With this series of releases, Xero is laying the groundwork for what it wants to offer you as an accounting professionals, whether you’re an accountant, bookkeeper, or financial advisor. I say “laying the groundwork” because you have to separate the vision from reality. When Xero talks about how great their enhanced partner platform is, they’re talking about how great it will be versus how great it currently is. So while there are some new things, much of this revamp is a repackaging of what Xero looks like for partners.
If you’ve been following Xero’s blog like me, you may have gotten lost in the plethora of articles about their new partner program. Probably the best summary article I’ve seen on Xero is this one, so check it out if you want the official overview. Keep on reading to see my version.
Before I get into the overview, first let me define what a Xero Partner is. It’s simply a business that wants to use Xero as a platform to serve other small businesses. If you work with clients that use Xero, you’re basically a Xero partner. All you need to do is fill out their form to become one.
If you want to be a certified partner, you’ll have to undergo 4 hours of free online training, and then every 12 months maintain it with an additional 2 hours of training. Out of almost 900,000 businesses using Xero, roughly 100,000 are partners. There are actually a lot of benefits to becoming a Xero Partner, too many to name in fact, so you can check out the entire list of benefits here.
All right, now I’ll briefly explain the different parts that make up the partner platform and highlight some of the changes being made.
This is where potential clients can go to find a Xero Partner to help them with Xero.
The Directory already existed in Xero, but this relaunch makes a better attempt to match the right advisor with the right business. This is what the interface looks like for a potential client:
That’s the initial simple search form, but when you click on “Find firms” you’ll see that you can further refine results, as shown below.
Your search criteria can now be filtered by:
- Industry experience
- Advisor type (Accountant, Bookkeeper, Financial Advisor)
- Firm size
- Xero champions only
The industries that can be chosen from are:
By providing all these different criteria, Xero is aiming to ensure that potential Xero users get paired with Xero Partners that are most likely to be able to serve them successfully. Something that’s changed regarding this new directory is that now businesses can’t completely create their own profiles, listing whatever experience or achievements they like. Instead, a good portion of the profile is based on real stats that Xero has on record, like:
- Industry experience — derived from the industries a partner’s clients are in
- Xero Add-on experience — derived from the add-ons that a partner’s clients are using
- Number of Xero-certified staff
- Achievements — such as length of time they’ve been a Xero partner, whether they’re a certified advisor, and whether they’ve attended Xerocons (Xero’s conferences)
These are areas of the profile that a Xero Partner can choose themselves:
- Description — whatever you want
- Video embed — any video (but you need to be a champion to get this ability)
- Associations — you can add associations you’re a member of, such as Accountex or the American Institute of CPAs
If you boil it down, the more a partner is invested in the Xero space, the more visible they’ll be in the Xero Advisor Directory.