Increased demand in reporting translates to industry opportunity making the Bookkeeper the Modern Advisor. Two recent surveys provide interesting insights into the changing demands from business owners and the steps bookkeepers are taking to satisfy them. Younger business owners are more than twice as likely to want budgeting and forecasting services as their older counterparts and there has been a 50% increase in bookkeepers providing this service in the last 12 months.
The first survey, the Millennial Business Owner Survey Special Report, is fascinating reading and shows that younger business owners are much more likely than baby-boomers to want not just budgeting and forecasting reporting (23% compared to 9%) but also CFO services (31% to 10%), bill payment (22% to 8%) and invoicing (20% to 4%). While older business owners prefer to keep those services in-house, the younger ones would rather outsource them and focus on growing the business. Reporting “ranks as a top-three frustration for all age groups.” [p 10]
The younger business owners are particularly keen to work with professionals who speak their language and are willing to explain the numbers to them, helping them understand the reports they get.
Management Reporting on the Move
Meanwhile, ABN, the Australian Bookkeepers Network, surveyed several hundred bookkeepers, both their own members and those from other associations, as they do every year. Their Bookkeeping Business Benchmark Report is an annual guide to the changes in the industry and a must-read for anyone interested in the data, not just speculation.
The report clearly shows that “consulting work in the form of management reporting, cashflows and budgeting, software analysis and installation were big movers in service offerings for 2017.” [p5]
Almost two thirds of the bookkeepers surveyed are providing some reporting services to their clients and revenue from this area has grown from 6% to 9% of the total. Bookkeepers are ideally placed to provide this type of service to their clients. They know the accounting data is up to date (we all know that you need a good foundation for management reports!). And they are generally in regular contact with the client.
Using Software to Streamline
By using good software to streamline the process of reporting, bookkeepers can respond to the demand from their clients. Especially the younger ones, and give them the information they need to make better decisions in their businesses.
It was pleasing to note that Calxa was listed as a reporting solution in the “10 most popular add-ons”!
If you want to learn more about how Calxa can help you provide your clients with better reporting, join one of our regular Power of Calxa for your Practice webinars.