Malcolm Pope – Audit and Accounts Partner, Shorts Accountants (offices in Chesterfield and Sheffield)

We started using Xero four or five years ago. We’d been looking at add-ons and when Bridge3 explained what XPM could do, by integrating with our standalone CRM, the idea that it could all be joined up was very appealing.

We met Bridge3 at Xerocon last year (2016) as we started using XPM as a direct result of seeing it at Xerocon and talking to people who had actually used it.

I would say the three main benefits of XMP are:

  • Integration
  • Being able to do more job management and workflow
  • Visibility across all service lines

The time saving element was illustrated when our firm recently held its 125th anniversary dinner. We were able to de-dupe our databases, some of which held duplicated data with clients appearing seven or eight different times across various data fields.

XPM has now become the dominant system which we use in conjunction with our CRM system, HubSpot.

We had 80,000 lines of work in progress so the sheer size of the data transfer was huge but Bridge3 advised us how to arrange the transfer and the system coped well with no transfer issues.

Bridge3 implemented XPM and trained our staff.

The main reason we chose Bridge3 was because, with their sister company Thorne Widgery being a firm of accountants, they are used to the kind of work we need to do on a day to day basis.

We had no worries with the installation. The meetings (with Bridge3) were open and honest. We also appreciated their offers to help with any gaps in our knowledge (re Xero/XPM)

We have been live with XPM since April 2017. It’s changing how every department works and now that it is in place and people are familiar with it they are starting to explore the additional things XPM can do.

The training was handled (by Bridge3) very well indeed and we learned a lot.

At our request, Bridge3 gave every member of Shorts’ staff the same level of training so we needed a number of session to make this happen.

We liked that the training was delivered in bite sized chunks, the sessions were engaging and we had helpful packs to take away with us at the end of the sessions.

We have allowed our staff flexibility with XPM rather than saying ‘you must use it this way.’ Instead we say ‘this is what it can do’ and allow them to choose.

Since using XPM we have seen the following benefits:

  • Recurring jobs are flagged so there’s no chance of missing anything, giving us peace of mind
  • Deadlines are managed well
  • The ability to tailor reports is very good
  • It enables our firm to grow

I would say the top three improvement we have noticed since using XPM are:

  • We can now easily see work in progress by person or department (with our previous system this was not easy to see)
  • It allows us to see how each department is operating
  • It’s easy to find out how much it costs to do each part of each job

Reports are generated in real time.

We will now be able to have more confidence in our business

Although staff are able to choose how to use XPM, we do expect each department to work in a consistent way.

We need to ensure that work is consistently to a high standard and XPM will help us do this.

It provides us with better analysis of feedback.

This means we can benchmark for quality control

We can also better interrogate what people are doing and how well they are doing it to which in turn enables the firm to offer better training.

I would have no hesitation in recommending XPM to others.

Olly Evans – Director, Evans & Partners, Chartered Accountants (office in Bristol)

We had been looking at new (digital software) options for the firm for some time. We needed something to improve functionality and workflow.

We also needed a system that would remove much of the paperwork and spreadsheets our firm relied upon.

Integrating with Xero was also important to us.

In terms of functionality we were looking to be able to:

  • Identify jobs that needed chasing
  • Improve budgeting
  • Improve scheduling

Rather than just having out staff focus on compliance deadlines, we wanted to be more proactive.

We wanted to be able to control the world around us rather than the other way around.

Being able to break down jobs into constituent parts was key.

This was a cultural shift for our firm but very important to us.

Integration was important.

I would say that XPM has definitely saved our firm money and it’s also saved on practice management licences.

We did look at installing XPM ourselves but realised it was too complicated to do it ourselves which is why we turned to Bridge3.

We knew Bridge3’s sister company Thorne Widgery through our joint memberships of the Charter Group. We got talking with Stephen (Smallwood, Bridge3 and TW’s MD) and he explained the benefits.

Benefits we have seen as a result of XPM:bridge

  • We have reduced non chargeable work time
  • There are less cost losses on jobs
  • Better recoveries due to efficiencies and reduction in non-chargeable time spent on jobs

We have seen huge changes in our firm’s culture and although not all of it has been down to the new system it’s certainly been a large part of it.

Our clients are also benefitting because they get better value for the work we do.

We are able to manage our clients’ expectations better.

For example, the schedule automatically tells us ‘accounts are due October’ so this prompts us to request client documents by X time.

We installed XPM in April 2016 and the main improvements have included:

  • Tangible drop in ‘work in progress’ – now we run the job, finish it and bill the work
  • This has had a positive impact on our firm’s turnover with less losses on jobs
  • Non chargeable time is down
  • Greater visibility of work
  • Greater control
  • Better client experience – by freeing up our time to give clients a higher level of services, such as client meetings and the softer side of client service. This has been a key part of our firm’s cultural shift rather than being compliance-focussed

XPM – I would recommend it.

Reporting functionality – it has a very good reporting tool.

Integrates easily with client data – seamless and reduces having to manage data – it also integrates billing to Xero and integrates debt collection.

We particularly like the monthly access we receive to Bridge3’s ‘skills and knowledge’ tips which help us to learn much faster (how XPM can help us.)

I would say our team is now ‘buzzing’.

Working with Bridge3 has been great – they are a nice bunch of people and always a pleasure to work with.

Stephen (Smallwood) is a great visionary and can see where there are benefits to be achieved.

They have helped us a lot in implementing changes – our company is on a journey and we are still very much on it but we are heading in the right direction.