By Dianne Mueller, FCPB

A marked change in appearance, character and or function. 

This professional metamorphosis from processor of historical business information to strategic business advisor yields great opportunities and some challenges for us bookkeepers. We must evolve through this change in function and definition to move forward and be successful.

Redefining the bookkeeper role in a business and the fundamental services provided by bookkeepers is underway and evolving. The initial key drivers that brought about this change in the traditional role were the small and medium size business owners seeking ways to improve inefficiencies to stay above the competition. They need information in real-time and fast data collection to help make business decisions quickly.

Working in the day to day operations of small business, we bookkeepers have always been the first responders, and in many cases providing daily management advice to our customers or employers. We are perfectly positioned to provide this real-time information by taking on an expanded role.

Today’s Professional Advisor Bookkeeper will provide ease of access, collaboration, security, data protection, needs analysis, technology implementation, data mining, compliance and advisory management services.

To deliver these services in real-time will need the right tools, we need cloud based accounting solutions and all the add-on connected services and apps that are available today. A company’s accounting should not be apart from the business, but rather be an integral real-time reliable component. In order to achieve this objective, the Professional Advisor Bookkeeper should provide co-developed solutions and services by collaborating with other solution providers, accountants and IT specialists. This will add value both for the financial information, and for the business process efficiency.

A Professional Advisor Bookkeeper will be sure to help reduce cost for the company by finding cloud base solutions to increase performance. Companies need unlimited storage, safe secure backups, automatic upgrades and data sharing in real-time. Mobility is a priority for all members of a company’s sales team. It is more important than ever for the Advisor Bookkeeper to be engaged with technology and provide needs assessments services that will differ for each customer.

A wonderful place to start is in our own businesses by implementing a few essentials like remote access and cloud accounting software. Modernize your own business and your customer’s by looking at technology options to increase speed of gathering business information and documentation. Create team collaboration opportunities with connective tools bringing YOU inside THEIR business and making it easily accessible. This will have a good ROI.

Small business owners tell us all the time; cash flow is what keeps them awake at night. The cash flow projections and real-time dashboard are valued road map for the business owner. This is future focused advisory work for the professional bookkeeper to provide.

To build a Professional Advisor Bookkeeping firm we need to move at the same rate as the disruptive changes that are impacting the profession. A never-stop-learning mindset builds resilience.

Continuous education or constant learning is the order of the day. Developing and improving our skills and knowledge is essential to perform and adapt to change. Look for learning that is flexible, diverse and available at various times throughout your day. The social web is a fantastic place to acquire new skills. Collaborating with other professional bookkeepers in industry forums, Facebook groups and other social networks can be fantastic learning tools. We will need support and help from each other to thrive in this new environment.

This business model is sustainable and makes the Professional Advisor Bookkeeper future relevant and profitable. From the caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly that can fly to new heights.

Dianne Mueller, FCPB
President, Soma Small Business Solutions
Co-Founder, The Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada