Firms that work with AdvanceTrack dominate the Accounting Excellence Awards 2023

The carnival-like atmosphere of the Accounting Excellence Awards was even sweeter this year, as we celebrated alongside many winning firms that we partner.

Held at the Roundhouse in Camden, we first remembered the ‘soul of AccountingWeb’, John Stokdyk, who very sadly passed away earlier this year.

Onto the awards itself, and we’re proud to say that a large group of the practice winners (more than ten in total), use AdvanceTrack’s outsourcing/offshoring services.

A question we are often asked is ‘what are the traits of firms that partner with AdvanceTrack?’ Well, we’ve previously answered that question here.

Common traits between the winners

It’s worth pointing out that, like your clients, no two practices are exactly the same. However, it will make sense that those practices with strong and efficient processes will be in a great position to leverage AdvanceTrack’s offerings. And there are some other similarities.

The biggest common thread is that there is strong leadership, a clear plan and – crucially – a will to use technology to drive their practice forward.

Another similarity is an upshot of their hard work; because of their plans and organisation, these practices all have strong growth. We love helping them achieve their goals, and we’d like to help you and your firm, so please get in touch!

If you’d like to talk to us about your firm’s approach to tech, outsourcing and offshoring, please get in touch by clicking here


Picture credit: Sift/Accounting Excellence Awards 2023

We’re out and about – and we hope you are too. There are plenty of opportunities to meet us and have a chat.

As the summer disappears and autumn draws in, we see conference season come to an end. But that doesn’t mean the AdvanceTrack team won’t be out and about around the country – in fact quite the opposite. 

But let’s tidy up what we’ve done first.

A busy Accountex

Accountex North was incredibly busy – with more than 2,500 attendees. While the spectre of MTD still looms over some conversations, what was more apparent was a big push to drive delegates onto the cloud – of which there is still a significant minority.

There was also discussion about some of the big accounting and tax platforms bringing their solutions wholly into the cloud – which you might think sounds strange in 2023. However, laggard practitioners will also influence the major tech players, and so it seems that a wish not to disenfranchise firms has led to this drawn-out cloud transformation… perhaps a topic for another blog.

Looking forward, as we like to do at AdvanceTrack, we are in attendance at two major sets of events through October and November.


Firstly we have the ACCA Autumn Roadshow. Taking place between 10 and 19 October, ACCA practitioners including Jeri Williams and Francesca Tricario will discuss their stories of growing and scaling their firms. AdvanceTrack MD Vipul Sheth will also be around, as well as other team members.

Eriona Bajrakurtaj FCCA (Majors Accounts) and Peter Jarman FCCA (PJCO) will guide you through the complexities of scaling whilst sharing how to manage internal efficiency and team capacity as you grow.

The roadshow encompasses England and Scotland across six events. Details can be found by clicking here.


The Xero UK Roadshow kicks off on 31 October and runs through to 22 November across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The sessions during these events will cover getting the best out of Xero, through to building a high-performance practice and helping clients succeed. There will also be a range of exhibitors on hand, including AdvanceTrack. Details for the roadshow can be found by clicking here.

We’d love to see you at the roadshows; and feel free to discuss anything with us. If you’d prefer to start a conversation online, then drop us a line by clicking here.

As the sun sets on the city of Sydney, accounting and bookkeeping professionals from across the globe gathered at the ICC Sydney for the much-anticipated annual event – Xerocon Sydney 2023. Coined the ‘Coachella for accountants’, this year’s conference lived up to its reputation, delivering a power-packed experience that left attendees inspired and equipped with invaluable insights.

From August 23 to 24, Xerocon Sydney transformed the ICC Sydney into a hub of innovation, collaboration, and excitement. AdvanceTrack’s team had the privilege of attending this transformative event once again, and we’re thrilled to share our reflections on the highlights and takeaways.

The event opened with the charismatic presence of Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Xero’s CEO, making her first-ever appearance on the Xerocon stage. In her engaging talk, she emphasised the pivotal role of the advisory community in shaping the future of small business success. With just six months at the helm, Sukhinder’s passion for purpose and partnerships resonated deeply with the audience, setting an optimistic tone for the entire conference.

A major highlight was the introduction of Diya Jolly, Xero’s new Chief Product Officer, who provided insightful glimpses into the latest products and connections that amplify collaboration, efficiency, and value across the platform. This showcase marked a departure from the norm, presenting Xero’s offerings in a reimagined format that captivated both newcomers and returning partners.

The event’s lineup of guest speakers was nothing short of exceptional. Julia Zemiro, the iconic Australian TV personality, charmed the audience as the host, bringing her signature wit and warmth. Lisa MacCallum, former Nike Vice President, took the stage on day one, delivering a talk that melded business acumen with sustainability. Her insights on driving ethical business practices left a lasting impression, emphasising small businesses’ pivotal role in fostering environmental responsibility.

The second day brought a thought-provoking session by Sam Elsom, an environmentalist and entrepreneur who delved into the realm of sustainable practices and ethical manufacturing. Mark Pesce, a distinguished futurist and entrepreneur, rounded off the event with a captivating exploration of AI’s influence on the accounting industry. His decades of experience in the digital revolution space illuminated the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

One of the most anticipated aspects of Xerocon Sydney has always been the legendary wrap party. This year, the ‘Paradiso’ theme transformed Sydney’s ivy bar into a tropical oasis. Attendees donned neon ensembles, embraced inflatable flamingos, and danced the night away to the beats of Sneaky Sound System. The poolside venue and vibrant atmosphere created a night to remember, fostering connections and memories that will last long after the event concludes.

Reflecting on Xerocon Sydney 2023, the sense of community and collaboration was palpable. We at AdvanceTrack found the event to be an invaluable resource for gaining insights into the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. The emphasis on sustainable practices, technological innovation, and the evolving role of finance professionals left us inspired and excited for the future of the industry.

Looking ahead, Xerocon 2024 is already on the horizon, this time happening closer to home in London and promising another immersive experience of learning, networking, and celebration. As we continue our journey to become the leading outsourcing partner for accounting firms in the UK, Australia and worldwide, industry conferences serve as essential touchpoints for staying informed, inspired, and connected with industry leaders and peers.

Xerocon Sydney 2023 surpassed all expectations, standing as a beacon of innovation, collaboration, and visionary thinking. Boasting an extraordinary array of speakers, reimagined showcases, and an indelible wrap party, the event instilled attendees with a rejuvenated purpose and a palpable enthusiasm for what lies ahead. As the curtain falls on this year’s conference, we’re counting down the days until the next Xerocon, sparking anticipation for the multitude of opportunities it holds to elevate the accounting and bookkeeping industry across the ANZ region and beyond.

We’re headed down under to Xerocon Sydney 2023, where inspiration, connection, and innovation come alive in one electrifying event! Like you, the AdvanceTrack team is excited to be a part of this incredible two-day gathering of like-minded accountants, bookkeepers, and the wider Xero community.

We all know Xerocon is a conference like no other; it’s an experience that leaves you inspired and equipped with valuable insights to apply back home and with memories of never-ending parties to boot! This is your chance to uncover the full potential of your accounting practice and stay ahead in the ever-changing market.

Why Are We Excited about Xerocon?

For us, Xerocon is a unique opportunity to connect with a vibrant community of professionals who share our passion for accounting and technology. We look forward to sharing our success stories and hearing about the exciting developments coming to Xero, which will undoubtedly shape the future of accounting practices worldwide.

Insights from Visionaries

The lineup of keynote speakers at Xerocon Sydney 2023 is nothing short of extraordinary. These visionaries will shed light on diverse topics that are pivotal to the accounting industry’s future. Here are a few you won’t want to miss:

Diya Jolly: Xero’s Chief Product Officer, an experienced leader passionate about small businesses. Her insights into Xero’s product vision will empower you to leverage the platform effectively.

Sam Elsom: CEO of Seaforest, an environmentalist and entrepreneur with a focus on sustainability. His thoughts on how small businesses can make a difference through ethical practices are invaluable in today’s world.

Mark Rees: As Xero’s Chief Technology Officer, Mark is an expert in scaling platforms and driving innovation. His talk will illuminate new technologies and their impact on the industry.

Mark Pesce: A renowned futurist, inventor, and educator who clarifies complex topics like AI and fintech. Prepare to be inspired and enlightened.

James Bergin: Xero’s Executive General Manager for Technology Strategy & Integration. James will explore the implications of AI, ChatGPT, blockchain, and crypto for your practice and clients.

Louise Southall: A seasoned economist and Xero Economist with three decades of experience, Louise will share her insights on macroeconomic trends and their impact on small businesses.

Wrapping that up, Xero’s new CEO, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, will also be onstage for the first time this year. We’re excited to hear what her plans are to steer Xero’s growth and development as a multi-billion dollar global business into a future filled with the promise and challenges of automation.

Tips to Navigate the Conference

Whether you’re a seasoned Xerocon veteran or a first-timer, here are some tips from the AdvanceTrack team to make the most of this year’s Con:


  • Prepare and Research: Understand who will be present and identify key sessions and exhibitors that align with your interests.


  • Dress Comfortably: Leave your formal suits at home; Xerocon is all about a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Opt for a casual yet professional look.


  • Network and Connect: Take advantage of the community spirit and network with like-minded professionals. Organise meetings with potential partners and clients, and don’t miss the App Partner side events. By fostering these connections, you not only expand your network but also gain valuable perspectives and ideas that can shape the future of the accounting profession. The #IgnitionPrecon party is our top choice. See you there!


  • Explore Breakout Sessions: Attend breakout sessions, especially those with App Partner exhibitors, to discover cutting-edge solutions to enhance your practice. 
  • Don’t forget to have fun! Prove that it won’t be all numbers and tech; accountants can party too! 

Find us at the ICC Sydney from August 23 to 24, 2023. We’d love to chat with you about our journey and how we can help your practice reach new heights. Relive the story of how we helped a 15-partner regional practice deliver 600 personal tax returns and boost their revenue by a staggering $300,000 during the tax season.

The clock is ticking, and the anticipation is building! Secure your spot at Xerocon Sydney 2023 by registering on the website. This is your chance to experience the future of accounting, network with industry experts, and explore groundbreaking solutions that can revolutionise your practice.

Let’s make Xerocon Sydney 2023 an unforgettable event together. We can’t wait to see you there! 

The AdvanceTrack team in India stepped up during Covid, when it really mattered. And MD Vipul Sheth knew that his longstanding team needed a special reward. This is the story of their life-changing trip abroad.

They say that professional services firms are nothing without their people. It makes sense that, for us at AdvanceTrack, the same saying rings true.

Quite rightly, we spend a lot of time talking about our operational excellence, and focus on processes, security and scalability. But these are underpinned by the technical expertise and work ethic of our people – without whom we wouldn’t be here.

With that in mind, MD Vipul Sheth discussed with our managers in India about a plan to reward and recognise some of our longstanding team members. A five-day trip to Dubai was then organised for 2021.

Covid got in the way of that plan, while Dubai’s global expo during 2022 meant that we had to hold off the holiday until 2023.

“The team never bugged me about whether the trip would actually happen, but there was no way it was going be off the cards,” explains Vipul. “We just had to be patient.”

First-time travel

And so, in April, some 37 of the AdvanceTrack team went on holiday together. And for 32 of these people, it was their first time abroad.

“When it was announced we were all very excited – a great treat,” says AdvanceTrack’s Mohit Soni.

“It wasn’t in our hands so we couldn’t assume anything about it. But it was fun, and no – I didn’t think I would have to work while we were away!”

The itinerary was a full one. There was a desert safari, cruises and city tours, along with free time for them to go shopping.

“They didn’t want me to have them in a conference room,” adds Vipul. “They chose to go to the waterpark instead!”

Team support

Aanal Shah has a young daughter, and was therefore reticent to travel. “But my colleagues said: ‘You must come. Don’t stop yourself.’ Everyone supported me on the holiday with her, and she enjoyed it too.”

“I would say that this is how it is working at AdvanceTrack. All the small things are taken care of for us – we don’t have to ask,” adds Mohit.

Vipul explains that he wanted to do something that “made us stand out as an organisation”.

“Part of that comes down to us giving opportunities that individually they might otherwise not have done,” says Vipul.

“The fact that we were able to offer that life-changing experience is really what it’s all about. It was an important thing to do.”

If you’d like to find out more about our team, how they work, and how we would work with you, please click here.

As the 2023 conference season kicks off in earnest, Vipul Sheth gauges the delegate (and software company) temperature after the cooling off of MTD.

It’s that time of year: when we ponder whether we’ll get a ‘proper’ summer, and the major accounting conferences begin.

First-off, it was wonderful celebrating 20 years of AdvanceTrack. This year, our conference was held in the magnificent British Museum (where we’ll be heading for 2024 too). 

Xero’s Jamie Eddy spoke of a three-pronged set of challenges and opportunities that practices must understand and leverage, namely: your reputation; managing your talent; and, therefore, your capacity to undertake work.

Our newly-appointed sales director Dermot Hamblin covered a range of topics, from how to manage change in your practice, through to new developments in the world of business and accounting technology.

Brian Coventry from Cloudcapcha spoke about the importance of differentiating your practice from others, and why capturing data from your clients allows you to offer a unique service.

I rounded off the event by reiterating that accountants have a great opportunity to make a difference to their clients – which means moving beyond the commoditised compliance services that all firms offer.

Accountex London

It was, by all accounts, a record-breaking show – certainly in terms of attendees. Of the show itself – the big players put in a lot of effort into their stands and presentations. In fact, there were presentations across 13 stands for the whole of the two days. 

While there was an element of a post-MTD lull, in that there were few big product announcements, it was noticeable how busy the aforementioned stages were. People were hungry for information. And this information wasn’t specifically ‘post-MTD’; instead, there was a range of strategic and operationally-themed sessions.

I was delighted to serve as a panellist on the ‘Are outsourcing and offshoring the solutions to the recruitment crisis?’ session. 

Ironically, some of the outsourcing session covered MTD’s impact on changing the way practices work with their clients, particularly around the increasing amount of bookkeeping that firms’ clients require. Advocate practitioners on the panel spoke of being unable to manage their workload with outsourcing support.

Vipul Sheth is MD and founder of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing

If you’d like to find out more about the pricing models for outsourcing and offshoring, please click here. Feel free to get in touch to speak to Vipul and the team. We’d love to help your practice develop and grow.

Being ‘purpose-driven’ isn’t a fluffy goal. Practices that set a strong direction are preparing to succeed, explains AdvanceTrack MD Vipul Sheth.

What is your practice’s purpose? You might say ‘it’s to create tax returns and accounts’. You could go bigger, bolder and broader: ‘To be the best accountancy firm in the world.’

I went to Australia a couple of weeks ago with a couple of tasks to undertake. Firstly, to help develop our standing; secondly, to attend the Clarity/Smithink/AdvanceTrack-sponsored ‘Accountants Re:Bootcamp’.

The bootcamp saw some 50 accountants gathered, across three days, to really question their approach to what their firm does.

It made the practice leaders delve into the fundamentals of what the practice is there for, and why – while challenging them to understand and prioritise what they need to change in terms of maintaining or improving its success.

And, to go through this process, the first thing that is broached is: ‘what’s your firm’s purpose?’

From my experience in both working in practice, and alongside side them as AdvanceTrack’s clients, I think many accountants struggle to nail down what their purpose is. A large proportion of them complete higher education and choose accountancy as a ‘good payer and solid career’. A vocation…? It is often not.

Some of the most successful accountants I (and AdvanceTrack) have worked with have an entrepreneurial background – in terms of parents and close family members. This drive and mission-focused mindset is supported by the financial and technical expertise they learn.

Making sure that tax returns and accounts are calculated correctly is very important. But, ultimately, practices end-clients see greater value from being supported in their various missions and ambitions.

Our purpose (or mission) is to support practices in their growth ambitions. We do this through providing high quality and secure outsourcing/offshoring services – while keeping front-of mind what their end-goal is.

Set your firm with an ambitious goal, and let us support you achieve that goal by handling your productivity burden.

Vipul Sheth is founder and MD of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing

If you’d like to chat to us about supporting your practice’s growth plans, then please contact us by clicking here.

Does MTD’s delay push back the digitisation of clients and, therefore, your practice? Kevin Reed discusses the big questions posed at QuickBooks Connect 2023.

There was an air of expectancy at the grand Old Billingsgate venue for QuickBooks Connect 2023.

Not only were new products and services to be announced by the software giant, the event was a chance for accountants to ‘air their views’ following the latest delay to MTD ITSA – and gauge what that delay meant to their firm and clients.

Firstly, the new tech. QB Practice Management is aiming to become the beating heart of practice’s tech stack. It will enable the centralisation of records, automate recurring tasks, and integrate in with clients’ books, offering accountants the chance to provide more valuable insight.

A new tool, Books to Tax, will help accountants to prepare and file both annual accounts and CT returns to Companies House and HMRC respectively. Bureau Payroll is QuickBooks’ first ever cloud payroll offering, which can link with ‘any’ financial management software.

HMRC criticism

Onto the talks. HMRC’s Mel Hume was on the receiving end of numerous pointed and critical questions regarding the latest MTD delay, during the MTD ITSA session. For example, one attendee asked: “Sending letters to HMRC is like snail mail. You want us to be digital…when are you going to do the same?” Another said their clients had “lost confidence” in HMRC’s digital plans.

Hume accepted the frustrations, and spoke of a new ‘co-creation strategy’: this will aim to give key parties (including software providers and the accountancy profession) more of a say in HMRC’s operational priority list.

Accountant Simon Brook, also on the MTD panel, said that his firm’s time on beta-testing MTD ITSA with clients had brought about value through “efficiency gains”. Frustratingly, only three quarters of filings had been made at this point.

Talking the talk

Perhaps as pertinent as efficiency – Brook spoke of altering his client message from ‘we must change how we do things because of MTD’ to ‘we must change because it will help you build a better business’.  

“My firm isn’t ‘working towards MTD’, we’re working to get our clients keeping records through QuickBooks.”

On communication, QuickBooks UK country manager Jolawn Victor (pictured at the event) said that part of the software provider’s role was to help accountants “understand their value and communicate that on”. “[Practitioners] say ‘help me train my clients to use the tools’.”

Take time to make time

Victor also noted that practitioners will always step in to help their clients fight fires, but she is keen for them to make time to focus on strategy and operations. In doing so, the more automated and systemised practices are, the freer time to better support clients.

Issues vs tech

The themes and messages that come out of an event such as QuickBooks Connect are driven by a number of factors: regulation; the economy; or a technological ‘leap’. AI was mentioned in a few conversations, but there was definitely a focus on how can firms get clients digitised, and keeping good records, without MTD as the ‘stick’.

And so, messaging and communication underpinned everything. There was the ‘time’ factor too – improving workflows and automating data capture should improve the practitioner’s ‘time hygiene’. And those same systems should be putting more valuable and insightful in front of the accountant. The Catch 22 is that, generally, accountants are time poor, because they have so much to do. So, clearing the diary to consider how to future-proof the practice (as pointed out by Victor) is a big ask.

It feels as if the technology is there – the myriad of transactional-focused exhibitors at the event were an illustration of that. It’s now about mindsets (practice and client alike), the messaging, and taking control of your own digital destiny.

Kevin Reed is editor of Financial Accountant and a freelance journalist.

If you’d like to transform your practice, then begin the conversation by clicking here.

AdvanceTrack’s previous article on managing MTD’s postponement is available here.

Practitioners will have to move out of the comfort zone if they wish their firm to be profitable and relevant in the near future. AdvanceTrack founder and MD Vipul Sheth explains why – and what you have to do to be valuable for your clients.

There is a sizeable proportion of practitioners who run ‘lifestyle’ practices. As owner-managers, lines will inevitably be blurred between how you live your life, and how those decisions impact on how your run your practice.

The term ‘lifestyle’, in this context, does admittedly have some negative connotations – of failing to spend the required amount of time or financial investment on the business. The vast majority of practice owners work hard and earn a decent living – but, in a time of great volatility (and competition), a focus on the practice as a business must be paramount.

And a key aspect of that is planning – looking forward. We have a government that is no longer handing out ‘free money’; in fact their current policies are about ‘squeezing’.

And then we have the digitisation of the tax system. While the self-assessment section of MTD has been delayed, there is an inevitability of both more frequent tax reporting and, ultimately, more frequent tax payments.

For businesses used to paying tax in arrears, then there will be a painful period in the not-so-distant future when we move to near-time payments – and that will mean a further cash crunch during the transition.
Digitisation, for the government anyway, is about both reporting transparency and collecting tax much closer to the transaction period.

HMRC will be able to assess situations more quickly – well, that will be its aim.

Time to prepare

So practices have to prepare. Your core compliance offering will become more technology- and process-led, but this doesn’t have to be all for the benefit of the tax authority. The beauty of all that information is, if used in the right way, you can create a more valuable and knowledge-driven service.

Helping clients improve their financial management is an obvious place to start, whether it is credit control or supporting the creation of management accounts. There is an array of services that will be driven by compliance. Growth often requires additional headcount and technology to happen, and such changes are not always easy for practitioners to deal with.

And, if you’re in a ‘comfort zone’ with your practice – it’s ticking along without actually trying to either win new business or expand/evolve its offering – then the future world will be really challenging. The government is ‘changing the rules’ as to what they want an accountant to do.

The development of the tax landscape is being made for the accountants’ benefit. But meeting the new brief does provide a catalyst for running your practice more successfully – and not just fulfilling compliance.

Finally, AdvanceTrack’s conference is aiming to enlighten and inform practitioners about how you approach transforming your practice. You hear from experts about building a vision, and inspiring you to make change happen. If you’d like to find out more, please click here. If you’d like to speak to us about your practice, please click here.

As a Midlander, and a keen sportsman (in my youth…actually into my 40’s), attending the Commonwealth Games was a no-brainer.

There was Eilish McColgan and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, both recovering from injuries and form to win thrilling golds. But, in the glow of these triumphs, our day-to-day living is getting harder – certainly more expensive.

Interest rates are ticking up, as are inflation and energy prices. A recession and rising costs equals unpalatable stagflation.

What does this all mean? You may ask. I certainly used my love of football last week to write about the Lionesses’s Euro win and the impact of vision and strategy to conquer all.

Well, this blog – as illustrated by many of the gold medal winners – is about determination, stamina and temperament. Accounting practitioners have to stay cool and calm – particularly when dealing with clients who are in a parlous financial condition. Accountants do have a grittier side though, one where they can tough things out – certainly many of you drag clients and the team through the 31 January self-assessment filing deadline (as well as showing the stamina to do it every year).

But where does toughing it out lead to? You can’t do it forever. Whether it’s the clients you deal with, the people that you work with, or the way that you’re working, sometimes things need to change or improve.

Understanding, accepting and appreciating that things are tough, is tough in itself. Whether you are tired, or your team are struggling to work as optimally as you’d like them to, is a big step in making things better.

After a tumultuous 30 months, it’s scary that there are more tough times ahead. But some of that Commonwealth Games-winning grit and determination – alongside some clever tweaking of how you operate your practice – will pay dividends.

AdvanceTrack works with practices that have survived the pandemic and come out the other side, those looking to grow and improve. I expect that direction will not change dramatically, despite the economic headwind.

If you’re determined to push your firm through that headwind and provide a gold medal service, then we’d love to help you achieve that.

Vipul Sheth is founder and MD of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing.

If you’d like to speak to us about improving your practice’s processes and workflow, contact us here.