About Counting Clouds
When the self-described Boss Lady of Counting Clouds, Line Paras, talks about her bookkeeping business, she exudes all the passion that you’d expect to hear from a creator describing their work. Her enthusiasm for her work with musicians, artists and small creative businesses stems partly from her personal experience as a hobby musician.
She noticed how friend’s passion projects could rapidly evolve from side hustles into serious enterprises along with the accompanying administrative burdens. She became concerned that people whose energy focuses on making their art could easily end up in a financial muddle because their day- to-day bookkeeping needs weren’t met.
Counting Clouds, her business based in the creative community of Fitzroy in Melbourne, was the result. Over half a decade later, she now has a team of specialists working to support clients so they can concentrate on doing what they love best.
From the beginning, Counting Clouds chose a technology platform entirely based in the cloud with an emphasis on paperless working. Working with Xero as the bedrock platform, Line knew she needed to complement her tech stack to make the most of it.
Her aim is to find other cloud technologies to use alongside Xero to help her maintain standard work methodologies, reduce data duplication and simplify tasks for her clients.
The growing suite of Dext products attracted her attention, starting with Dext Prepare (former ReceiptBank). From that, it didn’t take long for her to discover Dext Precision (former Xavier). Let’s see how these solutions meet Line’s exacting requirements and now play an essential part in her client service offerings.
Solution 1: Dext Prepare
Dext Prepare, which simplifies the capture, extraction and categorisation of expenses such as receipts and invoices, is used as one of Counting Cloud’s first steps in onboarding a new client. The team loves the ease of use: the client simply takes a photo of the receipt, uploads it on the app or emails it to Dext, which allocates it seamlessly to their Xero account.
“Why would you keep paper receipts when you have everything online? The fact that you can use it in such detail, every transaction in your bank account has a receipt attached to it that you can always find the detail behind every transaction… It’s a no brainer!”, she says.
Line especially likes that the Counting Clouds team can add comments, set up rules and promptly resolve any questions with the client in real time. They know that the system will smartly deal with tax allocations and code the item to the correct category, so they feel confident in the accuracy of their client’s data.
“Dext Prepare should be a given if you’re using online accounting software”
The ability for a client to quickly snap a picture of a receipt, send it over and then get back on with their lives was also a game-changer, says Line. It quickly becomes second nature and helps everyone in the process. Anything missing is flagged up automatically to the Counting Clouds team so they can quickly fill in the gaps with the client, whilst memories are still fresh. This saves so much time, not only for the client but also for the bookkeeping team.
By working with clients across a niche community, Line and the Counting Cloud team bring a deep understanding of their needs. They speak the language of their clients, she explains, and appreciate at a detailed level how the work of creatives relates to their businesses. This makes them very approachable which, in turn, can encourage clients to get their books in order sooner rather than leaving it for later.
“Using Dext Prepare means that Counting Clouds can offer a higher service level without increasing their fees, which is great for clients and releases the bookkeeping teams for more valued and valuable work.”
Solution 2: Dext Precision
The arrival of artificial intelligence (AI) has moved technology forwards and created new ways to interpret large volumes of data. When Line looked at Dext Precision, which uses AI to rapidly create an information rich dashboard from the data in a Xero account, she realised that it offered a smarter way to get to the heart of a potential client’s needs and to expand on the benefits from Dext Prepare.
A part of growing any business is finding ways to protect the things that you do that make your service unique. In the early days of Counting Clouds, Line was able to be involved in overseeing the detail of every client. The bigger the business got and the more clients that were added, Line knew she wanted something to help her maintain oversight.
The arrival of Dext Precision brought her a set of tools which take data and almost magically turn it into information.
“Dext Precision is great to review past data and helps Counting Clouds accurately quote fees for new clients.”
It starts right at the beginning of an engagement. The Counting Clouds team loads Xero data into Dext Precision so they can get a clear picture of the volume of transactions and complexity inherent in taking on a new account.
“This means they get off on the right foot in their working relationships by pricing service offerings with confidence”, she explains.
Line estimates that this typically saves them around 4 hours of non-chargeable work for every new client – plus, it has taken the guesswork out of pricing.
The day-to-day supervision of larger numbers of clients was boosted with the dashboard, through which Dext Precision displays a helicopter view of all Counting Cloud’s clients. The dashboard brings together the client list, workflow status and health scores so that, at a glance, Line and her supervisors can quickly hone in on areas that might need their particular attention.
It’s given her the confidence to continue to grow the business, secure in the knowledge that it can continue to give the detailed attention that the clients love.
At the heart of Counting Clouds, was the desire to establish a family friendly business with a great team and rewarding clients. Looking back, Line is proud that she and her team are able to find and work with clients who really value their work and whom they deeply value.
“Using the Dext suite is great for clients and for our team.”
During the first year of the pandemic, Line had the idea to send out a newsletter that highlighted any nuggets of information that related to the entertainment and creative industries. That capacity to see the world through the eyes of her community perfectly illustrates why Counting Clouds looks set to continue to keep in tune with their clients.
“Dext saves me about 200 hours per month, which is effectively more than one full time staff member.”
Having a tech stack that helps the team provide excellent work and still have time to maintain this level of client relationship is everything she wanted when she started Counting Clouds.
Ready to grow your practice?
Dext can help your practice become more productive. Speak with one of our product experts today.