4 Ways to Stay Relevant in the DIY Digital Age
With every new day of this glorious digital age, there is a new shiny tool introduced to make our cloud bookkeeping easier. There is a digital answer to just about everything, and with more and more integration solutions, DIY bookkeeping is becoming an extremely feasible answer for the young profit-seeking entrepreneur.
What does that mean for our profession? Will the role of the accountant or bookkeeper become more and more obsolete? Will businesses only need a quick touch-point with a CPA at year-end – otherwise, are they completely self-sufficient?
While all of these questions rise in our minds, we need to anchor ourselves in some simple practices that will help keep us relevant and needed by the emerging population of DIY business owners. Here are just a few things to keep in mind as we grow along with the world of digital apps and softwares.
- Time – No matter how easy digital tools make tracking time, invoicing and recording your receipts, they all take time. For busy, self-made entrepreneurs, this is literally their most valuable asset. While many have the smarts and the capability to do all of those back-office tasks, this is definitely not the best use of their time. They need to be spending their time driving the vision of the business forward, investing in their customers and employees, and making use of their innovative and forward-thinking skills that landed them in business ownership in the first place. As you interact with your customer base, remind them of the time you are able to give back to them!
- Sharpen the saw – We have all heard the saying and I am sure you have spent many hours in CPE, seminars and the like, but with the digital age upon us, make sure you are spending equal amounts of time knowing the digital tools of your trade. Obviously, it is vital to keep up with the tax code, but to make yourself valuable to today’s consumer, you need to have a collection of relevant digital tools in your toolbox. Know the most popular time-tracking softwares. Have a go-to list of receipt capturing apps. Have a solution for clients who need to create invoices and receive payments on the go! Having a firm grasp on current digital tools will only increase the confidence of your current clients and potential new clients.
- Engage – We know it may feel out of your box, but if we expect to stay on top of the game, we have to be in the digital social world. This means figuring out how to effectively use spaces such as Facebook and Instagram, not just slapping up a generic or churned-out post every day at best. You’ll want to actually have a strategy, research what is working for others in your field and spend time developing relationships with your customer base on these applications. While we may be used to hand-shaking and face-to-face networking, if we dismiss the digital customer base as minor, we will pass up on the biggest growth opportunity for our firm!
- Expertise – Above all, at the end of the day, this is what you are awesome at! While Joe Schmoe who has a custom leather journal shop can do his books on his own, there are insights that no digital efficiency is going to be able to add to his financials. You know the ins and outs, you are the one HAS been keeping up with the profession and education, and you can make sure no balls are dropped and no surprise fees pop up come tax time. This is by far your greatest asset. You bring something to the table that can’t be programmed. Make sure you establish this with your prospective clients! Display your expertise in what you are writing and posting online, the resources you are offering the community, and the conferences and events you are speaking and participating in. Highlight your value by sharing your know-how and creating a place that people will look to when the inevitably run into financial questions!
By engaging and embracing all that the digital movement has to offer, but setting ourselves apart by offering time and expertise that is irreplaceable, we will set ourselves up as a hub for business owners to run to when they realize they don’t have the time, energy or expertise to keep all the balls in the air. This is one that you have got! Make sure you are engaging with the digital social world and letting them know!