What started as a niche service for BookCheck, using its expertise to transfer its clients onto a future-proofed digital platform in the shape of Xero, has become a major complementary service as more and more businesses begin to understand the potential and the need with HMRC driving that way.
SoGlos spoke to Anthony Pilkington, managing director of the Gloucestershire based specialists, about its Xero Migration plus Add-on Development (MAD) service and how it has helped establish the firm as experts in moving accounting online.
About the expert – BookCheck
Gloucestershire based BookCheck was founded by Anthony Pilkington (pictured) in 1994 and has grown to become a major force in the delivery of transformative bookkeeping with management accounts services for businesses UK wide.
What has always set BookCheck apart is the added value it offers its clients in the prompt production of quality management information, but an increasing number of businesses are also now benefiting from its ability to make their accounts digital – using the firm’s Xero Migration plus Add-on Development (MAD) service. This workload has grown so much that a new company BookCheck Xero MAD Ltd has been formed to specialise in this subject, with Keri Baker appointed to become the general manager from January 2022.
Can you explain what BookCheck’s Migration plus Add-on Development service is?
There’s a big move taking place in accounting to the Cloud. Such a change is very likely to involve a new accounting system and BookCheck has put its money on the market leader, Xero.
Our MAD splits into two services. The M is the migration to Xero. This involves moving over all of the accounting information, usually with full history. This is a technical task which can easily go wrong and there’s plenty that is complicated or difficult. Our service takes full responsibility for a successful migration.
The AD is Add-on Development. Whilst the Xero system is impressive and easy to use, it’s limited in its capabilities, like stock control and order processing. That’s where extra software, called add-ons, come in. Our role is to assist clients in choosing the best add-ons for their individual requirements – and to provide a full onboarding service.
Can you give us an example of what MAD has helped a client achieve?
A client was on a Sage system which was struggling to cope with complex stock and ordering requirements. The company was growing extremely rapidly and big danger signals appeared. We migrated the data, assisted with considering add-ons and onboarding.
This massive change was accomplished seamlessly, thanks to a lot of planning, skill and sheer hard work. The new system is a vast improvement and takes a fraction of the time per order processed.
It’s pleasing to see that the client is enthusiastic about the new systems – not something one normally associates with an accounting system!
Can you explain what Xero is and why it is BookCheck’s system of choice?
Xero is an accounting system, like Sage or QuickBooks. Being Cloud-based means that you go online to use it, nothing is stored on local computers.
It has bank feeds which download data from the bank accounts straight into Xero as the basis for data input, some of which can be automated. This saves a lot of time. What marks it out is its ease of use and its quality compared with other software.
That’s why it’s the market leader in the UK for new purchases. Another distinct plus is that it links seamlessly to 1,000 add-ons, like Apple apps.
These cover a wide range of extras such as purchase invoice handling, expenses, debt chasing, stock control, order processing and more.
BookCheck moved its own accounting from Sage Line 50 to Xero, achieving significant benefits for the business.
Is BookCheck able to tailor the MAD service for each business if needed using apps?
Every business is different, so are their needs. Take for example stock control – there may be a requirement for sub-assemblies, increasing cost values due to processing, batch controls, bar codes, special foreign ‘paperwork’.
So out of the 40 or more stock systems there may be only three suited to requirements. Then it’s a matter of comparing attributes and costs to allow a decision to be made. The devil is often in the detail – that’s why it’s vital to specify requirements precisely. Functionality is the keyword.
Examples of add-ons with which we’ve assisted our clients with include purchase invoice processing; approving purchase invoices; expense processing; stock control; order processing; automated credit control with statements and debt chasing; Amazon settlement accounting; Shopify/PayPal/Stripe; paying suppliers online; job costing, timesheets; project management; bill of materials; cash flow forecasts; MRP.
What types of business is the MAD service suitable for?
It’s totally sector neutral. Apart from very specialist areas, such as farming, it’s really suitable for all business types.
Even a small business can benefit from Xero and possible add-ons. Our biggest turnover client on Xero is £25 million.
How important has the Migration plus Add-on Development become and can you see demand continuing to grow?
The MAD service has developed alongside clients moving to Xero. We’re simply responding to a growing need. We’ve built up a formidable in-house knowledge bank on this subject and have reached the stage where this is now our third service.
We see the demand growing as more businesses move to Xero – but there is still a long way to go with the numbers. We used to be neutral with regards to the choice of Xero, but now we positively recommend businesses to embrace Xero for the clear benefits it provides, which will continue to improve over time.