A Bookkeeper in 2012
In my mind, bookkeeping can be simply defined as anything related to the day-to-day financial transactions of a business. Examples include entering invoices (A/R or A/P), entering transactions directly off bank statements (eg. bank charges or HP payments), Payroll, raising payments to suppliers, entering receipts from customers, reconciling the bank, etc.
There has been a lot of discussion recently about so-called traditional bookkeepers being made redundant by programs such as Xero. This is true to an extent but not to the point where bookkeeping becomes redundant as a profession. Small to medium sized businesses are always going to have a need for their services as they cannot operate purely off a bank feed.
However, those who want to succeed in today’s environment need to be either the absolute best of the old breed or add other services. In my mind, a modern day bookkeeper is also a consultant, trainer, software specialist, implementer, advisor, and management accountant. Some accountants are providing some of these services but not all. And if they do, they’re getting bookkeepers to do the work for them.
When we speak to our clients they tell us that they want someone who can advise them on what system best suits their needs, set it up for them and show them the best way of utilising the system to fit in with their own internal processes. Sometimes those processes need to be redefined because the client is using outdated procedures, or because a change in system demands some changes.
Once everything is in place, the bookkeeper may be required to process information on a regular basis, or they may simply be asked to review a file on a monthly basis. Here is where the bookkeeper’s experience and knowledge of accounting comes to the fore. We need to be able to identify issues with P&L and Balance Sheet accounts and raise these with the client and the client’s accountant before making any accounting treatment decisions.
The accountant/bookkeeper relationship needs to be a good one in order for things to run smoothly. If the accountant has no faith in the bookkeeper the accountant will end up doing more than is needed which results in the client paying more than they should. After all, everything done should be in the best interests of the client.
What are your thoughts on bookkeeping in 2012?