Bookkeeping is changing! The advent of cloud bookkeeping services like Xero and NetSuite means that the repetitious and time-consuming manual part of bookkeeping is no longer the work of specialists. For some bookkeepers this is a challenge as they don’t have the skills and experience to meet the strategic and analysis needs of businesses. For other bookkeepers this means the opportunity to do more than just check numbers and make sure they add up. I’m one of the latter type. My first love has always been business strategy and analysis and advising clients on how to get the greatest mileage out of their revenue.
In a previous blog, I wrote about the value of a Virtual CFO and how it could be a cost-effective investment for many businesses who were not ready to hire a full-time CFO, but needed more support than just bookkeeping or accounting. This analysis of the role of a VCFO is still valid.
What Does This Mean For Bookkeepers?
The truth is that in a properly set up Xero account just about anyone can reconcile your bank statements accurately in a few minutes per day with a little training. However, that is just the start of a bookkeeper’s responsibilities. You can now add far more value to your clients’ businesses by providing strategic advice on how to grow their business by leveraging positive cashflow and being pro-active in your advice because you have more time to spend on analysis.
As a bookkeeper, this means that if you don’t already have the strategic analysis and business advisory skills you need to do whatever it takes to develop them… unless you want to end up working for lower and lower wages. If you already have these skills, but are not offering them to your clients, I suggest you learn them now. If that means more study, then get studying so you don’t get left behind.
Most of your clients will be delighted to hear your advice, and, since you are thoroughly familiar with their cash position and business cycles you should be in a position to add enormous value. Several of my own client have been able to achieve dramatic growth simply because I was so familiar with their business cycle and cash position that I was able to spot trends that no one else was close enough to see.
Many bookkeepers, like me, are actually qualified accountants and enjoy analysing the figures and providing this level of strategic business advice for the benefit of their clients.
What Does This Mean For Clients?
It means that you should consider demanding more from your bookkeeper than data-entry and standard reports. To gain the greatest value from your bookkeeper you ought to ask for strategic analysis and advice because you bookkeeper is uniquely placed to understand the fluctuations and cycles in your business and demonstrate how you can take advantage of them.
With advances in technology and the tools available today, I would go so far as to say that if your bookkeeper isn’t provided this level of advice, it’s time to demand that they do so, or (if they don’t have the skills and knowledge to do so) look for someone else who can.
Cloud CFO provides customised CFO, and accounting services to small and medium businesses who want to outsource some or all of their financial management. If you would like advice on how your bookkeeper can help grow your business through strategic business advice, contact us.