Direct Management director Diane Lucas, said the shift from traditional bookkeeping work to consulting services such as setting up a business, rescue work, or streamlining business processes needed to be explained to clients as a higher value service.
“It really comes down to business owners respecting the expertise of the person they are dealing with and it also comes down to the bookkeeper to be able to articulate the value of what you're doing,” Ms Lucas said.
“The point that this is not a bookkeeping service per se as you would recognise as a traditional bookkeeping service, what you're after is of a much higher expertise requirement and therefore there's a cost associated with that.”
Ms Lucas, who recently won Bookkeeper of the Year at the inaugural Women in Finance Awards, said bookkeepers need to “draw a line in the sand” between traditional bookkeeping services and higher expertise services, and the difference in costs between the two.
“For example, someone comes in with three years of mess, their files are an absolute mess, bank accounts haven't been reconciled, payroll has never been reconciled — those sorts of things take time to go through and get things into order,” she added.
“[Businesses] might be doing things in a really old fashion backwards way and when you go in and identify better processes, streamline, introduce new software to basically enable freedom of time for the business to do other things, that's a lot of expertise coming from our side and a lot of people respect that knowledge and are prepared to pay for it, [while] other people expect it to be part of a $20 an hour bookkeeping service which is just not going to happen.
“You can't pay peanuts and expect to have good performance out of your bookkeeper.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.