Denis Breen, Ireland's first Xero Gold Partner and owner of Waterford-based accounting firm Denis Breen & Company, says the old model of providing accounting services is flawed. Luckily, he says online accounting is revolutionising the process.

With Xero, accountants can give small businesses clients a very good idea of what their taxes might be months ahead of time.

Accountants can also help owners figure out what they are going to do with their business in the long term – looking not just at tax figures, but at profitability, cost structure, margins and balance sheets.

"To say that people are empowered by an accounting system seems a little far-fetched. But you wouldn't believe how isolating the world of a self-employed person is... when you give them the tools to be able to get the job 100% percent done and add clarity to their financials, they're a different person," Dennis says.

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