Accountants & Marketeers Thank Xero & FUTRLI for 60% Referral Rate
Posted on 11th September 2017 in Customer Stories
Written by Freya Hughes
A hybrid firm of Chartered Accountants and Marketeers, The Peloton, based in Falmouth UK, is a new breed of accountancy practice. While still providing traditional services, the team are also maximising clients’ businesses by offering advice and guidance on marketing strategy and where best to focus their attention. We caught up with Anna Carthew to see what’s new with The Peloton, especially now they’ve been nominated for AccountingWEB’s Practice Excellence Awards. With an impressive referral rate from clients, we couldn’t wait to find out how their firm operates.
Tell us a bit about The Peloton
We see ourselves as very proactive, and it’s not always about the numbers – we want to work with companies. Most accountants focus on getting their clients ‘over-the-line’ with regard to personal tax, corporate tax and Companies House. We see our role as ‘analysts’ of our clients businesses, reporting on the things we like, the things we don’t and the things we recommend our clients keep an eye on. This allows the client to better understand their business and gain traction towards their goals.
We also work on a fixed-fee subscription basis meaning there are no nasty surprises at the end of the year. Our clients aren’t afraid to pick up the phone and ask us a question because they know they’re not going to get charged for that.
What happens in your client meetings?
We are a very friendly open bunch of people, and are doors are always open metaphorically and physically. We do a lot of our business in the office, partly because of our great location just outside Falmouth but mainly because it’s a great space – open plan, light and a motivating place to work in. We all have lunch together as a team and one person cooks, so we try and schedule meetings just before so they can stay and eat with us. If they’re not local we do a lot of our meetings over Zoom or Skype.
How do you approach cloud accounting/advisory services with clients, new and existing?
Our first step will always be to have a chat with the client to find out about their business. We will then put a quote together for a fixed-fee monthly subscription. We have guideline prices but each quote is totally bespoke and dependant on the needs of the client.
It was around a year ago or so when we really embraced Xero and it’s now at the centre of everything we do. We still have a really small amount of clients not on Xero but any new clients are encouraged to use Xero. We offer Xero training and support to clients and non-clients and we find people pick it up very easily.
The reason we are so focussed on Xero is that it gives the most up to date picture of where a business is financially. When used with platforms such as FUTRLI we can work with clients to set budgets, forecasts and use these to track how the business is doing, allowing us to spot opportunities and address issues in real time.
When you evolved to advisory was there any resistance internally?
Generally we attract accountants that are quite forward-thinking. You only need to step into the office to see that we’re quite different from your usual traditional accountant. Our staff recognise that the industry is changing and they embrace offering our clients a more advisory service.
Who are your clients and how were they working before the signed up with you?
We’ve noticed more and more people are coming to us because they’ve heard of our advisory services and Xero specialty. We work with small to medium businesses throughout the UK, with specialisms in Dental and Chiropractic.
Our biggest source of new business is referrals which is about 60%. We work hard to ensure our clients really want to recommend us to their friends.
I’d say 99.9% of our clients quickly see the benefits of Xero and how easy it is to use. Within an hour’s training most people are very happy with it, but if not we’re happy to do a little extra hand holding.
What KPIs you do you measure in the firm?
We absolutely believe what’s measured is managed. We use FUTRLI in our own business and every month we have a big team meeting and go through all of the boards and see how we’re doing against our targets. Enquiries, ‘yes’ value (track value) and number of quotes that go out each month and average value of those. We’re really focused on that and always advise our clients to do the same.
Tell us more!
We have clients who come in monthly for strategic consultations so we set targets, meet monthly and measure against those targets. Because we have a range of different businesses, we really look at where the owners want to be: some might want to take a step back, and some might be starting out.
We make the targets personal so the clients really get what they want to get out of it, so we might measure things like how much time they’re saving this week to spend with their kids.
Instead of a one size fits all approach, we try to understand the individual and business themselves. We want them to get what they need out of us.
Have you been able to alter your fees because of your advisory services?
We are always looking for ways to work more efficiently so that we can offer client’s more advisory time. We’ve been able to do this using software like Xero and FUTRLI. We work on a fixed-fee subscription basis with our clients and we will tailor our service and fee to meet their needs. We aim to offer such immense value that the fee becomes a no-brainer.
How do you promote your services?
We have a marketing strategy in place and a team to execute this. We will look for opportunities, try them out, measure the results and then continue or tweak. We write a lot of blog posts and try and make them as useful as possible, our social media channels are very active too.
We host events in our office, like an introduction to Xero, which we promote in our local area. We talk at a lot of events and do a lot of digital marketing. It’s still evolving and we’re always analysing what’s working and what’s not – it’s an ever changing thing.
What’s your favourite function of FUTRLI?
The way you can flip around the cards means we can be flexible for clients. We definitely need that, so it’s great to have it! We pair Xero up with FUTRLI, use Datamolino which is a billing add on, and Capsule for CRM. We also use Gocardless and Vend for those who need it. Not all of them are relevant but can be used for great things.
What advice would you give to others considering management accounting services?
Despite the deadline changing, Making Tax Digital is coming. The sooner you get familiar with it the better. If you need any help, give us a call!