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Financial doctors and nurses

Posted 7 years ago in Advisors by Adam Moore
Posted by Adam Moore

Guest post by Kirsten Hawke of Business Buddy

At Business Buddy we like to think of accountants and bookkeepers as doctors and nurses. Both are extremely valuable to our clients, and neither would be as effective without the other.

Bookkeepers are like nurses. They take care of daily tasks and have great “bedside” (or deskside) manner. Accountants, on the other hand, are like doctors who diagnose the patient and recommend treatment options. The bookkeeper makes sure the accountant has the best-possible view of the patient’s symptoms while the accountant makes sure everyone’s doing the right thing to make the patient stronger.

How it works

When we bring a new client on Xero, they work with a bookkeeper first. Like a nurse, the bookkeeper does a first assessment and gets clients stable and comfortable. Or, in our case, gets them up and running on Xero. They get bank feeds set up and keep a close eye on our clients for eight weeks to make sure everything’s ticking along the way it should.

Gayle Buchanan is a great example of this in action. She loves to keep things tidy and her bookkeeping prowess is all about coaching SME clients to keep their data clean.

This means that our accountants can always rely on clean data, because not only do clients have a bookkeeper helping them, they’re also learning skills they need to keep it clean on their own.

That clean data helps them quickly make an accurate diagnosis. And with an accurate diagnosis, they can recommend the best possible treatment. To put that in business terms, it means everyone’s spending their time where it adds the most possible value.  Accountants don’t have to waste their time going through scraggly invoices, and bookkeepers always get an opportunity to focus their razor-sharp attention to detail where it’s needed.

Cloud treatment

None of this would have been possible in the old days of desktop software.  All the efficiencies we gain by focussing our abilities where they’re specialised would have been obliterated by the process of transferring data files back and forth.

Entering transactions into a single ledger once means the data doesn’t need to be re-entered by an accountant. The bookkeeper makes it nice and clean, and all the accountant has to do is look at it.

The end result? Everyone at Business Buddy gets access to the revenue streams that harness their expertise. More importantly, we get to deliver the best possible service to clients. And when our clients are happy, they keep coming back for more.



Gayle Buchanan
November 12, 2012 at 4.10 pm

As a community, we (meaning Xero bookkeepers and accountants) have a huge opportunity to help SME owners grow themselves and their businesses, but we have to do that TOGETHER.
Show those owners collaborative value and we both get life long customers and ultimately a stronger economy.
Kirsten, thank you so much for the trust and belief. You just Rock!

Elizabeth Salter
November 12, 2012 at 4.14 pm

I love this analogy!

Heidi Seal
November 12, 2012 at 4.50 pm

Excellent post Kirsten. As a Xero Bookkeeper I am always looking for good accountants to work alongside with. It goes both ways – I have clients who aren’t yet connected in with an accountant (and prefer a Xero accountant), and I know there are accountants out there who need a trusted hand with onboarding Xero clients seamlessly and keeping their data clean. Let’s work together folks!

Teresa Johnson
November 12, 2012 at 5.22 pm

I agree – the analogy works well. I work on the same basis with accountants, the partnership is really synergetic and the client gets a great deal with a well-priced combined skill-base.
I love that so many accountants are actively encouraging their clients to use bookkeepers and in turn we are bringing our own clients to the accountants!

David Barton
November 13, 2012 at 6.39 am

Kirsten et al – really good way to describe the relationship between bookkeepers, accountants and the client

November 13, 2012 at 6.54 am

Brilliant analogy..This sort of post turns the lights on!

Gillian Rossouw
November 13, 2012 at 11.00 am

Fantastic post @Sam and @Kirsten excellent. Congratulations to the lovely Gayle who is so proactive with her Linkedin postings comments and welcoming all new accountants and bookkeepers. Gayle certainly goes that extra mile welcoming new users, bookkeepers and partners.

Kevin McCoy
November 14, 2012 at 2.31 am

I’ll go one step further. We must help our small business clients learn to use our services like this blog suggests (doctors or nurses) so they are proactive rather than reactive. Reactive clients (patients) use the Emergency Room and EMTs/ambulances when things go bad and changing course is nearly impossible. I’ve seen this way too much in my career as a CPA, clients either trying to Google a solution or coming to us after the fact, when a short conversation up front would have made all the difference.

Sholto Macpherson
November 20, 2012 at 8.02 am

Great post, Kirsten.

Bhaskar Bitra
November 22, 2012 at 3.24 pm

Love this

Books Onsite Bookkeeping Brisbane
December 11, 2012 at 5.17 pm

I’ll also take the analogy one step further. A nurse costs a lot less than a Doctor. If you have a great nurse then you will have less need to see a doctor and when you do, their time to treat you should be less. It’s the same if you have a great bookkeeper who can take care of your more advanced bookkeeping requirements lie your fixed asset register, management reports and your BAS’s- then your Tax Accountant should not need to spend as many hours on your accounts at year end.
Tim Johnston

Accountants Birmingham
October 2, 2013 at 12.29 am

Kirsten this is a brilliant way of looking at accounting. Too many people fail to realise just how helpful the right service can be, i genuinely haven’t read an article that puts it quite as well as this. Very user friendly! -Ben

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