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Xero Practice Manager - XPM dashboards to supercharge your firm

Est. Reading: 5 minutes •
  Posted on May 24, 2022

Over the past decade software platforms such as Xero Practice Manager have modernised accounting firm operations and resulted in increased storage of key business data. Today an increasing number of firms are looking at the next generation of business intelligence. Firms are exploring how data delivered in business dashboards can be used to drive growth, create operational efficiency, and support smarter decisions.

Owners have finally realised that issues which may seem initially inconsequential, may over time lead to a destitute vision and total fiasco of unfavorable business outcomes. The importance of business dashboards providing timely insights into metrics such as revenue, cost, WIP, job flow, profit, and productivity across the firm and for individual employee performance has become critical to success.

Data Analytics for Accounting Firms using data from Xero Practice Manager

Here are 6 key points on how dashboards can supercharge your firm:

1. Obtaining timely information from Xero Practice Manager for enhanced decision making

Providing the right information, to the right people and at the right time, is critical for making the right decisions for your firm, and your clients. However, obtaining this information, at times can be overwhelming and time consuming, not to mention siloed due to a multitude of data sources that exist across the firm.

Whilst most practice management platforms like Xero Practice Manager, are equipped with a range of transactional reports, firms are now looking step up their business intelligence through operational dashboards that enhance their daily decision-making capabilities.

Business Dashboards empower your firm with real time data. This enables a better understanding of performance against metrics such as profitability, WIP, billing, debtors and creditors, productivity, and recoverability. Most importantly business dashboards provide a basis for sustained success and on-demand pivoting where required. All in just a click!

Firms are now moving away from long hours of ineffective manual reporting. Instead, an investment in real time business dashboards to run operations are creating positive business outcomes for the firms and its client alike.

2. Creating a consistent rhythm

A consistent rhythm for an accounting firm is fundamental for maintaining a controlled operating environment, delivering timely client services, and achieving profit targets. Additionally, a consistent rhythm also creates calmness, enables effective issue handling and allows for more time to be spent on strategic activities.

The most successful accounting firms have system and processes in place to ensure their operating rhythm achieves maximum profits and provides consistent cash flow. Dashboards play a critical role by allowing firms to:

  • Effortlessly manage Work-In Progress,
  • Manage current job load, address overdue jobs, and seamlessly plan for future jobs
  • Ensuring levels of credit and debt are appropriately managed
  • Streamlining routine compliance activities
  • Monitor the trend of critical metrics such as productivity and recoverability

Dashboards provide real-time data which ensuring nothing ever slips through the cracks and maximum output is achieved.

3. Driving growth by providing access to KPIs for the firm, teams, and employees

All business owners understand that employees are at the core of business success. Employees can make or break a business based on their own individual performance as well as also how their influence impacts overall business performance.

Leading teams and managing employees can be very tough, regardless of the nature or size of a firm. Providing visibility across Key Performance Indicators, makes it easier to manage employees. It also allows employees to understand their own opportunities for growth and how they can become masters of their destiny.

Access to Key Performance Indicators that include productivity, recoverability, billing, WIP, billing rates, profitability, timesheets, and job completion rates are critical for employee performance and firm success.

Dashboards provide insights into these Key Performance Indicators for individual employees, but importantly roll up to a team and firm. Remember the formula “the sum of all employee performance equals overall business performance”.

Dashboards assist managers, and teams, to understand what is most important and bring their A game.

4. Effectively managing a mobile workforce operating under a hybrid work model

Current workforce trends combined with globalisation have made it necessary for employers to invest in infrastructure and processes that support hybrid work arrangements. Previously work from home opportunities were provided to staff sparingly however today this has become a global expectation. Employers that have embraced the growing trend of hybrid work models and geared up accordingly have been able to flourish. However those than have failed to evolve have experienced significant strain.

The evolution of hybrid work models whilst creating some challenges have also introduced new opportunities for businesses seeking talent. Geographic barriers have lessened, and the number of remote and offshore staffing arrangements increased whether through direct engagement or BPO.

However, to benefit from these opportunities, it is paramount for employers to manage the daily activities and performance of remote staff. Employers must have systems and technologies in place that instil trust between the employer and employee. This should be achievable without the need for continuous and exhausting management intervention.

Dashboards help reduce anxiety by providing insights into employee activity and performance based on data as opposed to subjective opinion. Most importantly is that insights are accessible anywhere, anytime and from any device.

Having visibility on data that we can rely on, will not just make it easier to manage our remote staff, but it will make our business operate more effectively.

5. Empowering self-management by providing staff focused views and performance targets

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a business where employees had the tools to self-manage, identify their own growth opportunities, have full control over their own performance and understand exactly how their individual efforts impact the outcomes of the firm?

When employees can self-manage, employers can then focus on strategic activities and urgent issues whilst having the peace of mind that the businesses operating rhythm and outputs are functioning as expected.

Dashboards equip employees with:

  • An easier to manage their jobs and tasks
  • A better understand of their performance and how this relates to firm expectations and targets
  • The information required to ensure a high level of performance is maintained or when issues are identified providing employees the insights and tools to pivot
  • Insights into opportunities that promote professional growth

It’s not just explaining expectations, it is also about how employers can enable employees to exceed those expectations.

6. Insights that find you! Automate Reporting of Xero Practice Manager Data

Imagine a world where you’re able to automatically receive the most important information for your business, on your schedule, right when you need it most.

Whilst business is complex ultimate success is determined by how well your firm responds to opportunities and threats. The quicker you are able to respond, typically the better the outcome.

At Dashboard Insights we place right information in the hands of the right people and at the right time to ensure threats are appropriately managed, and opportunities are seized and maximised.

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