Bookkeepers: not just bean counters, but entrepreneurs

The bookkeeping profession is changing, and quickly. Technology is transforming the way a bookkeeper has traditionally worked: less focus on data entry, more focus on making sense of the financial data. Many companies value the advice their bookkeepers can give them, e.g. on how to improve their accounts receivables performance – much more than merely compiling a set of books.

Nowadays, entrepreneurial bookkeepers can take advantage of cloud-based bookkeeping solutions to take a more proactive role in each business’s financial affairs. Unlike traditional bookkeeping software, these systems combine a degree of self-learning, which reduces the data entry workload, with integrated, collaborative workflows between bookkeepers and their clients. This fundamentally transforms the way bookkeepers and clients can interact on a day to day basis.

For the bookkeeper, the cloud model delivers real time access to client information, enabling continuous review of the financials, and immediate remediation of problems. This approach can transform the value of the service offered to clients. The bookkeeper can focus on being a real partner for businesses, helping them with their financial performance.

However, for bookkeepers, it may mean moving out of the comfort zone: if data entry was your bread and butter, they may have to flex and train on consultative muscle to become a trusted business partner. This is likely to appeal to entrepreneurial bookkeepers who are keen and confident to embark upon new business practices and exploit technology innovation; individuals who recognise that the next 30 years of their working lives will not be sustained by traditional bookkeeping models.

Also, bookkeepers should think about changing the way they interact with clients. Using online technology, it is possible to display reports and KPIs directly to the client – an easy way to help them understand their financial performance. Companies will appreciate the additional service, which in fact does not cost the bookkeeper much in addition.

Bookkeeping is without doubt one of the most important professional services, especially for companies that cannot justify a dedicated accountant or finance expert. There is now a real opportunity for bookkeepers to take control, evolve beyond traditional bookkeeping and take advantage of existing expertise to create and deliver a more valuable service.

Barbara Kroll, managing director, Twinfield UK. Follow @TwinfieldUK or search for ‘Twinfield UK’ on Facebook

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