5 Traits of a Successful Bookkeeper

Recently, I've been watching a lot of movement in the accounting profession regarding the fast pace of changes in technology. The rumor is that bookkeeping is in trouble due to the technology advances. The facts are that bookkeeping, along with the accounting profession, has shifted from a historical focus position to a real-time position.

A person's day to day activities is being improved every day with technology. The battle fought in many professions industries is the replacement of human capital for technology. The accounting profession is no different in the struggle to find where the people fit in their roles of the future.

Typically, bookkeeping is minimized regarding the importance in the cycle of the small business. However, as technology starts to replace the duties of the bookkeeper, the role of the clerk needs to shift and transform. The transformation is still the "keeper of the books," but now that involves validation and verification of technology activities.

The future is here, now, for the bookkeeper. The shift in the roles needs to occur! Here are five steps to help with that transformation.

  1. Fine Tune your Skills – The adage, "there are riches in the niches" has been heard so many times. However, this is very relevant to the current technology and the focus of the profession you choose. Becoming the "go to" person in an industry in your area will elevate your value.
  2. Advance Your Core Competencies – Make sure your knowledge is reliable and supported with excellent foundational tools. The ability to rely on your accounting training will help stabilize you in the technology world. The fundamentals of accounting will hold up in the technology storm of apps and integrations with the accounting system.
  3. Focus on Communication and Relationships – The smartphone is  now as powerful as most computers. The connection of social media with a device that handles all of our day-to-day activities is incredibly addicting. However, in the world of technology, less and less face-to-face interaction is happening. The customer service aspect has to be exemplary. Your differentiator in the market is that you are memorable and valuable. Make a difference with treating your customers as if they are your highest priority. The relationships that you will develop will pay you back tenfold.
  4. Expand Your World – The beautiful thing about technology is it connects everyone. The connectivity no longer means that we are an island; in fact, it is the opposite. The bookkeeping jobs that you once had are no longer open to your neighbor down the street, but across the country and across the world. Bookkeepers similar to you will have the same skills in Australia as the United Kingdom and the United States. Will you collaborate or will you compete? Get to know your peers and the skills that make up their community.
  5. Gather in Your People – The ability to work in a team environment will give your different perspectives on your business. Being a soloprenuer is great, but the need to have people with skill sets that complement your skills gives you the opportunity to learn and grow. The team can elevate a business and teach so many important skill sets, including conflict resolution, creativity and mutual learning, and most importantly, leadership.

While the community believes that bookkeeping can be commoditized and fade into the past – along with green ledger sheets – the future promises to change. Bookkeeping is a skill, and there will always be business owners who will not want to perform this service. The ability to earn a lucrative career is what will be changing. Make the bookkeeping skill a valued and sought-after resource, and you will be able to provide value to your customers and an excellent income to yourself.

ICBUSA is here to help make sure you maintain your skills and elevate you into the much sought-after profession of advisory work that is currently being fought over. Do not give up this valuable territory … develop, learn and conquer!