The global survey results recently initiated by Xero was interesting on many levels. As a bookkeeper, I was amused to discover just what the public thinks of people like me!
One aspect that really got me thinking is how little people know about what a bookkeeper actually does compared to an accountant. A lot of people mix up the tasks of what an accountant and a bookkeeper do, and think they’re one in the same.
To clarify exactly what it is bookkeepers do, I’d say that their relationship with business owners is quite close and personal! We act as the financial “general practitioners”, working within the business and sharing the owner’s ups and downs of daily cashflows, budgets, debtor management, and tax compliance.
Here are just some of the things a bookkeeper gets involved with:
- Bank Reconciliations
- Accounts Payable Management
- Accounts Receivable Management (including debtor management)
- Management Reports
- Tax compliance
- Conversions to Xero
- Eco System implementations
- And other additional services.
The bookkeeper can work in the office or virtually use the collaborative features of Xero, which allows full transparency and real-time data. I always encourage clients to use the mobile app Xero Touch and Xero Files to ensure all receipts and source documentation is stored against the transaction in Xero. So cool!
There was a time when bad taste jokes were made about accountants’ personalities and who terrible it would be to date them. Well, I’m so glad to see the tide has turned! Accountants and bookkeepers are desirable to date than artists, designers, and even personal trainers! Which is not surprising to me at all. Whenever I think of an accountant or bookkeeper, I think of the words “trustworthy,” “steady,” “balanced,” “reliable,” and more. We’re definitely dateable types.
Another interesting aspect of the survey was that up to a third of the respondents had considered accounting or bookkeeping as a profession. When I first started in the industry, the more popular careers to pursue were medicine or law.
This change was also reflected to me during a recent financial literacy project we designed and delivered to year 7 & 8 school children, where we created a ‘worm farming business’ that covered all aspects of small business. When we asked them why they joined this project, about 80% of the group said they wanted to know how to run a business! That made me think that this generation has parents who are self-employed and need to know the numbers in comparison to the older generation staying in long term jobs. It makes me so excited to see kids interested in running a business from an early age!
Engaging a bookkeeper/accountant team is vital for small business success. With great technology like Xero at hand, these days the client can concentrate on working on the business and executing their strategy based on the powerful reporting Xero provides. I expect to see that evolution of services by bookkeepers and accountants continue for years to come. Watch this space; the future is here!
This blog was submitted by Mel Morris, the Head of Bookkeeping for New Zealand.
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