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The traditional role of a bookkeeper has expanded dramatically in recent years.
In particular, the range of bookkeeping services for small businesses has never been better.
It’s tempting for small businesses to try and save money and do in-house bookkeeping but in the long run, this can cost more.
Some of the services bookkeepers can offer small business are bank and credit card reconciliations, accounts payable and receivable, invoicing, data entry and filing, budgeting and cash flow management and reporting.
These traditional services are vital for businesses and can be time consuming tasks that often pile up. Outsourcing these services to a bookkeeper, you only pay for what you need and the work that is done.
An example of a vital but time consuming service is chasing up payment of invoices (debtor follow-up). Chasing up invoices is not just a case of phoning the business/person that owes you money and reminding them to pay.
Up-to-date and thorough record keeping is a must when you are chasing debtors – this is another reason why outsourcing the services of a bookkeeper is a sound business move. A bookkeeper can ensure that your processes meet Australian Industry Standards and they will do what it takes to avoid, wherever possible, the messy process of having to settle a debt in court. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has debt collection guidelines and a good bookkeeper will be across this process to take the pressure of small businesses so that they can get on with their core functions.
Another service that an outsourced bookkeeper can perform is budgeting and cash flow management and reporting. These things are so important for business success and the smooth day-to-day running of operations. In fact cash flow forecasting is a great service a bookkeeper can offer – and it ties in with that other time consuming task of business, which is chasing up payments.
Cash flow is the lifeblood of small businesses and it can get hectic trying to stay on top. A good bookkeeper will be on top of all the latest accounting software that will make this a streamlined process.
The rise of bookkeeping in “the cloud” has been a great win for bookkeepers, despite fears that it would make the profession obsolete.
Bookkeepers have been encouraged to embrace these accounting programs and Irena’s Bookkeeping has well and truly jumped onto the cloud!
The technological timesavers incorporated in Cloud Bookkeeping services are also a win for small businesses.
There are five main cloud bookkeeping software providers in the Australian market. They are MYOB, Xero, Intuit with Quickbooks, Saasu and Reckon, the former Australian distributor for Quickbooks that now has its own cloud-based offering.
Xero has emerged as the one to watch in cloud accounting and this New Zealand-born company has a subscriber base of close to 1 million customers in Australia and NZ.
Xero also has a vast range of other cloud based systems (third-party products) that integrate seamlessly with it in order to add functionality. It has a published API which makes it easier to customise and lead to more third-party integration.
An add-on feature of Xero that is heavily used by clients of Irena’s Bookkeeping is Receipt Bank. Receipt Bank allows bookkeepers to streamline their tasks and grow their capacity to anaylse data and help improve internal processes for clients.
The big drawcard of Receipt Bank is that it takes away data entry and allows for clients to snap and scan a receipt or invoice and the program extracts highly accurate data from those documents and populates the information. It can be sent to the cloud or exported to spreadsheet.
From feedback and surveys Receipt Bank has found that the program saves bookkeepers 4 hours per client per month. That’s a game changer for bookkeepers who can use this time to build on their tech skills, work on ways to improve work flows and identify ways for their clients to grow their businesses. This is the role of the modern bookkeeper – it’s no longer just “keeping the books”. The fact that “real-time data” is at the fingertips of cloud accounting program users means there’s no excuse not to be across your clients’ businesses and this will give added reassurance to business owners that their accounting is in great shape with the combination of the latest technology and the experienced hands of a bookkeeper.
A bookkeeper can set your business up on one of these services and show you how to use it – and you can be assured that they will know how to keep things running smoothly and be up-to-date with the latest developments and innovations in this space.
The synergy between more automated accounting services and the skills of a bookkeeper are entirely complementary to each other. In fact, the cloud-based software allows bookkeepers to delivery better efficiencies to clients.
These efficiencies are enabling bookkeepers to move from a traditional data entry and numbers role. The time saving and intuitive nature and features free up the bookkeeper to play a more strategic and advisory role for small businesses. With powerful data at hand bookkeepers can analyse trends and opportunities to help their clients grow, thrive and change direction if needed.
All these tech timesavers available by cloud accounting software means that business owners and their bookkeepers can feel less stressed. However it is still imperative for small business owners to employ a certified professional who knows their way around these new accounting software programs.
Bookkeepers can use their knowledge and savvy use of technology to coach small businesses to improve their workflows and business growth. Their advice on the best cloud accounting software to use will make a firm grounding for businesses, whether established or new, to really grow.
They act as a “champion” for the business to help push things along for the small business owner.
The rise of cloud accounting has come about because people want to work smarter and faster and with the advent and normalisation of services like online banking, shopping and even booking appointments, it stands to reason that services for small businesses follow.
With the improvements in cloud accounting bookkeepers can perform the tasks that relieve pressure from small businesses. Too often small business operators have fallen into the lure of the “do it yourself” trap where they think that software solutions alone can help them manage time, money and stress. However it’s now more evident that it’s best to utilise the power and convenience of cloud accounting programs along with an accredited, experienced bookkeeper who has the expertise with these programs.
These cloud solutions also enable multiple stakeholders – business owners, employees, the bookkeeper to collaborate in a paperless environment. This is great for efficiency and the environment!