The modern bookkeeper is a term that has developed over the past 10 years. During this period, the bookkeeping industry has undergone a vast transformation. In part, technology has forced businesses to onboard to new systems. Engaging modern bookkeeping services has become a necessity for many businesses. Which in turn, has required the expertise of accounting professionals to guide their clients along the way.
Adding these new layers of administration to their businesses, has advanced the bookkeeping industry into its own profession. As keeping a good set of books has become more important for businesses, it has facilitated the outsourcing of this task. Hence, today, the modern bookkeeper is great demand.
But, how do you transition to become a modern bookkeeper?
What is The Modern Bookkeeper?
There are a few ingredients that distinguish the modern bookkeeping practice from others in the industry. In fact, there are 5 important ingredients that come to mind:
- Working in the cloud.
- Offering value pricing.
- Employing Millennials.
- Ability to operate anywhere
- Acting on a global stage.
The Journey to Become the Modern Bookkeeper
To get started on your journey towards becoming the modern bookkeeper, you need to have a plan. This Xero article How to build a modern cloud accounting practice has some advice on where to start.
Let’s break down what your strategy should focus on.
A Team of Modern Bookkeepers
Build a team that will gain and maintain the knowledge for modern technology. They will need to develop and own the processes around the implementation. But they will also consider the growth of your firm and scalability of the systems.
Millennials are well set to help you in your business. They are early onboarders to technology and are agile when it comes to new apps. But don’t neglect the wisdom and advice of their more mature colleagues! Experience is still a good teacher.
An Automated Billing System
Consider a fixed fee billing model for your practice. The modern bookkeeper will invest in a payment system to automate their fixed fee billing process. This will reduce your administration and deliver great value to your clients. It doesn’t necessarily mean the same fixed fee for every client. The important part is to agree a monthly (or weekly) amount with each client that gives them good value. Check out our two-part series articles on How to Successfully Implement Value Pricing. Here Diane Lucas from Direct Management suggests the first steps:
Develop a calculated pricing strategy and incorporate tracking analysis.
Must-Have Cloud Apps
The modern bookkeeper is knowledgeable on cloud apps. But with so many start-ups building new apps every day, there is an abundance of choices. Implement the relevant cloud apps to support your practice. This will enable you to expand the service you provide to your clients. Focus on a great output to your clients, productivity gains for your team, good technical support and training. As a result, you will be able to incorporate a variety of modern bookkeeping services. Our article 5 Must-Have Apps for Your Bookkeeping Business will suggest some cloud software for you.
Having access to cloud software and a technically astute team means you can collaborate with clients anywhere at any time. As the modern bookkeeper, you will find your business future-proofed and more likely to survive pandemics and other disasters. You may not be located close enough to many of your clients to visit them even if you wanted to. Tools like Zoom or Teams make communication easy and it’s rare for any business not to have good enough internet connections to use them.
The Global Modern Bookkeeper
Working on a global stage will open opportunities for you to develop your own niche. Providing a service across continents, can be commercially rewarding and also protect you from local downturns. You may find that you distribute your risk exposure more evenly across a wider geographical area.
Having set up cloud-based systems will make interaction with companies outside your region easy. Many companies are now used to dealing with service providers on Zoom sessions or via email.
There are always nuances around taxation from one country to another. However, accounting set up in popular systems like Xero or QuickBooks are very similar from one country to the next. If you’re a specialist in a particular industry, or a sector like Inventory, clients will value your skills and knowledge in that area regardless of where you are located. This is true even if you are not an expert in their tax system. You can work closely with their local accountant to collaborate on the areas where you each have expertise. This will still enable the delivery of modern bookkeeping services.
Growing Your Business
Investing in your people and good technology, will help you scaling your client numbers. To do this you want to have a strong digital presence. This will capture clients searching for your offerings rather than your location. As the consummate modern bookkeeper, you will find dealing with overseas businesses easier as time goes on.
A well-structured and methodically designed website can portray you as the modern bookkeeper. It will represent your shopfront, so carefully craft your intended message here. This online presence will then serve you for any digital advertising you do to promote your services.
When Do You Become the Modern Bookkeeper?
As the modern bookkeeper you will be able to deliver modern bookkeeping services to your clients with ease and ensure quality. Your clients will see you as innovative and progressive. But foremost, they will enjoy the experience of interacting with you and trust your advice.
You’ll have systems and processes in place to make sure that everything hums, whether the work is done by you or your team. The idea of scaling your practice means you are profitable. In return, for your clients this means your practice is going to be around for the long term.
This is good for business. You will have built customers for life and an attractive, saleable business to guarantee your future.