<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1673774909537995&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Aprio Cloud Blog

February 23, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Finding Your Xero Accountant Advisor vs Xero Bookkeeper

Written by
Matt Nyman
Matt Nyman |
Find me on:

Xero and Other Cloud Apps, SaaS & Technology Solutions, Outsourced Accounting, Professional Services Solutions, E-Commerce and Retail Solutions


There is a huge difference between a Xero Accountant Advisor and a Xero Bookkeeping Advisor company. Most of the business owners I speak with don’t realize there is a difference, or understand what a Xero Advisor can do for them as a whole. So let’s break this down.

Xero Advisors In General

Xero is a cloud-based accounting tool that promotes real-time accounting and collaboration with an outside advisor. It also syncs with hundreds of 3rd party software applications, allowing tools you may already use to sync meaningful, timely details to your accounting system.  Xero also prompts discussions around better and faster ways to do things using tools you may have never heard of before.

By default, any Xero Advisor is going to help you get the best out of Xero, will be able to work with you virtually, enable you to work remotely, and provide various levels of service, advice and value based on your needs.

The level of service, advice and value is the big variable here, and one way to categorize Xero Advisors and help you pick the best fit is based off the Xero Advisor “Type” - Accountant or Bookkeeper.

The Difference between  Xero ‘Accountant’ and Xero ‘Bookkeeping’ Firms

I now work for a full service Xero ‘Accounting’ firm, Aprio Cloud, but also formerly worked at a Xero ‘Bookkeeping’ firm that was later acquired by Aprio Cloud.

From my personal experience, I can tell you there is a huge difference between a bookkeeping firm (less than 10 people without a CPA) vs. a full service accountant advisory firm (with close to 100 employees and many CPAs on staff).

A couple key differences:

  • Level of Advice - With a bookkeeping firm, tax advisors and virtual CFO’s were not available to give advice.  To solve issues outside of their core competencies, bookkeeping firms typically engage with outside parties who may not understand the full nuances of each client situation or be experts in Xero. These types of solutions tend to be increasingly expensive to contract on a per-issue basis.
  • Getting New Customers Implemented - With a bookkeeping firm, one or two people helped to implement solutions. With an accounting firm, a combined 4-5 person implementation team streamlines processes, like onboarding and are available to provide recommendations on a deeper list of solutions and best practices.
Why you should choose a Xero CPA or ‘Accountant’ Firm over a bookkeeping solution:

A Xero accounting firm will be a one-stop shop for the accounting, compliance, and growth needs for your business and will include:

  • Tax advisors on staff working with Xero and an in-house bookkeeping/accounting staff, which benefits you because it:

    • Removes you from the middle of bookkeeping to tax questions.

    • Promotes real time and accurate business advice and tax planning.

    • Means your tax advisors are available year around to support and seamlessly keep you in compliance, not sitting in an office waiting to see you once a year to file taxes.

  • The ability for you to focus on growth and compliance advice, not just bookkeeping.  A Xero Accounting Firm will handle:

    • How to stay in compliance, change ownership or tax elections, and plan accordingly.

    • What it will take to expand into a new state with an employee, store and/or warehouse.

    • Forecasting and advice for future business decisions or fund raising efforts, not just historical bookkeeping or reporting.

Hiring a Xero accountant firm, like Aprio Cloud, means you gain everything you need to keep your finances in order for an all encompassing fee.  This fixed fee is predictable and typically a fraction of the cost, more valuable, and less time consuming than having multiple parties involved, maintaining your own technology stack, or hiring in-house staff.

If you want to have all the technology, full-service outsourced accounting and support, part time dedicated virtual CFO, tax advisory and compliance, and a long term partner to help grow your business all from one provider, than you want to seek out a Xero Accountant.

A great option if you want a complete solution is Aprio Cloud. Let's talk about how we can help your business.

Learn more about Aprio Cloud's Xero solutions


What are the Benefits of a Xero ‘Bookkeeper’ Firm?

A bookkeeping firm will help with your back office bookkeeping, reporting, and accounting needs.

  • Any bookkeeping firm will aid you with the right tools and processes to keep your back office in order, including:
    • Advice on how to setup your Xero ledger and get the best out of the software.
    • Advice on 3rd party add-ons and how you can use them to save time, reduce errors, and/or segregate duties as you grow.
    • The means and process to help you get it all setup, integrated, and provide training and support.
  • A bookkeeper firm will help you with the numbers for when you or outside parties need them, such as:
    • Help with weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual reconciliation and reporting.
    • Facilitating numbers and adjustments for year end and outside tax provider.
    • Mobile access to your numbers and business to make decisions on the go.
    • Flexible monthly, fixed fee, or hourly charges

If you want advice on Xero and it’s add-ons, but are not looking to switch your CPA or tax accountant any time soon, then a bookkeeping firm is probably best for you.

Also, if you aren’t sure about Xero or are looking for some basic help, a bookkeeping company is more prone to have one-off services to help you evaluate options. A full service accounting partner will always be there later when you grow or know for sure it is a good fit.

How do you find the right Xero Bookkeeping Advisor?

At the end of the day, talking to a few Xero Advisors will help and you’ll probably learn a few things during the process. However, we all know you have better things to do than to talk to accounting firms all day!

Xero has a directory that allows business owners to filter their search to only view bookkeepers. You can select bookkeeper as an advisor type (see below): 

Screen Shot 2020-02-10 at 1.52.17 PM

Go to the Xero Advisor Directory using this link.

You can also see Aprio Cloud's Platinum Xero Advisor Page here. 

Xero is a good software solution for most small businesses, but finding the right Advisor and level of help could be the difference between saving hours a month with automation or just adding another list of to-do’s and monthly subscription to your list.

If you'd like to hear more about how Aprio Cloud can help, please schedule a consultation:

Learn more about Aprio Cloud's Xero solutions


Matt Nyman

About Matt Nyman

As Aprio Cloud's Director of Global Growth, Matt helps connect our clients and prospects with the right tools, processes, team members, and overall solutions offered by Aprio Cloud. He speaks with hundreds of business owners a year to help determine their needs and how Aprio Cloud and/or their partners can help.