Best in bookkeeping: How you can be at the forefront of an evolving role

The responsibilities of a bookkeeper have been undergoing a significant transformation in recent years, marking an exciting evolution. While traditionally centred on transactional tasks, today’s bookkeepers are embracing a more strategic and advisory role with enthusiasm. The same core tasks remain, but understanding financial analysis, budgeting and forecasting has grown in importance, particularly with access to larger swathes of data.

The best bookkeepers are expected to pinpoint how an organisation can get ahead and are considered increasingly critical to its growth, alongside technology. But it’s one thing to invest in sophisticated tech and capture this insightful data; it’s another to utilise it effectively to gain an edge over your competitors and deliver outstanding services.

It’s no good for bookkeepers to be stuck in the past. Evidently, it’s more important than ever that bookkeepers understand the evolving part they have to play and the growing tools at their disposal. How can these tools position you as the best in bookkeeping?

A thing of the past

For many years, bookkeepers were employed to focus on transactional tasks in an organisation. These could take the form of day-to-day functions such as recording sales and invoices, paying bills and processing payroll. While critical to a firm’s core operations, the role wasn’t necessarily associated with advancing or breaking new ground for the business. Accountants, on the other hand, are tasked with taking financial data and analysing it to help organisations make effective decisions.

Antiquated views about the value of the work bookkeepers do, particularly women, are shifting. In 2022, Kelly Gonsalves, founder of Totally Booked, took part in a panel on addressing bias in the bookkeeping profession and remarked: “They’ll say, ‘Oh, you’re just a bookkeeper.’ There’s an old-school view that bookkeeping is administrative work.”

However, expectations of the role are rightfully changing, particularly at organisations looking to gain a competitive edge over their rivals. Bookkeepers unwilling to adapt, risk holding themselves and their firm, as well as bosses by not utilising a bookkeeper to full effect. Clearly, it’s in everyone’s interests to embrace this evolving role.

Bookkeeping evolution

So, how are the responsibilities of a bookkeeper changing? For one, they are not expected to simply record data; their insights into that data are now held in high esteem. As the use of technology within firms has increased, so has the value of data. The same can be said for those who understand it, which bookkeepers crucially do.

Therefore, the textbook definition of a bookkeeper is now outdated. On the same panel addressing bias in the bookkeeping profession, Kelly Gonsalves added: “A lot of the time, I’m dealing with tech rather than the actual books side of things. That’s where the knowledge part of what we do comes in.”

Interestingly, all participants felt that “cloud accounting professional” suited the bookkeeping role better now, which nods to the increasing use of technology. Manual bookkeeping and tedious number crunching is often a thing of the past, ushering in quicker and more accurate results with no need to be completed by hand.

The role of technology

Artificial intelligence remains the hottest words on everyone’s lips, but it’s only one tech tool transforming the industry. Automation frees bookkeepers from manual tasks, allowing more time to be strategic and broaden the focus of their activities. With this increased time, bookkeepers can analyse in greater detail and be more ambitious in their financial forecasting.

However, the misguided temptation to overload on technology to keep pace with your competitors is strong. Despite spending huge sums of money on implementing cutting-edge tech and training staff members, it does not equate to efficiency. Whatever you choose, it must be finely tuned to your business needs and deliver results that are tangible and useful. Alongside the most analytical bookkeepers, it can be a powerful combination.

Looking ahead

With the rapid growth of AI and automation, technology is changing roles across countless industries. While adapting may appear an uphill task to some, many should see it as an opportunity to redefine expectations.

This is particularly true of bookkeepers, who are now considered key players in an organisation’s path to growth. Thanks to analysing data and providing forecasts which underpin a company’s yearly plan and beyond, bookkeepers are quickly becoming indispensable. But comprehending this evolving role and getting to grips with technological advancements, and understanding their offerings, is the only way to become the best in bookkeeping.

Dext will be exhibiting on stand 890 at Accountex London on the 15-16 May 2024 at ExCeL. 

You can register for a free ticket here.

The post Best in bookkeeping: How you can be at the forefront of an evolving role appeared first on Accounting Insight News.

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By: Paul Lodder, VP, Accounting Product Strategy at Dext
Title: Best in bookkeeping: How you can be at the forefront of an evolving role
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Published Date: Wed, 01 May 2024 07:14:04 +0000

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