Everyone is doomed … Xero storm clouds brewing!

Have you heard the one about the excited accountant? No? Well that is because there isn’t one.

Haha, when I first qualified as an accountant many years ago, I laughed with the story teller as if it was the first time I had heard it. Well times have changed, alot!! We are currently in the early days of the most amazing revoluton in accounting services … EVER!  There is simply no more exciting place to be in business, than in the clouds.

Exciting products like Xero, Saasu, WorkflowMax, Vend, Capsule and Dropbox are changing not only the way we work, but changing the way we think about work.We no longer need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on servers and IT infrastructure, we no longer “need” to be in the office, we can work anywhere we can get access to the internet. The “Cloud” is returning enormous market power to the small, educated operator that is nimble and able to move with the market and service their customers quickly.  The “Cloud” is changing our business relationships, we can work with people who are thousands of miles away and communicate as often as required with tools like Skype.

The world is rapdily changing, the impact that change has on your business will depend on your personal perspective. Some believe the world is doomed, that bookkeepers will be wiped out by the “Cloud”, that accountants will lose thousands in fee revenue as services like compliance and taxation become commoditised. Whilst this may be true for some, I personally believe the opportunities for those innovative and creative firms are enormous. As a bookkeeper, it is clear that time spent processing low-end, low value-added tasks such as data entry will be slashed by tools like Xero’s automated bank feeds. As will time spent on posting transactions to the general ledger and reconciling bank accounts. The reality is, if you are a time-based bookkeeper and these low-valued added jobs are your bread and butter, the future may be bleak. But on the other side of the coin, I see enormous opportunties for setup, conversion and maintenance from some industry sectors that still rely on cashbook based accounting.

The real opportunity for bookkeepers is to identify the value-added opportunities that exist in your business and bundle those services into packages for clients. It will become increasingly important to change your focus from billing time to billing value, but before you can bill value you need to understand what value you provide and how to communicate that to your client. A good start is to develop three packages, for want of a better name, call them Bronze, Silver and Gold and bundle up different services in each level, you may also chose to add options to each of these services.

The opportunities really are endless, but you need to look at your business in a different way, you are no longer just a time-billing business but also a value-added service. If you are uncomfortable at those first steps, start with a small section of your business and expand from that point. The important thing is to make a start and build your confidence levels with selling value.

Good luck, if yu need any assitance please drop an email to craigw@realbalance.com.au.