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Changing the face of bookkeepers

Knowing the joys and heartaches of starting and running my own bookkeeping business for 12 years, I’m delighted to be leading Xero Australia’s engagement with this sector.

Shortly I’ll take on the new role of National Sales Manager – Bookkeepers. Certainly the big attendance by bookkeepers at our recent roadshow across 30 locations supports our plans to increase our investment in this channel.

Cloud computing presents one of the greatest shifts in the way bookkeepers work by greatly reducing data entry tasks and empowering them to offer higher value services. Xero takes the view that we can help lead this change and together with the various professional bookkeeping associations in Australia we’ll focus on supporting and helping to grow this group.

Raising the bar

New legislation such as the Tax Agent Service Act 2009 requires any bookkeeper completing a Business Activity Statement (BAS) on behalf of a client to be a registered BAS agent with the Tax Practitioners Board. This coupled with new requirements around certification, such as Cert IV Bookkeeping, is weeding out operators who are not up to scratch. I believe the raising of standards – among other improvements – is not before time.

Around 35,000 bookkeeping businesses serve 2 million Australian small business clients. It’s this SME sector that contributes 46% of GDP, so anything we can do to improve bookkeeper productivity bodes well for the nation’s economic health. Good bookkeepers = well run small businesses = a stronger economy.

The cloud-enabled bookkeeper

While there has been much commentary on how beneficial the cloud is to accountants, there’s a good news story for bookkeepers too. For Abacus Solutions the change has been dramatic. “We went from three staff to ten in a year and a half and that’s due to the cloud and mostly Xero,” says Abacus founder and owner Tina Kaye.

I also like to think of Xero as a great collaborative platform that encourages bookkeepers to work more cohesively with both clients and accountants. Xero’s first gold bookkeeping partner Gillian Rossouw of Jill-of-All-Trades, is a case in point. She is just one of a new breed of tech-savvy bookkeepers who are finding that many of their leads are actually coming through accountants. Who would have thought?

Whether it is on the road, on a webinar, on Twitter or any other medium, I look forward to sharing more about our exciting plans in the weeks ahead.


Read more about Bookkeepers, Australia



Cecile Boulter
20 March 2012 #

Thank you Xero,
Xero has been and continue to be a great support and platform for bookkeepers. As for Gillian and other fellow bookkeepers, we are changing the face of bookkeeping. Accountants recognise our knowledge and our dedication to best practice.
The best is coming. Happy Bookkeeping!!

20 March 2012 #

So true Wayne. It can be a little hard to adjust your thinking but once you do, the possibilities are just mind-blowing. My niece runs a business interstate and I am currently talking to her about doing her accounts on Xero – something I could never have thought about previously. We are both very excited.

Darren McMahon
21 March 2012 #

I’m really looking forward to this. Wayne is definitely the man to take the bookkeeping profession forward. Make sure you take Anna with you. She’s a gem.

Julie Russell
21 March 2012 #

Xero has certainly changed my business dramatically, and those I now bookkeep for. Great to see Australia getting the support we have had from Xero in the last four years – the more we can help each other, the better!

Michelle Harrison
21 March 2012 #

Bring it on!!!!!

Gayle Buchanan
21 March 2012 #

Ditto to all the BookKeepers also thanks to for us kiwis and all the work to date to raise the bar here in NZ. Well done East Island (lol) and congratulations Wayne.

Elizabeth Salter
23 March 2012 #

Ditto from me as well with everyone’s comments. I love the direction that Xero & the cloud is taking our industry. And you’re the best man for the job, Wayne. :)

Tina Kaye
23 March 2012 #

Glad you are still taking care of us BK’s Wayne… you are the “Big Daddy of Bookkeepers”.

Kathy-maree Bartle
23 March 2012 #

Congratulations, glad to see someone in there to bat for us. I enjoy your webinars, your talks and YOUR SHINY shoes.

Mike Deam
26 March 2012 #

Congratulations to Jill of All Trades on the Gold Status and most importantly to Wayne and Xero who have enabled us all. The journey thus far has been fantastic, it’s the journey to come that excites me. Looking forward to Xerocon. It’s just such an exciting space to work in.

Charmaine Perry
26 March 2012 #

Great article and great to see a dedicated arm at Xero for bookkeepers, am looking forward to getting to a silver member by the end of the year.

28 May 2012 #

I totally agree with your comments in regard to bookkeeping requirements however I also think the Cert IV is insufficient, they should at least hold a diploma. I tend to get alot of work that has been prepared by a bookkeeper who has got it all wrong and I find they are lacking in understanding what is deductible and what is not and what is subject to GST. So maybe the Tax board needs to do some more research on the qualifications. Also there is not enough advertising on the requirments for businesses to be able to find the right bookkeeper.

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