Will technology in 2018 be a friend or foe to Australian bookkeepers?
Technology must be a friend to all Australian bookkeepers in 2018. We need to stop seeing technology as the enemy and embrace it for what it is. It has allowed many bookkeepers to transition into roles that would never have been available without the use of user-friendly, stress-free technology. Many bookkeepers have taken advantage of the automation tech brings and are now ahead of the game; re-marketing themselves as cloud integrators, small business advisers or virtual CFOs.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for Australian bookkeepers in 2018?
The mindset was historically a challenge, but I believe a majority of bookkeepers in Australia have accepted that desktop applications are a thing of the past. We see less and less denial in this space. Bookkeepers know that smart software will replace the manual work such as bookkeeping and standard month-end closeouts. As our clients evolve so will the expectation of bookkeepers. The challenge is: can all bookkeepers change that will enable them to meet the more demanding and comprehensive requests from business owners?
What do you think the biggest opportunity for Australian bookkeepers will be in 2018?
The opportunity for bookkeepers is the expectation. All professional bookkeepers and even accountants will be expected to look beyond the numbers. The smart accounting software will make it easy for business owners to use but not skilled enough to interpret the numbers.
Here is a massive opportunity to collaborate and partner with key stakeholders in other parts of the business to strategise and explain the numbers. Providing insight and analysis is the expectation. Helping companies to achieve their goals by using both financial and non-financial data is where bookkeeper takes on the role of a small business adviser. It's an opportunity cost for bookkeepers, but it also gives small business a better chance of success when they work with a bookkeeper that has transitioned and is skilled in that space.
As a bookkeeping firm, you need to be consistently perfecting your workflow with the use of innovative tools or just a simple change in process would allow growth and scalability without increasing headcount.
How do you see the business of bookkeeping evolving in 2018?
Diversifying is an area that all bookkeepers should consider. It’s not enough to believe that you are adding value by just providing a standard bookkeeping service. We may get away with that for another year or two, but business owners are becoming savvier and more hands-on with their accounting programs.
Bookkeepers would do well to start specialising in different areas:
• Payroll implementation
• Payroll processing
• Cloud integration of different apps
• Point of sales systems
• Inventory and warehousing
• Virtual CFOs for small business
These additional services will complement the bookkeeping side of the business and will provide a new income stream to leverage off.