Our biggest ever Effortless Bookkeeping Challenge has finally come to an end.
This competition took the quest for effortless bookkeeping global, with accountants and bookkeepers all over the world vying to come out on top.
More than 70 forward-thinking firms took part, competing to create the most seamless bookkeeping process possible and win some exciting prizes for their practice.
THE STEPS TO SUCCESS
The competition was marked on seven metrics that track a truly efficient bookkeeping system:
- The percentage of items being submitted electronically (by app or email)
- The age of the oldest items in their inbox (lower the better)
- The number of clients using the Receipt Bank mobile app
- The amount of time passing between clients receiving invoices and submitting them
- The percentage of items being published straight to accounting software automatically
- The number of rules being set up automate suppliers
- The frequency of users login
Mastering each of these metrics is essential to optimising your workflow, and it was the firms who made the biggest strides in these seven areas who came out on top.
To recognise the various challenges faced by different types of firms, we split the victors into two leagues:
- The Cirrus League
- The Cumulonimbus League
CIRRUS LEAGUE GLOBAL WINNER: MY OFFICE BOOKS
We caught up with founder Amanda Hoffman to find out how they did it, and how their clients got into the spirit.
What did you find most useful when going through the challenge?
The weekly tips and metrics. We made sure we were all keeping up with any metrics that we weren’t already looking at so we were always up to date.
It was actually using Supplier Rules that caused the biggest impact as we were already using all the other tools. It really impressed the customers that they could see their items in Xero as soon as they submitted them.
How did you keep your metrics on track?
The trick was getting the customers involved as well. One customer was holding us back in the league table, so I rang her up and explained the challenge and got her excited to make a difference to the practice’s performance.
How did the competition impact your client relationships?
It certainly improved their relationship with using Receipt Bank because they could see importance their role played in their own accounts being up to date and useful. They were all behind me and wanted me to win.
One of our clients was scared of using the Receipt Bank smartphone app. The new SMS invite feature encouraged him to give it a go.
Using the app was the first week ever that he put all his items in to Receipt Bank. Now he has a completely different attitude, he’s rather proud of himself.
We’re now sticking with a two month implementation process for new clients so we can get all the Supplier Rules set up as we go and make the client experience as easy as possible.
As for our team, they were really impressed that spending a few minutes every day on accounts and checking top ten suppliers really helped us move up the leaderboard.
Has it made your bookkeeping more effortless?
Yes, absolutely. Clients have been really impressed that as soon as they submit items, they’re sorted, and there’s nothing sitting in the inbox. That’s been a big advantage for us.
What’s your tip for success to other accountants and bookkeepers?
Read up about how to streamline your data submissions because it does have a big impact. Also, you need to bring the team onboard. By bringing them with me, they all got as I excited as I did and it’s a win-win for everybody.
CUMULONIMBUS LEAGUE GLOBAL WINNER: FIGURES UK
Jason Cannon from Figures UK is passionate about using technology to build a more efficient practice. We dicussed his experience of the Challenge and the role tech will play in the future.
Why did you join the Effortless Bookkeeping Challenge?
I really wanted to see how we compare to other firms, both in what tech we use and how we use it. It was a great way to gauge ourselves using these metrics.
Do you think that technology like Receipt Bank will be important as tax heads towards a digital future?
I would say it’s a must-have solution, because without it how are you going to get the information from your client to you as quickly as possible.
It’s time-saving, cost-saving and it makes the business far more profitable.
Now, if anybody wants to work without Receipt Bank and Xero, we’re not interested. We’ve standardised our processes to fit our business and our model.
What’s something you didn’t know before you started the Effortless Bookkeeping Challenge, that you know now?
We realised how important it is to be regularly touching base with clients to make sure they’re using all the functionality. Before we had a few clients who were letting items stack up in their inbox. The Challenge was a chance to have some gentle conversations and get clients working more efficiently.
It also showed us how many clients we had using the app. Before, we had a rough idea, but now if we do the challenge again in 4 months time I think we’ll have at least 88% of the client base using the app , if not more.
How has the Effortless Bookkeeping Challenge motivated your team to perform better?
I actually didn’t tell my team until afterwards. I didn’t tell them what it’s for, I just told them we had metrics to work towards. I put the Receipt Bank Practice Platform on the office screens and said not to allow any of the items to go into the red.
Has it made your bookkeeping more effortless?
We’re a lot more streamlined now and the time we’re spending is more on the accounts and less on the bookkeeping because the bookkeeping work is automated. We’re more focused on these metrics and it’s only going to increase.
What’s your top tip for other accountants and bookkeepers?
Technology and the process are key. We have a set workflow, having chosen to use Xero and Receipt Bank, and we’ve aligned everything that way.
If you have one standard process, it doesn’t matter how big the client is or how much you put through it. If you’ve got the metrics and workflow right, it’ll process in the same amount of time. You can save extra time by using tools like Supplier Rules and Autopublish.
We’re keen to keep improving more and more, we’ll redo the Challenge as soon as we can to see the results.
Huge congratulations to both of our winners. It’s a true inspiration to see what is possible when you combine a commitment to client service with the right tools.
Registration will soon be open for our next Effortless Bookkeeping Challenge. If you want to join other firms from all over the world to see who is the most efficient you’ll be able to sign up right here.