Being a bookkeeper requires many different skills. From the obvious passion for numbers to the everyday business requirements like dealing with clients, meeting deadlines and rescuing books from the dark ages – not to mention marketing your business and doing your own business administration and management. But one of the most critical things a bookkeeper needs to manage is keeping up to date with the latest developments in legislation and software.
For example, according to the ATO website, in April this year, there were approximately 28 proposed changes to tax and superannuation laws in the 2019–20 Budget. In December last year, the government proposed the 2018–19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) where approximately 37 amendments to existing laws were introduced. That’s over 60 critical changes to your business, proposed in just 5 months. All these proposals were announced but not enacted before the election. When exactly they are made into law is at the whim of parliament. But it remains the sole responsibility of the bookkeeper to follow the proposed changes into actual legislation.
There are also software developments to monitor. There are four main accounting software systems most businesses use, and each of these has hundreds of different add-ons and niche management systems, all claiming to save time and money – once you figure out how to use and integrate them. Each software manufacturer is continually developing new technologies that will help streamline the bookkeeping and accounting process, and when you consider the industry revolutionising cloud accounting systems, have only been around since 2008 – imagine where bookkeeping will be in another ten years time with AI developments!
So how do you stay abreast of new technology developments, new laws, new taxes, new payroll requirements? How do you provide your clients with up-to-date information? An independent bookkeeper needs to make time to figure out this information on their own, allocating a day a week, if not more to monitoring (and interpreting) the ATO’s website, keeping in contact with software representatives to negotiate better terms and manage updates. They are figuring out problems on their own, with perhaps a small circle of accountants or industry connections to ask questions to, sourcing and funding their own professional learning.
Its a side of bookkeeping that is rarely mentioned, and one that people often don’t think about before they set off on their own.
But updates and training are all managed quite differently at First Class Accounts. Here we have a team of industry specialists, whose job it is to track and report industry changes to franchisees. We run Quarterly State Workshops – at no cost to the franchisee – where our support team and business leaders travel to each state to deliver workshops and training on new legislation, software developments and updates to the continuously evolving industry standards. These sessions are not just a chance to connect and learn from the Head Office support and management teams, but it’s a way to socialise and network with other bookkeeping professionals and fellow business owners who understand your business and are there to support each other.
The First Class Accounts support team is on call at all times to help all franchisees with complex issues, and there is an extensive intranet network, where franchisees can connect, share problems or discoveries, a place to ask for help, to provide help, to ask questions and share a laugh. The support system is as much about solving problems and keeping everybody informed, as it is about being there to celebrate wins – something which can be missing as a business owner or sole trader.
In addition to quarterly workshops and continual head office support, there is also a yearly conference, where franchisees gather from all over Australia, to come together (often at an exotic location!) to connect, relax, celebrate and receive business support and advice from industry leaders.
Working for yourself has its advantages, but working as part of this franchise network has even more benefits. In the First Class Accounts network, there is the opportunity to run and grow your business how YOU want to, while always being supported by a knowledgeable, patient and caring head office team.
To find out how we can support you and help you grow your business, click here