You wouldn’t pay your clients bank debt, but are you paying for your client’s “data debt”?

With the rapid uptick in compliance and business practices to accommodate COVID-19, the pressure is non-stop for accountants and advisors everywhere.

The knock-on effect for the ever-increasing workload for business advisory teams is significant. The new normal feels like a lot of low-value grunt work. The sheer volume of work required to validate client data files and offer the client an accurate snapshot of their business status can be overwhelming

Is it time to pass back the buck?

Oh, yes, it is. Because It’s not just COVID-19 that has made the advisors job more challenging.

Consider the widespread uptake of user-friendly online bookkeeping software such as Xero. When a platform has the power to upload automatic banking feeds, transactions are reconciled at break-neck speed. There is no room for pause.

What advisors are finding is the already significant problem of human error combined with instant reconciliation can equal disaster for data integrity. When a client is unable to press the ‘pause button”, garbage dumps into the system and the advisory teams are required to either:

  1. Become de-facto janitors; or
  2. Work with dirty data.
Data integrity is what you need

Working with dirty data is simply not an option. So the advisor is forced to clean it up, one item at a time. This time required to improve the integrity and quality of accounting data is “data debt’ — the unseen (but genuine) time cost associated with improving the quality of accounting data to a usable standard.

Is data debt your cost to bear? (No, it is not).

Data debt belongs to the client. It is their Xero accounting file. Their dirty data. Their duplicate transitions. Their inconsistent work practices. And yet, the current state of the client-advisor relationship tells a different story: Correcting client data before commencing billable work is standard practice. Writing the clean-up off as unbillable is customary. The advisors bear the costs. And everyone, including the client, loses.

Take back some credit; It doesn’t have to be this way. allows you to see the integrity and quality of the clients Xero data file BEFORE completing any work.  The speed and functionality of Zerlock will enable an advisor to quickly identify and estimate the cost of the data debt present in a client’s file.

Their data = their debt.

Zerlock’s reporting functionality allows an advisor to have a conversation with the client about data integrity, the true cost of dirty data, and the opportunity a clean-up can present. Together, a client and their advisor can start to work together to improve it for good.

An advisor can explain what data debt is in the first place, what it looks like, what is it costing them is a conversion every advisor wants to have but has no data to back up the discussion. That is the Zerlock advantage: Making the “dirt” understandable, tangible, and out of the shadows.

The way forward…

Once the debt can be discussed as an opportunity a client can choose to correct the work themselves or agree to an additional fee for the advisor to undertake the extra work.

There are no losers in this transaction; only winners. And far, far happier advisors who can start to take their practice to the next level and throw those janitor keys away for good.

There is no loss with Zerlock. For more information about the featured Xero Marketplace app that will take your business, and your client’s business to the next level, contact us today or visit for a free trial. 

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