Cloud creates new horizon for bookkeepers
Before joining Xero five months ago I was a bookkeeper in New Zealand, now as an account manager based in Melbourne I get to witness how bookkeepers are changing the way they do business in the cloud.
For me the new online world was a great way to build a client base and passive income, but it also helped me service clients better and meant my time really was value for money. Nevertheless there are two big concerns that I keep hearing at conferences and these are often a topic of conversation on our LinkedIn group.
- Are bookkeepers becoming redundant with the rise of cloud accounting?
- Are bookkeepers going to lose income, as data processing becomes more efficient and we aren’t spending as much time on-site? (Remember, traditionally bookkeeping was an hours game.)
The short answer is NO to both of these. And the great thing is that progressive bookkeepers are starting to understand this.
Let’s deal with the redundancy problem first. Firstly not all bookkeepers do the same thing. Secondly accountants and business owners will not (and should not) replace bookkeepers. It’s widely accepted among small business owners that their focus should be “on the business”. The bookkeeper’s role is to help “in the business” – if they keep the house in order business owners can get on with what they are good at and what they went into business for. Like Sam from AccountsHQ says, “Business owners want to spend their time making money, not accounting for it”.
As for the income and efficiency dilemma, this is more of a mindset shift. If your accounting software is making your bookkeeping work more efficient and your productivity is increasing, this should not be regarded as a bad thing. On the contrary, you have an opportunity to reposition your work from mere (and boring!) data entry tasks to more value added offerings that are ultimately more sustainable and better for you and your clients.
From my experience, the on-site/off-site is not really an issue for business owners. Typically they would like to see the bookkeeper’s face (have you onsite) maybe once a month, but for them the important thing is that their business books are kept up to date, regardless of where the bookkeeper is sitting.
If you’re interested in this new business model and in particular building your online strategy, Wayne Schmidt holds a free webinar that covers this and provides other helpful tips.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, from all points of view.