GSC Accountants Pty Ltd is an accounting firm based in the NSW regional town of Bowral. They offer a diverse range of services covering tax, business services and superannuation. Over the years GSC Accountants have observed their clients growing demand for cloud based software implementations as well as their own need to maintain digitally competitive through their internal processes.
We sat down with the Director Sonia Carnevale, to discuss how moving to the cloud has transformed their business.
Hi Sonia! Could you start with giving the readers some background about GSC Accountants?
The practice has been in Bowral for about 30 years in some form or another. Glenn Shelton and myself, the two current partners, have been here together in the present GSC format for 12 years. Our work has a heavy focus on local businesses however, we have had some clients from further afield that mainly came from referrals over the years. The business has prospered over the years with a focus on self-managed super funds, auditing, accounting and tax.
Before Xero Practice Manager was implemented what other software solutions did you experiment with?
Historically we have always been a MYOB practice. Both Glenn and I have always used MYOB in whatever form it has taken in our careers, so this was a very big switch for us. I’ve used MYOB dating back to 2000 and Glenn has used it dating back to the 90s. We had previously looked at looked at HandiSoft and APS. I even started using trial versions for these softwares, but ultimately found that they weren’t suitable for our company’s internal processes.
Why did you choose XPM after using MYOB for so many years?
MYOB Practice Manager is server based, meaning we needed to have a physical server in the office to run MYOB at all times. We found it difficult during the pandemic to work from home as a result of this – it was clunky trying to use both the remote desktop and browsers for other systems. The server we had was for the best part of 5 years old; so we had to make the decision to either have the server replaced or find an alternative solution. We chose to go down the Xero Practice Manager path because we wanted to make the transition to becoming cloud based.
Did you have any anxieties about the transition?
Yes, and meeting Matt was the calming of the storm. I had originally spoken to Xero directly about doing a migration and I will admit to being freaked out. I knew I was going to have to be a lot more hands on, and I didn’t know how I was going to manage it with everything else in between. I was concerned about making the right decisions in the implementation and transitioning efficiently and most effectively.
The walkthrough also allowed me to foresee any information bottlenecks, allowing me to verbalise to BC any changes that needed to be made. The process was very practice-oriented and definitely made it a lot more real in terms of understanding how it was going to work going forward.
What implementation milestones were the most important for you to have the confidence that the new system was going to work?
I think the most critical phase for me was the pre implementation walkthrough, the reason I say that is because it made the process more real. It was our GSC data that we were looking at, it was easier for me to understand how things were going to work in our environment and for our business. When seeing demonstrations using mock data you sometimes have a little bit of trouble trying to understand how it applies to you and your business specifically. Therefore, because I could visualise actual data from our firm, I could easily conceptualise how we would use the software in our day-to-day activities.
How was your experience with our software training process?
The training was great! The fact that Matt was prepared to fly to NSW for two days and do onsite training was another key factor that made me decide on Business Continuum. We were all able to sit down as a team and go through the software training which made all the difference. Any training activities that didn’t need everybody involved meant it was just Matt, Glenn and I, thus giving us extra one-on-one specialist time and attention. Having Matt’s expertise there in person made it a lot easier to talk about any concerns and created a much smoother learning and transition environment for us. I was really happy with how the training went.
“It was our GSC data that we were looking at, it was easier for me to understand how things were going to work in our environment and for our business.”
How was your experience billing using XPM?
It’s different, we are still trying to get our head around the fact that Xero is so task orientated, but we are getting there. Last month was the first month we really did billing and it’s great, we just have to get used to a different way of thinking. It’s probably going to take another 2-5 months to be really comfortable with it.
I do enjoy the other side of it too as someone that manages all our accounts internally, the fact that XPM links so well with Xero means it’s incredibly easy to do debtors, making my life much easier!
Did the XPM implementation help to ease your business processes?
Business Continuum was instrumental in helping us tailor our business processes into processes that harmonised more efficiently with the Xero software. The transition has definitely helped us streamline those processes and made us think about other aspects of the business that we want to change in the next 12-18 months.
Has the change made you more aligned for future business operations?
Yes, you know how they say “if you don’t do anything, you’re making the choice not to change.” The transition to Xero has been an eye opening experience for us which has enabled us to also identify current business processes throughout our business that should also be digitised or streamlined in some way.
What is the biggest learning from this whole process?
I was scared going into this, even with Business Continuum shepherding the process it’s a big step, especially for someone who has been using the same software for 20 plus years. I’ve always been someone who has helped clients with MYOB Account right and MYOB Essentials, so with Xero I think I was probably intimidated by the idea of being able to continue helping clients using a software which I had gaps of expertise in. However, the more I use all the different components of Xero whether it’s tax, billing, time, or using the database, the more confidence I gain in the system we have had built for GSC. I realise now that I actually scared myself a little too much and I probably should’ve gone into it a little bit more open, because I’m actually doing better with it than I expected!
What made me take the initial leap of faith was the fact that I had the BC team always listening to my concerns and guiding me through the whole process. If I had tried this any other way, I think it wouldn’t have gone this well at all and there would have been a lot of stress and tears.
If you are looking to implement XPM to transform your business, then please contact us to book a time to to discuss further.