Why Bookkeepers Should Embrace Technology to Enhance Their Career
Clients and customers are demanding ease of use and constant access, which means professionals need to stay up-to-date with current technologies that will help them better serve their customers. The bookkeeping role is a great example of how disruptive technologies can impact efficiencies.
In the not-so-distant past, bookkeeping was a labor-intensive process, with the majority of time spent on data entry. Today, new technologies in accounting have evolved the traditional role of the bookkeeper, giving them the opportunity to become an invaluable source of insights, analytics, and best practices throughout the company.
Here are four key ways in which bookkeepers can work to embrace current advancements in technology to evolve their role.
1. Keep Your Head in the Clouds
While some accounting professionals are still trying to resist change, cloud computing is already widely utilized in the industry. For those who haven’t fully embraced the cloud, now is the time. Whether it’s downloading a bank statement from the bank’s website or a web-based email server, cloud computing helps to reduce bookkeeping turnaround time and increase efficiencies throughout the industry.
There are also many services available within the cloud-computing space that help bookkeepers stay ahead with real-time information. These services can help reduce paperwork for bookkeepers by extracting key data from receipts that are scanned throughout the month, automatically pulling bills and statements into one secure hub and then publishing the data into cloud-based accounting software.
With more resources providing real-time information, it’s now possible to have most accounts reconciled daily and the books closed within a day or two after month’s end. Managers and bookkeepers should work together to determine which cloud-based software would be the most useful resource for the company and how bookkeepers can work in conjunction with the software to ensure accuracy and efficiency.
2. Make Software Work for You
With many different software options available, bookkeepers are not stuck with a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s important for managers and bookkeepers to recognize how they can make software work specifically for their organization and which ones best fit their needs.
With the availability of many cloud-based accounting platforms, such as Xero, QuickBooks Online, and Intacct, which are compatible with hundreds of third-party applications, the possibilities for customization are endless. Application programming interfaces (APIs) are able to integrate point of sale (POS), online and mobile payments systems, customer loyalty programs, and email marketing, as well as tools for scheduling, logistics, merchant services, and reporting.
The POS system can work double-duty with these applications by updating the accounting system with customer details and splitting sales figures by products at the same time the payroll system posts gross wages and payroll tax liabilities.
With countless options for customization, bookkeepers have the opportunity to develop niches within certain industries, which will allow them to better position themselves as an expert source to help the company or client select the best combination of apps and platforms for their business.
3. Become a Data Specialist
As automated systems are helping to fulfill the intensive data entry needs, today’s bookkeepers should focus on analyzing and interpreting the numbers in order to provide insights and recommendations to key stakeholders.
Bookkeepers can uncover inefficiencies in workflow or personnel, or see which customers generate the most revenue by leveraging time tracking and project management reporting tools. Other resources, such as inventory management tools, can help bookkeepers keep track of how often vendors deliver on-time or whether the cost of goods is within budget. It can also provide an analysis of customers by geography, industry, or products purchased. This adds to a bookkeeper’s arsenal of tools that enables them to provide informed recommendations and insights that could influence the bottom line.
4. Stay Ahead of the Curve
With continued technological advancements and new software constantly coming to market, bookkeepers should work to stay ahead of new technology by participating in professional organizations and continued education. For example, the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers offers certifications, licenses, and training courses for its members.
Managers should also be conscious of emerging technologies when making a new hire or revising job descriptions. Technology experience within the accounting industry is in high demand, and we’ve found that recent graduates are more inclined to work for companies that are integrating the technology they have come to rely on.
By embracing the digital age, bookkeepers and accounting professionals can help establish themselves as key resources for business analytics, reporting, and innovation.