Bookkeeping firms looking to secure longevity in the Australian market need to take a more open-minded approach to business opportunities than previous generations, which includes embracing working more closely with accounting practices, said Lielette Calleja, director at All That Counts.
“We’ve really got to start looking at forming strategic alliances, because the water is getting very grey and murky between bookkeepers and accountants,” Ms Calleja told Accountants Daily at the Intuit QuickBooks Connect conference in Sydney last week.
“We are moving into each other’s spaces, you can’t avoid that,” she said.
Considering the merits of offshoring is also a necessity, Ms Calleja said.
“Outsourcing is something that we have to look at. We can’t continue to bury our heads in the sand about that,” she said.
“People here, they want too much money, when they’ve only done a Cert 4, and I think that is an issue,” she said.
Outsourcing basic compliance work in particular will allow bookkeepers to focus on what adds “real” value to their clients, Ms Calleja said, which is management accounting.
“I look at compliance in the same way I look at what the internet did to journalism. The good ones were able to survive by discerning themselves from the bad,” Ms Calleja said.
“It’s all about understanding. If you’re just focused on compliance, you’re not going to add value to that client. You need to really understand. The system does the compliance work, let’s face it,” she said.
“The real work is in the management accounts. Looking at payroll, looking at the numbers, looking at the hours people are spending and converting that into some real ratios that a business can measure and improve,” she said.
“Looking at your data to make decisions for tomorrow — that’s the language i speak with my clients.”