The Times Aren't Changing. They Have Already Changed.
What services your bookkeeper SHOULD be providing you
WHAT even is a 'bookkeeper'? The term 'books' comes from the dark ages (sorry oldies) where the keeper of said books, pencilled in sales figures, expenses and wages into paper account books called a ledger. The journals went on for pages and month end and really was a chaotic and stressful event.
Fast forward to the present where we utilise software that downloads the statement information direct from your bank, into the accounting system which in turn has automatic rules which can update the tax information and accounting codes for each transaction.
How times change…
So what does a keeper of the books do now? That is an open question, because line up ten different bookkeepers and you will likely get ten different answers. But ask what they SHOULD be doing? Now that is easy to answer…
When was the last time you reviewed your whole business 'system'? The flow of information (i.e. sales orders, work orders, purchase orders, invoicing etc) through your business is a fundamental function of your business. How much of that process is manual and how much could be automated?
Auto-response emails, inventory levels, sales reports uploading into your accounting software – the options TODAY are endless. No matter what industry you are in, there is software that can be used to automate your important functions. Imagine what (how) we will be doing these functions in the future!
Point of Sale software (POS), updating your Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) to stay connected with your customers via demographically targeted email marketing. Sound interesting? You can literally Google 'your industry + software' and find heaps of options that will help you run your business easier and also help you grow new business. Almost all of which can integrate with your accounting software.
Implementing new software is an integral function of what a keeper of books should do.
Now that your business processes are running easier because you have implemented automation, let's look at what is your most profitable product? Who are your most expensive customers? (never thought of a customer like that before, have you?)
Gross Profit percentage, Debtor Days, Stock Turnover Days – just an example of the measures that can highlight how healthy your business is. When was the last time you were provided with an insight into how your business is performing? It's one thing to 'feel' busy, but do your numbers show this? Maybe you actually are busy, but have you priced your products correctly to make a profit? There is no point being busy if you aren't making a return.
Little bit different to what tasks a bookkeeper is usually associated with doing, right? The chances are your bookkeeper is aware of a lot of these changes, but suggesting change is not the easiest conversation to have with business owners. Especially when it is perceived as 'just something to do with the books'.
The times aren't changing. They have already changed. It's just a matter of whether your business is doing things the old way or the easy way.(Originally published DUO Magazine November 2016)