We recently caught up with Kieran Phelan from Cloud 360 Accounting, the winners of Xero’s Small Firm of the Year in 2021. We discussed finding the right software to fit your processes and how Pixie has fit perfectly with their workflows. You can read or watch the conversation in full below.
Tell us about yourself and Cloud 360 Accounting…
We’re based in Derry, Northern Ireland. We were Northern Ireland’s first-ever Xero advisors back in 2010, and in 2021 we won Xero’s Small Firm of the Year award. Right now, we have a team of 6 people working with clients to offer a range of compliance and advisory services.
What challenges were you facing before using Pixie?
We really struggled to find a practice management system that fitted in with our existing processes and wasn’t going to cost an arm and a leg in both time and money.
Over the years, we shopped around and tried different products. Many accounting-specific ones were too rigid, which made it hard to fit our existing processes, so we eventually started using a few non-accounting tools, but you have to set up these from scratch, which took a lot of time.
What was the impact of these challenges on you and your firm?
I was worried that things might not get properly captured, which would mean things falling between the cracks. We were also spending extra time on things because we were jumping between multiple apps to get things done.
What first attracted you to Pixie?
The user interface looked so simple and easy on the eye, and once I started going through it, I could see that I could set it up in a few hours and the potential it had for us.
I joined Pixie early on whilst they were still growing and developing, but all of the key features were already there. It was going in the direction I would have taken myself.
Adopting new systems and getting your team to change can be challenging, but Pixie looked so easy to use that I knew if I found it easy, so would my team. Getting them on board wasn’t a problem.
I probably had it up and running within a day, including setting up some workflow templates from scratch. I did it during the first lockdown, and after the first day of setting things up, I spent a few hours each week tweaking different things to try and get more out of it.
What have been some of the outcomes since using Pixie?
The ability to design workflow templates and build them from scratch was great. Many other practice management packages are very rigid and have dashboards with too many things on them.
It’s definitely improved our efficiency and reduced the time spent delegating processes. We engaged with an offshore employee and adding training videos in the workflow templates to show them exactly how we do things has made delegating things straightforward. Growing and expanding the team is easier now that we have processes in place for people to follow.
I’d say having Pixie has brought me a lot of peace of mind. We have Xero at the core of our firm, and now Pixie just sits on top, monitoring everything nicely.
What would you say to any other firms considering using Pixie?
Over the last few years, there has been so much choice for practice management, so I’d say keep in mind your existing processes and check to see if the tool you want to use is flexible enough to work with them. Pixie did that for us. So take a demo and see if it can do the same for you.