A Tribute to Bookkeepers Everywhere

How often do business owners stop and think about the role bookkeepers play in their success? Here at Intuit®, we believe not often enough. Bookkeepers deliver insights and business expertise that bring their clients uncounted savings and profitability. Without them, employees would go unpaid, taxes unremitted and books unbalanced.

Today, we want to acknowledge how integral bookkeepers are to businesses of all sizes in this first post of a two-part series. The second post will address “Fact vs. Myth” about what bookkeepers do.

Bookkeeping Through the Eyes of Actual Bookkeepers

To fully appreciate bookkeepers, we need to look at bookkeeping through the lens of experts in the industry. Bookkeepers do so much for their clients, and much of it isn't recognized.

Gay Wise of Wise Financial Services Inc. says, “Too many small business owners think anyone can do bookkeeping, and that it's no big deal. And, too many people undertake bookkeeping with that ideal in mind.”

She continues, “As an employer, I have interviewed, and sadly sometimes hired, people who greatly overrate their ability because they don't know what they don't know. When my clients complain about costs, it is almost always the cost of the bookkeeping, not the cost of accounting or tax, for which we charge a much higher rate. They think it is so simple and should take no time. Thank goodness that QBO and the supporting apps are taking us in a direction where it is about the knowledge part and not about the data entry part.”

And, bookkeepers definitely do more than data entry services. For example, they provide the knowledge and expertise that help businesses avoid getting into trouble with tax agencies. Kellie Parks of Calmwaters Cloud Accounting agrees and is dedicated to “keeping [her clients] compliant and out of the CRA's crosshairs.”

“Audits and compliance aren't an issue, until they are an issue. Relay that we don't make the rules. We just try to keep the client informed, and following them can be an eyebrow raiser for them, especially since many business owners view expensing personal things as a way to reduce their taxes owing,” Kellie says.

Elaine Orr of Balance Sheets.ca states, “There are parts of the job that are thankless, like reconciliation and backup paperwork. At the end of it, we get to tell them how much tax they owe.”

Along with expertly tallying up taxes (with the joy of sharing the results), bookkeepers are also often expected to be experts in another area: technology.

“I live and breathe it [technology], and I still have the head spins some days!” Kellie Parks exclaims.

Whether they’re utilizing the latest in technology, keeping you compliant or balancing your books, their training and skill allows bookkeepers to take every situation in stride, including the one Sherri-Lee Mathers of Balsam Way Bookkeeping describes: “When a client sends over a box of every piece of paper imaginable, and we have to painstakingly go through it, one at a time. Some of it is not even related to the business. The expectation is that we can get it done quickly, but when there’s giant pot holes in your information highway, you can’t operate at top speed.”

Even as they face challenges such as these, bookkeepers are committed to being our tax, technology and financial experts. Their services are essential for every business to succeed and this is our song to the bookkeeper, the most unsung of heroes.

Valoree McKay, CEO of the IPBC, says it eloquently: “IPBC is proud of the increasingly important and expanded role bookkeepers play in supporting small- and medium-sized business. The professional, proactive approach of the Certified Professional Bookkeeper means that they are poised to not only maintain, but also strengthen their valued advisory role in the Canadian accounting ecosystem. We are thrilled to be working to raise the profile of these unsung heroes of the small business world.”

How We Can Celebrate Bookkeepers

As we pay tribute to bookkeepers everywhere, we recognize that appreciation includes figuring out what we do that may make their jobs harder (thus, making it harder for them to help us); this hopefully leads us to do what we can to make things easier. We also can all grow in working to notice the extra services bookkeepers provide. Ultimately, our efforts to correct – and to be more aware – help provide a more streamlined and successful bookkeeping process for both parties.

Finally, we have an opportunity to pay tribute in a tangible way to our bookkeepers. This

doesn’t mean an elaborate or expensive gift, but rather something that expresses a

sincere thank you. For example, purchase a gift card for a coffee shop or restaurant they frequent. Or, perhaps sending flowers feels appropriate. Even a simple phone call or email thanking them is a great option.

No matter how you choose to celebrate your bookkeeper, it’s important to ask yourself, “Where would I – and my business – be without his or her service?” We think the answer is clear!