This article is an extract from the book 'Everything you need to know about Xero Practice Manager'
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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.
This article will look at how to roll over jobs using Practice Ignition.
Your client engagements that are managed by Practice Ignition will not have recurring jobs in XPM. This is because the job creation is generated from Practice Ignition. When we roll jobs over in Practice Ignition, we are creating new jobs using the job templates they have been assigned, and the billing is automatically updated to the new jobs that have been created. This means we do not need to click into each client and manually update the billing to the new job.
Your engagements in Practice Ignition will be set up to stop their billing after 12 months. This is because we have put the end date of the engagements to be the last month of the financial year. We therefore need to have a new engagement in place for when the current engagement finishes. We do that by rolling over our proposals from the current year to create new ones with updated engagement start and finish dates.
The great thing about Practice Ignition is we can roll our jobs over two months before the financial year starts, and still have the start date of the job to be the 1st day of the financial year. We can therefore have the job sitting in ‘1.0 To Be Scheduled’ with a future start date. When we get into the next financial year, the billing will kick off in Practice Ignition as per the engagement date. These will be seamlessly matched to the new jobs in XPM. Very simple.
Rolling over proposals is as simple as selecting which proposals need to be rolled over and setting a new start and end date. This creates duplicates of your old proposals that you select, but for the new year. You can then go through them all one by one to check, and call the client if need be about pricing/service changes, then bulk send the proposals out or send them out individually.
It’s good practice to re-engage your clients each year by sending them a fresh proposal for the year ahead. This process is also a great time to revise fees for clients you took a significant write‑off on for the previous year. Practice Ignition makes this easy by building it into the job rollover process, whereas this will need to be done manually when using XPM on its own. If you do not wish to re-engage your clients each year, you can bypass this in Practice Ignition by accepting on your clients’ behalf. The billing information from the previous engagement will be retained.
To rollover your jobs in Practice Ignition, go to ‘Proposals > Rollovers’. This will open up a slider from the right-hand side, prompting you to choose which proposals you want to create rollovers for based on their start and end dates. It will bring up a list of all proposals that fit into the date range. Note that this will return both ‘Active’ and ‘Completed’ engagements that fall within the date range selected.
You also have the ability to include or exclude any proposals that have ‘Continuous Recurring Billing’ (CRB) enabled. If your proposals have been set up as outlined in Chapter 7: Setting Up Engagements, you will not have any engagements that have CRB enabled. This toggle therefore will not be relevant.
If you have been using Practice Ignition previously and do have CRB enabled on some jobs, leaving this toggle in the ‘off’ position will exclude all proposals with CRB. This means they will be excluded in the rollover and they will need to be reviewed independently of this rollover process.
Once you have chosen your job rollover dates and left CBR as off, you will then be shown a list of all the proposals that fall within this date range. You can also filter these by client group to make your list shorter so you can chunk the work.
Run through the list you have chosen and select all the proposals you wish to rollover for the next financial year. You should exclude any one-off engagements from the year. Once you have selected them, click the next step button.
In the next step you have two options which need to be considered:
- ‘Combine Duplicates’: If you have one client with multiple proposals during the selected date range, turning this toggle on will combine the services of all the proposals into a single proposal, avoiding the creation of any duplicates. Mark this as ‘No’.
- ‘Enable Pro-rata’: This ensures that you will initiate the recurring billing from the proposal start date rather than the acceptance date, and invoice for any missed billing periods. Mark this as ‘Yes’.
You then need to choose a new start date and end date for your new proposals. Set your start date to be the start of the financial year, and the end date to be the end of the financial year. Once you’ve done this, click ‘Start Rollover Process’ to create the new draft proposals.
Click into the ‘Proposals Draft’ tab to review the proposals you have just created. Before they are sent out to your clients for acceptance, we want to briefly check them by clicking ‘Bulk Action > Mark for Review’. This will bring up all the proposals one by one so you can review them. When reviewing the proposals, it is a good idea to check the services tab in the proposal to ensure it does not include any one-off services from the previous financial year. You can do this by clicking ‘Edit Proposal > Services’.
If you would like to see the financial year in the job name, you may also want to update the name of the billing job while you are checking the services. This is optional and does create an extra step in the review process, but it can really improve the quality of your job list as you will know which year each job relates to.
Once you are happy with the proposal, select ‘Mark for Review’ at the bottom right of the page. This will take you to the next proposal to review. Make your way through all the proposals, ensuring you are happy with each one.
After you have checked each proposal they will be sitting in the ‘In Review’ tab in your proposals. You now have two options. You can either bulk send these to your clients, or you can mark them as accepted on your clients’ behalf. If you would like to re-engage each client, simply select ‘Bulk Actions > Send Selected’ then send these to your clients. If you would prefer to mark them as accepted on your clients’ behalf, click into each proposal and select ‘Actions > Accept on Clients Behalf’.
When you or your clients accept the proposals, Practice Ignition will create the job in XPM, and each invoice in Xero as per the billing details in the proposal. All you need to do now is schedule and deliver the work within budget.
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