I recently attended the webinar How to bring bookkeeping back into your firm hosted by AccountantsDaily and Receipt Bank and took away some good insights about where the industry is moving.
Of course this conversation was moderated by Katarina Taurian from Accountants Daily, and the panellists were:
- Noel Tiufino, My Accounts
- Kevin San, Kevin San and 4Associates
- Abhinav Parashar, Receipt Bank
Katarina opened up the conversation explaining why this topic is relevant, and immediately caught my attention when she said,
"We see bookkeeping at being at a bit of crossroads in the Australian Market at the moment. And it's a crossroad of challenge and also a crossroad of opportunity. Now my take is that the challenge is that if you take an 'I'm going to do what I always did' approach you're probably going to have an uphill battle in the face of competition. However, if you're keen to adapt to a modern mindset in terms of client servicing and taking on new tools, and tools that your clients are expecting, certainly in 2017 and beyond, then there's probably never been a more cost effective time to get into bookkeeping and the revenue opportunities have never been so significant."
The panellists all seemed to be in agreement, and also added in that there are many opportunities to provide full service for your clients from beginning to end.
There is an advantage to being a one-stop-shop for clients
This was a popular opinion by the panellists because it makes your clients "more sticky" with you and your firm. It is easy to scale up from tax and compliance to offer bookkeeping and payroll to cover more touch points with a client and a greater stream of revenue.
They quoted numbers of growth between 15% and 49% from moving bookkeeping in house, this also meant the information accounting firms were working with was under their control and more up to date. Advisory services would be another example of a revenue stream that can be offered and rolled out to the existing client base.
There is room for growth using Cloud technology and Real-Time Data
There was mention of the adoption rate for cloud accounting in Australia this year at around almost a third of clients with the other two thirds split using desktop and "nothing". This presents a great opportunity for businesses to adopt Cloud based technologies but also benefit from what they offer in real-time data. There an article here that quotes statistics from the Australian Bureau of statistics (ABS).
With data being considered a new form of oil, you can really impact your clients if what you do with it is meaningful and provides value. The two major things stopping cloud adoption seemed to be a lack of information or fear over data security.
Onboarding clients effectively is crucial
The panellists agreed that the initial set up and onboarding of a client was crucial for several reasons:
- Building trust with the client
- Scope the offering/contract correctly
- Understand the business and anomalies
Following on from the initial scoping you should agree on a process and document best practice. This will make the process easier each time.
Retainer based billing, or value pricing, is a better model than hourly rates
Finally everyone was big fans of retainer based billing to present a level of value to the client so they focus on outcome not the clock. It shows the client "You want to make it work"