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.