Technology has a habit of changing the way we work; it presents professionals such as accountants, bookkeepers and lawyers with the need to upgrade their knowledge base and skills. Rapid, technology-driven changes require a new understanding of the professional landscape not only to keep abreast with the latest productivity tools but also the opportunities that open up in the sector.

Consider how cloud accounting and SaaS service providers, together with their accounting and bookkeeping partners, are now considered as an “ecosystem”. The ecosystem is essentially a broad tapestry of professionals, vendors and intermediaries, all of whom vie for a sustainable and profitable place. The system has an expanding base and scope from both its vendor base – those in payments, technology, data analytics etc. – as well as the professional services space.

A vibrant ecosystem can be like a rising tide lifting many boats. The question is, will some (that is, bookkeepers) get left behind? There is seldom a disruptive change where not all professionals will make the cut. Those who do make the cut will commit to a renewal by reinventing themselves.

Bookkeeping business owners racing ahead

Our recent survey of bookkeeping business owners (firms that employed at least one other bookkeeper) showed a dramatic increase in the revenue base of mid-sized and larger firms. Apart from these firms increasing their revenues, there was clear evidence of productivity gains being leveraged to up-selling higher value services.
It does seem there is a commitment to change – in the way professionals run their business, as well as the way bookkeeping services are delivered – for example a big reduction in the number of site visits and corresponding increase in remote servicing.

So what’s the takeaway here? Aim for continual improvement.

Can a professional learn to be a business owner?

Not all professionals (accounting and bookkeeping) will make the cut as business owners. But given the dynamic nature of the ecosystem that professionals place themselves in, it is clear that the professional with a business mindset is streaking away from the sole practitioner pack both in terms of revenue growth and income. Best-practice benchmarks are a good place to start if you are uncertain about what is achievable. Know this: there are million-dollar bookkeeping firms out there and they are not run by people who are negative or shy.