As a bookkeeper, I obviously think that bookkeeping is a critical part of your business. One of the most concerning attitudes I find in SMEs is the idea that bookkeeping is a peripheral service: nice to have, mostly to keep your accountant happy. This could not be further from the truth!
Every viable business has 2 main goals apart from the delivery of their core product or service and the fulfilment of their mission:
1. To improve their sales and profitability;
2. To keep costs low and streamline administration without compromising accuracy.
Your bookkeeper should be helping you achieve these goals, not merely tracking your entries.
Before I start working with a client, we have a meeting to discuss their business goals and objectives including their financial targets. Many of them say, “I thought that book keepers just tracked the incoming and outgoing figures and made sure we were compliant, I didn’t realise they were concerned with why we were doing business, what we wanted to achieve, and how we were going.” The problem is, many bookkeepers aren’t interested in these things which may mean they can charge lower prices, but it also means that you don’t reap the benefits you should from their services.
The Changing Role of Bookkeepers
Back in 2012 when I first started working in the Cloud, I recognised the transformative power of Xero for SME bookkeeping and business management. As Xero itself has grown, and more companies have created Xero add-ons its value as a business-growth tool has increased. Over the past year I’ve been part of the ‘Grow Your Practice’ webinar series for bookkeepers which has looked at the changing face of bookkeeping and the many ways in which Cloud services like Xero enable us to deliver even greater value to our clients.
If you run a growing business, and your bookkeeper is simply doing data-entry, then you are really missing out on an opportunity to accelerate your growth and streamline your systems and processes. The budgeting, cashflow management, and reporting tools, not to mention inventory; CRM and Point of Sale can all be implemented through Xero and it’s add ons enabling you to get more accurate reports much faster than ever before.
Meaning, Purpose, and Vision
At Xerocon South this September, I’ll be speaking to other bookkeepers about how to help them set goals and understand their ‘why’… and the reason why bookkeepers specifically should address these topics when setting up their business
The reality is that Xero and its add on marketplace are transforming the speed and capabilities at which SMEs can manage their finances. The highly sophisticated, real-time, reporting potential that Xero provides was the province of incredibly expensive custom-built software less than 5 years ago, and any business which can leverage these tools has enormous potential for rapid growth and development.
As a Xero bookkeeper, when you sit down with your client or prospect and ask them why they’re in business, and what specific goals they want to achieve in one, two, five, or ten years, you are then in a position to advise them about what add-ons they can use to streamline their reporting and administration needs and how they can use this information most effectively to accelerate their progress towards their goals.
One of my clients was trying to make his pricing model both fair and profitable. By integrating Crunchboards & Floatapps with Xero we were able to pinpoint where he was experiencing low margins and address the issue quickly. As a result, he has been able to improve profitability substantially, and transform some break-even aspects of his business into winners.
This is just one of the many ways a forward-thinking bookkeeper can accelerate your business growth. It’s also the reason why Xerocon and ongoing education is critical. In today’s rapidly changing technological landscape there are always new ways to leverage your tools to save money and increase your profits. The most effective bookkeepers know this, and they are investing in their development so that they can add more value to their clients. So when your bookkeeper comes back from Xerocon 2016 in September, ask them what they learned that could help your business grow.
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 are not sure about your bookkeeping and tax obligations there is still time to talk to us before the end of the financial year.