“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
The Future of Bookkeeping is…
One of the most interesting insights to come out of our Annual Survey was about the future of the bookkeeping industry. It’s a much-lauded discussion, with technology being the driver for most of the change. Is bookkeeping dead? The headlines ask. Cue the panic and doomsayers pouncing on our fear of being obsolete, a fear that is especially keen in the minds of anyone over the age of 50! Technology can be confusing, confronting, and belittling (nothing like having your 13-year-old grandchild explain new software to you!) and here it is, changing the face of our industry, our lives, our society.
But I guess that was what was so surprising and inspiring about the survey results. When asked to comment on the future of the bookkeeping industry, our franchisees were overwhelmingly positive. Sure, there had been advances in technology which have made some of our tasks redundant. There are certainly some of your clients who have jumped on the ‘DIY’ bandwagon thanks to the user-friendly interfaces of programs like Xero. But overall, these changes have meant more efficient systems, which means more time for bookkeepers to grow into something more.
“It is exciting that bookkeepers are becoming more skilled and qualified. Businesses respect our input even more and I believe this will increase in the future.” – First Class Accounts franchisee
The future of bookkeeping is bright because bookkeepers are born investigators. We never take something at face value, numbers might never lie, but they don’t tell the entire story. More efficiency might mean less billable hours for processing, but it means more time to investigate, to develop new systems for a business, to become more than a data entry clerk, instead take on the role of consultant, trainer, and analyser.
At a recent Xerocon conference, guest speaker Vicki Stylianou from the Institute of Public Accountants Australia said the IPA had identified six key growth areas for the future of bookkeeping in Australasia: management and consulting services, business advisory, superannuation, wealth management, financial planning and tax consulting. All of these areas now fall into the realm of bookkeepers, and based on your responses to our survey, that is a very good thing!
There is so much noise about ‘jumping on the boat before you miss it’. But instead of adapting through fear, jump into the technology-driven future because you are gaining new insights, new responsibilities and a new direction for your business. Being stagnate in our business approach is the only way bookkeeping will go the way of the dinosaurs.
“Thank heavens (no pun intended!!) for the cloud and the ability to work remotely.” – First Class Accounts franchisee
Up to us…
We became bookkeepers in our own businesses for control over our own destiny and our hard work won’t be eradicated because of some snazzy software marketing. Instead, cloud-based accounting allows us more freedom. More freedom to carve out the work/life balance we desire, more freedom to grow our skills and direction.
By becoming more efficient, we have a choice – do more to make up the difference, or do less and enjoy the slower pace. We don’t have to spend hours in the car, lugging paperwork across town. Our daily life will change, but we still keep the elements we love – helping people and their businesses grow.
We have the time to be more investigative, to consult with our clients about their future, their direction. Which means we become more of a part of their business, rather than a monthly drop-in to wrap someone over the knuckles for keeping their receipts in a shoebox! Training will also become a vital service in our future. If a client does decide to DIY, they will still need to be trained in how to use their new systems to get the most out of them.
Ultimately, new technologies and new software programs won’t be the death of bookkeeping, but they will be the facilitators of change. How we manage those changes, is up to us.
“The move to cloud was always coming and will continue to do so – embrace it!” – First Class Accounts franchisee
Join in the discussion and have your say! How has technology made your business more efficient? Comment below and let us know your ideas on the future of bookkeeping.