Complex jobs may seem messy but will often include a number of requirements that all need to speak to Xero and each other. These could include, if using a retailer as an example:
- Stock management
An example like this will be hard to gather within one session to make the recommendation and design the initial implementation within the triage stage. So, more time will be needed.
You’ll need to assign a consultancy session, with an allotted amount of time given upfront to gather requirements in detail. Looking at their verticals, you’ll need to determine their as-is and to-be states. This is the processes they are currently doing internally, and what processes will need to be added in order to make the new system work for them. This could be using spreadsheets that take a lot of time – and are at risk of human error – and changing this to an automated system. You’ll also need to identify what their must haves and nice to have requirements. This allows you to set realistic expectations and outline likely challenges and where we will likely see some issues. Understanding their future plans at this stage is also important so you can ensure that the recommended add-on for Xero will give them longevity rather than be out of date within 6 months based on business objectives or changes.
Researching the market
Once we know the requirements, we’ll rank them into must haves and nice to haves. Using this data, we’ll create a suitability grid which allows us to see which systems will facilitate the requirements – and which won’t or may have some areas for consideration.
We’ll review the systems to ensure that they will work in practice, and during this stage, we will often have multiple options available. This allows us to list pros and cons of each system add-on in order to find the perfect fit for the business, comparing the clients system workflow with the nuances of the system.
Recommending the Xero add-on
When presenting your recommended add-on, it’s important to document everything that you have gathered within your research; the must haves and nice to haves and the as-is and to-be processes. For some clients, they’re less important in the nitty gritty and want a simple tool report for others, they prefer a comprehensive report that shows all prior research and how the recommendation will fulfil these needs.
It’s important to demo the add-on/s to the client to show the vision of how it will work in their business. Most add-ons will allow for a free trial period which recommend to clients. A follow up meeting is important after this to go over the requirements of the client, update your report and, where needed, change your recommendations. Once you’ve determined that you have found the right add-on, and your client is happy, develop your quote for implementation.