As the Xero Roadshow reaches its final week – encouraging accountants and bookkeepers how to use technology as a product of their imagination – we asked Melanie Power, Head of Bookkeeping in Australia, why she does what she does and what she imagines for the future of the industry.
I get so excited when I’m asked to imagine what we can achieve through the worlds of technology, accounting and bookkeeping, and small business. As someone who started my own small business and keeps myself in the thick of changes in the accounting and bookkeeping industry, the future, for me, is a place where we remove more obstacles and unlock bold new possibilities for a nation of small business owners.
We already know small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They amaze me. Their ride is thrilling, but it’s not always easy. So as I imagine how we can better support the 2.1 million small businesses in Australia, I wanted to share my experience of how the journey can unfold, and how the changes we are making can build an even better future.
The starting place: oh the possibilities
Put yourself in the place where you’re imagining what life would be like running a small business – and you’re thinking about that incredible opportunity to become the ‘master of your destiny’. We often picture things in a dreamlike state, where we have the power to control what we do with our time, our lifestyle, and all the things that come with being in charge.
We’re so passionate about what we want to deliver to the people we want to help – and before we know it, we’ve already spent those nights hashing through the “Do I or Don’t I?” questions, and the business and revenue is in place.
So we take the plunge, experience that thrilling entrepreneurial spurt, and become a business owner! Exciting, hey?
Next: the dream becomes a reality
Once the dream becomes a reality, we are thrust into the thick of it. We’re doing what we love and helping solve people’s issues using the services and products we have developed. It’s so rewarding. But we didn’t plan on all the other stuff that comes with being in business.
‘Hmmm,’ you might think. ‘Those business manuals I read didn’t actually cover the fact that I have to manage people, handle administration and the godawful accounting that I know nothing about. I just want to deliver what I am good at.’
All of a sudden, a black cloud can develop and cover the passion of why you did this in the first place.
The reality of working in a small business can mean long hours where we don’t always get the lifestyle we planned. It can take a lot of hustle for a significant period of time to obtain growth – especially if you’re building a startup bootstrap style, like I did.
Sometimes, it’s just not quite what we expected.
This is when we start looking for others to provide a solution to our pain. How can we remove the things we aren’t good at and focus on the things we enjoy? An aversion to admin or accounting is often one of the first things to slow a new business down – especially when compliance is hovering. It’s a recipe for stress, and where some business owners lose the love for what they’re doing.
The help we need: space to imagine
As a small business owner, getting back to the basics and revisiting why you went into business in the first place is important and invigorating. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the doing of things, instead of the driving of things. As part of this, the tendency to be too hands-on and to micromanage creeps in – and the task of delegating becomes overwhelming.
Taking yourself out of the business to imagine and rediscover your ‘why’ is vital, because this is when the process of ‘imagineering’ can take place. That’s when you can make the space to blend imagination and engineering; where you can use systems and technology to bring your unique vision to life.
How we get there: make the tools work for us
But let’s get practical here for a moment. How can we make this happen in a more practical way? You need the very tools that are being bolstered through accounting, bookkeeping and technological innovations right now.
Here are five tips to get you started:
- Automate your business process – get started on Xero
- Connect with a Xero Advisor to help you design a business system
- Streamline your communications – keep emails and messages on one platform (say, Google) that allows integration with your business systems
- Get mobile – using Xero and cloud-based apps enables you to be free and on the move, so you aren’t tied to the desk or counter all the time
- Remember to live and be in the present. Take a break from your work passion and spend time with your life passion.
You can start your process of imagineering right now. We have thousands of Xero Advisors waiting to help you on this journey and you can find one in your local area.
I can only imagine what you might achieve when you do…