In the third of our series of profiles of key figures at Albert Goodman, we profile Tom Hawes, our very own Xero Community Hero. Albert Goodman recently scooped an award for Large Firm of the Year at the Xerocon London 2018 national awards held on Wednesday 14th November at The Excel, London. The award recognizes Albert Goodman’s commitment to leading the way with Xero accounting software to provide the best service to our clients.

Tom, how long have you been at Albert Goodman?

I studied Physics at Exeter University and then started my accountancy career with a firm in Cheltenham. I joined Albert Goodman in April 2015.

What part of your work do you find most interesting?

I would find it hard to pick one particular part of my work that is the most interesting, as the day-to-day tasks can vary quite a lot. I can find myself out meeting clients, learning their business and record keeping processes to help them get going on Xero most effectively; I get out between our offices fairly regularly too, which is great as I get to meet the staff across the firm, or I get to mingle with other professionals at networking events and present to various groups, which is always interesting. It’s great to be able to work with Clare Blackmore to marry up what Xero and other packages do with the strategy put in place, and help drive the Cloud project forward. It is always interesting to think about what is next around the corner for our practice, or for small businesses!

How and when did you first become involved with Xero?

I first came across Xero in 2012 and could see the potential it had to replace desktop-based or manually compiled records, but our first impressions were hampered by the quality of the bank feeds available at that time. Even just six years ago it seemed clients were not as used to logging in to their online bank as they are now, and so when one of the ‘older Yodlee’ bank feeds that Xero was using needed refreshing or adjusting, it seemed to cause the same hassle as if the client had not been on Xero. Now, of course, we have direct bank feeds instead and clients are generally more au fait with viewing or downloading their statements from their online bank account, so we don’t have any of those worries and are able to make the most of the benefits that Xero offers.

You were recently crowned as a “Xero Community Hero”, what exactly does this mean?

It came as a nice surprise really, as I had been posting in the Xero Community forums for some time. I first ventured on there when trying to learn more about Xero, and particularly about what workarounds people were suggesting for various things. Having to explain something is often a good way of learning it, as well as giving yourself confidence that you know what you’re talking about. I started replying to various queries and problems. It also taught me how to interpret what people are asking about! Getting the award for doing this, therefore, was the cherry on the cake.

How is Xero helping Albert Goodman’s clients and staff?

Although the work we are doing relating to “the Cloud” is often seen as “new” and cutting edge, what it means for how Albert Goodman is helping clients should not really be changing much – we’re still striving to provide the best advice and contribute the most to our clients’ success with the best service, but the options we give our clients, and ways in which we deliver this, is increased through the use of Cloud products. It is also beneficial to our staff, making it easier to work as “one firm” and be better connections between our offices and teams, as well as making working from home or on the go easier too.

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