Everyone loves paper; it’s tactile and appealing. But it’s also so yesterday! “Doing the books” cannot mean –literally – handling paper, be they print outs or receipts or paper invoices. For sure, most practitioners work towards being paperless but too few operate a 100 percent paperless and cloud-based bookkeeping business.

Ask a bookkeeping professional why they continue to work in industrial-era conditions and you will get a range of answers; the one question that needs to be asked is, what business are you in?

What business are you in?

Freelancers, self-employed contractors, and practitioners who work from home are all –in a fashion – business owners. Few however, break out and build a virtual team, serving small to medium sized business clients, providing services using cloud-based technology for results that their clients love.

Moving towards a paperless office is much simpler than moving the mindset towards that of a business owner. Small business guru, Michael Gerber author of E-Myth Revisited smashes the myth that being a good ‘technician’ is enough to succeed. What is needed is the mindset of a business owner and establishing systems that enable the practitioner (the “technician”) to then employ people and grow their business in a coherent and sustainable fashion.

Resistance to change

Confidence, winning new clients, learning how to charge for your services and building the business around virtual services are the elements; ensuring staff is all virtual is essential.

Many practitioners are resistant to going down this path, simply because they are in their comfort zones. Professional groups across the board – law firms, accountants, even health practitioners – are focusing more on practice management and business development as core business skills. Pricing is no longer a case of hourly rate but one of packaged services. It is one way of demonstrating a contemporary, business-like approach.

The “System”

The system is a documenting off all procedures, and a ‘menu’ of services that allows you to track clients’ service needs as they changed to make sure pricing stays in line with what is being provided. It’s sure-fire way to handle clients’ annual contracts efficiently so you never fall victim to scope creep and how to assure you’re being paid in a win-win way with flat fees.

“Doing the books” is moving more toward being champions of helping clients get the real value from their financial records to manage their businesses more effectively.