Speaking to The Bookkeeper, Australian Accounting Awards 2019 Bookkeeper of the Year Martine Hoosen said feedback from the industry shows that accountants are increasingly looking to offer bookkeeping services in-house, tightening competition in the market.
“We’re moving into a time where there is a lot of competition now from the bigger accounting firms, where they’ve set up their offshore teams, and they can package up bookkeeping services into their fixed fees,” Ms Hoosen said.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of bookkeepers over the last 12 months who aren’t getting referrals from accountants anymore because the accountants are now suddenly seeing this as a real revenue stream for their businesses.
“Having to compete with that price point is becoming a real issue for a lot of bookkeepers, and reduction in referrals that we are getting from accounting firms is a big issue.”
Her sentiment has been shared by others in the industry who have pushed back on the view of bookkeeping as a “cash cow”.
Instead, Ms Hoosen believes bookkeepers should capitalise on areas where accountants may be lacking in, including being experts in technology.
“There is a huge amount of opportunity that the accounting industry software providers give to bookkeepers, where so much of their training is free; they want us to use their products and suddenly you are a real expert in these technology products that we can ply to our clients,” Ms Hoosen said.
“There is a real opportunity for bookkeepers to really partner with them because that’s where I think the accounting firms are a little bit lacking — they are not really up to speed with the add-ons, the things that you can integrate and live-feed data in the software you are using.”