Bookkeeping principles are timeless. But what clients are looking for has changed due to automation. This puts pressure on bookkeepers to provide higher value services as business owners have expectation that compliance work can be automated – cheaply.Your job until recently may been to fix the books for quarterly and yearly returns; your new job description might look like: being there to help your clients stay in business.

What business owners want

A quick scan of the business pages of any reputable business journal or newspaper will reveal a majority of reasons why small businesses fail is cash flow management problems. Not surprisingly, the accounting software sector has provided a multitude of apps and SaaS solutions to address cash flow management deficiencies.
There will always be a need to get the books done in order to prepare that business owners meet their obligations but many bookkeeping professionals see new clients who want to get their books in order because they need finance. This is because they need accurate accounts.

Then there are the business owners who are experiences solid growth and are taking the business to a new level. Their need from the bookkeeping professionals is meaningful reports that guide the business owner in becoming more strategic, to be working on the business. The trusted advisor will surely have a role here.

Doing the work

Moving from the role the role of data entry bookkeeping to running a successful bookkeeping business means allocating time each week to marketing and business development. There is now extra urgency as business owners love the idea of real time numbers.

Clients will want to tap the expertise of the professional in order to improve their business. These are the clients who want the deeper knowledge. Professionals need to respond in several ways. They need to standardise their workflow in order to free up capacity to be able to deliver higher value services. Adding advisory, collaborative services will open the door to working with clients who, rather than looking for the cheapest provider, are looking for assistance in their planning for growth.

Higher value services need not be advisory – which appears to baulk many bookkeeping professionals (“I am not able to give advice”). When the bookkeeping professional dissociates herself from an hourly rate earning model, she can invest time on being a more productive technician and focusing on helping the client operate a more efficient business.