One of the most startling developments in accountancy I have seen over the last 20 years is how the role of bookkeeping has changed. Bookkeeping has moved from a key service offering from accountants to many more clients choosing to ‘do the books’ themselves. This is mainly due to technology and the increase in computer literacy among all generations, clients have become more confident about using accounting software packages themselves.
But is the ease of bookkeeping making the role redundant, and is there a place for it in the modern accounting world?
As with every area of accountancy in the changing, increasingly technological world, the message from responding members was simple: You need to adapt to survive.
So What are the Challenges for bookkeepers?
Cloud accounting packages such as Xero, Kashflow & FreeAgent are being developed that don’t require the user to have a detailed knowledge of debits and credits.
Apart from technology, regulatory simplification has played a part in aiding clients to do their own bookkeeping.
The new cash basis accounting will simplify things further for bookkeepers and clients when it comes in, but some members are still apprehensive of the regulatory change. The cash basis for VAT and SA returns also means some businesses clients no longer need sales nor purchase ledgers, especially as a lot of businesses don’t offer credit anymore, they get payment up front or on delivery by BACs or credit card and have no use for a sales ledger.
Utilising Bookkeeping Skills
Good bookkeeping is worth its weight in gold. It requires knowledge and skills; good bookkeepers can never just be replaced by a cleverly designed spread sheet
Using methods like cross collaboration in the cloud and providing clients with ‘ownership’ of their accounts in a limited way, provides scope for the bookkeeper to retain the prestige of their skillset.
The members of Cloud Accounting NI have found that giving clients an ‘ownership’ of their accounts through such a system gives clients and accountants a different outlook on bookkeeping.
Cloud accounting and Cross Collaboration opportunities
There is a place in modern accountancy for bookkeeping, but appear to offer services that perhaps a traditional bookkeeper might not have previously. Bookkeepers have the opportunity to produce monthly management accounts for clients within five to seven days, and provide an ad hoc bookkeeping services for when businesses whose in-house bookkeepers struggle. Cloud helps with this, and bookkeepers can use remote access via Skype in extreme cases to provide client support.
While Cloud Accounting technology may be reducing fees and workload on the number crunching side, it's given many bookkeepers and accountants the opportunity to do more beneficial and enjoyable work and reduce the size of the business to a much more comfortable level.
In short, the successful bookkeeper of the future will be one who has created collaborative alliance with Chartered Accountants to provide a full service to both their clients to the benefit of all parties, simply by logging in and accessing the same information, real time, from any device, anywhere in the world.
If you want to join our alliance, and discover how we have helped bookkeepers increase their charge out rates by, on average, 40% while giving them, on average 33% more time to find additional clients or spend time with their family, then contact Richard Graham at Cloud Accounting NI. The best contact is 07868 663 538.