Accounting and bookkeeping are considered to be conservative, unchanging professions. However, the financial services industry, like any other industry, has undergone a rapid transformation in the last few years and the role of a bookkeeper is vastly different to what it was 20 years ago.
From technology to legislation, knowledge must be adapted, skills upgraded and services updated. In fact, the finance industry is virtually unrecognisable from what it was when bookkeepers first created financial records using quill, ink and parchment. It has lost considerable market share as increasing numbers of small business owners and entrepreneurs balance their own ledgers with DIY software packages.
The question with regard to all these changes is; have bookkeepers become redundant?
The answer is no. There will always be a need for professional bean counters; their skills are far superior and they take the bookkeeping burden away from people who should be focusing on growing and running their business, rather than monitoring where each cent to the dollar goes.
Bookkeepers, who have been able to adapt as times have changed, are invaluable.
The following situations provide an opportunity for bookkeeping professionals to take advantage of these industry changes:
Cloud accounting and cross collaboration
The Cloud has become an exceptional option for clients who want to manage the books themselves, but still require some assistance and collaboration. There are benefits for both parties when using cloud accounting including; reduced fees, reduced workload and additional control for businesses. A reduced workload for bookkeepers means that their time is freed up to take on more clients.
Bookkeepers can also expand their roles into management accounts and provide more in-depth information to the client and accountant.
Like any industry, skillsets change and bookkeepers must keep up with those changes. The best bookkeepers are the ones with the most up-to-date knowledge. Again, so much has changed within the industry and if you don’t keep up you won’t survive. There are many courses bookkeepers can take – far more than there used to be – so it’s worth looking into professional development options.
The bookkeeping timeline
Just to give you an idea of how bookkeeping has changed since the back-end of the 20th century, the following timeline displays some of the major advancements:
1979: The world’s first spreadsheet software was launched – VisiCalc
1983: QuickBooks was introduced
1985: Windows 1.0 was launched.
1996: Hotmail was launched and email was introduced
1999: Data-Tech became MYOB
2001: Cloud accounting was launched with Saasu.
2008: The launch of Xero also saw the instigation of free use of practice software.
In this day and age, bookkeepers travel less, have a better work-life balance, bring on more clients and have adapted to new technologies that help them run more lucrative businesses.