Xero Partner Award winners reflect trends in accounting industry

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Xero’s annual Partner Awards recognize partners, of both the accountant and technology variety, that have shown excellence and dedication in providing the Xero platform to small business clients. This year for the first time, the awards ceremony was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, separately from Xerocon, and the winners reflect the shifting trends in accounting technology and client services.

The winners for 2018 were:

Rewiring the Economy through ServiceAcuity

Bronze Partner of the YearT3 Bookkeeping

Silver Partner of the YearFast Easy Accounting

Gold Partner of the YearMATAX

Platinum Partner of the YearConnectCPA

100% CloudMcRally LLP Chartered Accountants

Emerging Partner of the YearTeed Saunders Doyle

App Partner of the YearGusto

Emerging App Partner of the YearG-Accon

Industry Specific App of the Year A2X

Awards such as these tend to reveal what the accounting industry's preoccupations of the year have been. As accountants move more toward a role of trusted advisor, providing broader services to their clients, technology solutions that enable them to provide those new and differentiated services are prized.

Gusto is a payroll app that has been gaining a lot of traction in recent months, mirroring the increased demand for payroll and HR-related capabilities inside accounting software from accountants. Last year, Xero partnered with the app to provide its payroll capabilities through Xero in all 50 states, enabling accountants to run their small business clients’ payroll completely online. The integration provides features like single sign-on. Cash flow management features will automatically update Xero every time payroll is run, providing an up-to-date view of cash flow. Accountant collaboration features allow small businesses to grant their accountants permission to manage payroll and generate payroll reports within Xero. This is the type of one-stop-shopping that allows accountants to take on more of an advisor and money manager role in the lives of small business owners who would prefer to focus their energy elsewhere.

The industry-specific app of the year, A2X, is an app that is relatively unknown outside the Amazon reseller arena, but it takes on the task of automating the accounting for Amazon Marketplace sales. According to Herman Man, vice president of products and partnerships for Xero, accountants have had a difficult time taking on Amazon resellers as clients before A2X came along. In a changing landscape where online stores are now being recognized as legitimate businesses that have to follow the same tax laws as brick and mortar stores, apps like A2X are important tools.

Acuity, firm winner of the Rewiring the Economy Through Service category, is a familiar face in the Xero world — founder and CEO Kenji Kuramoto has fostered expertise in the accounting platform at his firm. Kuramoto is an alumnus of the Xero Partner Advisory Council (XPAC) of accountants and bookkeepers, a group tasked with advocating for and championing the needs of their industry. Acuity has won the Gold Champion Partner award in the past as well. For 2018, Acuity was recognized for its initiative AcuityCares, which provides free accounting services to nonprofits, and the free CFO Office Hours program, which offers financial advice to underserved small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Service work is not new for accountants; the entrants to the Rewiring the Economy category this year all provide useful not-for-profit services to their communities. To keep up to date with what other accountants are doing in this area, follow Accounting Today’s Firms Giving Back series.

For more details on the other winners, visit Xero’s blog post here.

Editor’s note: Technology editor Ranica Arrowsmith judged the accountant partner submissions this year for Xero.

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