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Accountants warned on exploiting bookkeeping ‘cash cow’

Accountants should exercise caution lumping bookkeeping services as part of their service offering without considering the different skill set required to deliver the offering, warns a bookkeeper.

Bookkeeper Jotham Lian 27 February 2019
— 1 minute read

Speaking to The Bookkeeper, All That Counts director Lielette Calleja said she has seen the emergence of accounting firms who look to offer a bookkeeping service to clients as part of their overall service offerings but fail to understand the diligence required.


She said she has had to field phone calls from disgruntled clients who feel let down by the bookkeeping service they have been receiving from accounting firms.

“The people that are worse off are the clients because accountants are not focused on a business’ processes, they are only focused on the numbers and what they think is an automated data service role,” said Ms Calleja.

“Bookkeepers tend to work a lot closer with the clients on their business, on their process; how can we do things better and faster?  Whereas I don’t think accountants are equipped in that space.”

While Ms Calleja believes accountants should not stop providing bookkeeping services, she is hoping for firms to realise that it is a service that requires a dedicated team.

“A lot of them just see bookkeeping as a cash cow so they hire a bookkeeper within the business or they get their graduates to do the bookkeeping,” said Ms Calleja.

“I’m not against accountants doing bookkeeping but I do believe there is an opportunity for an accountant to say we want to put a bookkeeping arm in our business but let’s look at an existing bookkeeping firm and buy that or morph that into our business but let’s still have it as a standalone skillset rather than an add-on because they are two different skill sets.

“Clients do want a one-stop shop and I get that but I think there is a much better way to provide that service so the client can still get the best person working on the file,” she added.

“Accountants are also realising that if they don’t do it properly they risk losing their tax clients and their bookkeeping clients because you have them tied into you for everything.”

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Accountants warned on exploiting bookkeeping ‘cash cow’
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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

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.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.