This article is an extract from the book 'Everything you need to know about Xero Practice Manager'
Get a copy for your desk at www.linkedpractice.com
One of the aspects that makes accounting unique is the recurring nature of the work. Once we quote and win a job, we typically deliver that service each year to clients. This differs from other professional services that have to requote or re-win every new body of work. Another aspect that makes accounting unique are the deadlines involved. Tax compliance has very strict deadlines that are often unable to be moved. Most accounting engagements must be completed within the financial year they occur, putting added pressure on our ability to schedule and manage capacity.
As we complete our annual engagements each year, there is a high probability that we will need to perform the same or similar services for the same client for the next financial year. As part of an annual engagement we may be delivering a mix of tax, compliance, advisory and other services inside that engagement. Once we’ve fulfilled our obligations under these contracts, we can close out that job and look forward to next year’s annual engagement and preparing for that. We covered closing jobs in detail in Chapter 8: Project Management.
There are two methods of rolling over our annual engagements from one year to the next:
- Recurring jobs with XPM
- Renewing your engagements with Practice Ignition.
It is not uncommon for practices to have some clients that are managed by XPM using recurring jobs, and others managed by Practice Ignition. This is possible, but it does majorly increase your administrative costs because you are running two processes, and you also have no one place where you can look to view all of your annual engagements. If you are using Practice Ignition, you should be on a mission to get all your engagements running through it to streamline everything.
A good way to roll out Practice Ignition is to start onboarding a few new clients with it then once you’re familiar with it, put a plan in place to migrate all of your recurring jobs from XPM into Practice Ignition for the next financial year. This will involve your existing clients accepting a new engagement from Practice Ignition and removing the recurring job from XPM.
We will first look at how to roll over jobs in XPM, then Practice Ignition.
Two months before the start of the financial year we would expect all our new annual engagements to be created by our recurring jobs. This includes both our fixed-price agreements and our time-charge agreements. We get XPM to create our jobs two months before the start of the financial year for scheduling purposes. This gives us two months to schedule our workflow for the next year.
When these jobs roll over, they will sit in the job state ‘1.0 To Be Scheduled’. You will have two months to schedule them and move them into the next job state ‘1.1 Not In’. Once the job is sitting in this job state, we know all the tasks have been scheduled to the appropriate staff and allocated due dates.
Once we have scheduled the tasks, our time-charge agreements are set up and ready to be worked on. There is nothing more we need to do. Our fixed-price agreements, however, need a little bit more work. We need to update the invoice sync between Xero and XPM so the new jobs start receiving the next year's invoices.
Our objective is to capture 12 monthly invoices from Xero against their respective jobs in XPM. So when the first invoice is created for the next financial year, we want to ensure it is sent to the new job. Once this is done, we can then leave this on autopilot throughout the whole financial year, as each new invoice that is created will automatically sync to the correct job in XPM. Once we reach the end of the financial year, however, we will have 12 invoices on the job, so we need to consider what we do with the next invoice. It needs to go to the new job.
There are two ways to update which job Xero sends the invoice to:
- Update the ‘Client Order No.’ in the job
- Update the ‘Job Number’ in the Xero repeating invoice.
We can either add the job number or the client order number to the ‘Reference’ field in the Xero invoice. When the invoice is created in Xero, the invoice will sync to XPM by checking to see if the reference field in the invoice matches either a job number or client order number in XPM. It’s important to note this does not happen immediately when the invoice is created. It will happen overnight.
This update must be done after the 12th invoice has been sent to the current year's job, but before the next invoice is generated in Xero. So if you have your repeating invoices set to be created on the 1st of each month, you have the rest of that month to make the update so that when the 1st of the next month rolls around, the invoices will be sent to the new jobs.
So which option is best? Updating the client order number in XPM is the easiest and fastest method, but it is totally up to you what option suits you best. Both methods work.
The client order number is generally the client code. So for ABC Limited, the code might be ABC100.
Once the 12th invoice has arrived against all the fixed-price agreement jobs in your XPM, you can click into each client in XPM and open up their active jobs. You will have one for this year, and one for next year. Open up both jobs in separate tabs in your web browser and edit them. Cut the client order number from the old job, paste it into the new job, then hit ‘Save’ on both jobs. This will remove the client order number from the job that has 12 invoices against it, and add it to the new job that has no invoices against it. It is important to ensure that the client order number does not exist on two jobs at once as this will confuse Xero as to where to send the invoice.
When the invoices are generated in Xero next month, Xero will send all the invoices to the new jobs that have the client order number that matches the client order number in the reference field of the Xero invoice. Repeat this for each client you have on a fixed-price agreement. This is something you will do the month before each new financial year for your in-advance and in-period fixed-price agreements, and each month for the relevant clients that are on contract-period billing.
When using the job number as our sync reference, we make our edits to the Xero repeating invoices rather than the jobs in XPM. We will click into each repeating invoice that relates to a fixed-price agreement, and update the job number from the current year's job number to the next year's job number.
Like the client order number method, this must be done after the 12th invoice has been created on the current year's jobs and before the next invoice is generated.
Once you have updated which jobs the invoices are being sent to, you have successfully rolled over your jobs and are ready for the next financial year.
In the next article we'll look at how easy this process is when using Practice Ignition.
Enjoy this article? Buy the book.
Need help setting up, fixing up, or getting up to speed on Xero Practice Manager?
We can help at www.linkedpractice.com