The Revolutionary Firm co-founder Melanie Power believes bookkeepers can draw a direct comparison with the taxi industry and Uber in the same way technology has disrupted the bookkeeping industry, with those who have yet to pick up on the curve potentially struggling.
“It's a personal decision really about how you want to run your own business and that's why people go into business in the first place but I think it gets back to 'how can I future-proof my business?,” said Ms Power.
“The technology isn't going to go away and it's not just our industry, it's across the whole board.
“[Bookkeepers who are slow to take up technology] may be quite set with their own client base and they might be happy but when the time comes to have a succession plan, or their clients’ business grows, or there might be other bookkeepers that are starting to position their services to their clients, that's where it can become tough.”
However, Ms Power believes that the traditional bookkeeper can continue to thrive if they are able to sufficiently position their value to clients.
Bookkeepers servicing small businesses in particular, need to be able to market their value-added services if they wish to be competitive among an increasingly outsourced and technology-driven space, according to Ms Power.
“I think there's still that perception when you look at a bookkeeper you get that little old lady sitting in a corner doing data entry and I think as an industry it is up to us to kind of break that perception,” Ms Power said.
“You're competing with outsourced teams, people who can do things very cheaply and very quickly so as a smaller practice, we've got to be really particular about what is our unique point of difference, how can we explain to our clients that this is the value that you get when you're working with us.
“At the end of the day, bookkeepers are valuable because we're right on the ground with the client — we know what's going on, that unique opportunity to really see what a lot of pain points are for businesses and then be able to provide solutions to help solve those things.”
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.