08 Aug Business Owners, we are MORE than Just Bookkeepers!
As a regular speaker and attendee at small business functions and events, I usually share in my talks my own business journey, and that is one that involved founding two bookkeeping firms. One of the most usual questions I get asked by business owners is why, and what?
Why a bookkeeping firm? And what is it that you actually do?
The perception that many business owners still have is that a bookkeeper writes or types things into a computer, ipad or sometimes even “keeps” books in a library. I do giggle to myself regularly about this as the word “bookkeeper” really just doesn’t aptly describe what we do very well. Many bookkeepers I speak to often feel quite disheartened that the label we have, even though we are super proud of it, doesn’t really give a good description around what we do, nor the value we provide to business owners – and it’s not just SMALL business owners either.
Let me take a moment to explain in a real life scenario…….
The three impressive ladies whom photos are featured at the start of this article represent three women who I consider to be #revolutionary in the way they do business.
- Di Crawford – Errington, Founder, and Director of NZ Firm Ontrack Bookkeeping and also the current President of ICNZB
- Leanne Berry – Founder and Director of Australian Bookkeeping Firm “Love Your Numbers” long-term partner and educator for MYOB, Educator for ICB Australia
- Melanie Morris – Founding President of ICNZB, Owner of Training & Beyond and Current Head of Bookkeeping Xero, NZ
These ladies are labeled what we would call “a bookkeeper” but once you actually drill down into what they do, you will be able to see very clearly that they are more than just a bookkeeper that enters data into a computer every day!
Melanie Morris’s firm was one of the very first ever Bookkeeping Firms to use Xero in the world and then developed a Global Training business, Training and Beyond to help other accounting and bookkeeping firms all over the world understand how to utilize Xero as not only a business tool but also as a practice platform. In fact, my team did one of their training courses when I first started my cloud practice back in 2012. Mel, with a group of key people within the profession founded the New Zealand Bookkeepers Association Inc in 2010 and then went on to assist with the merger with ICB Global in 2017 which now sees this association as ICNZB ( Institute of Certified New Zealand Bookkeepers ). Mel has since moved into a part-time role with Xero as Head of Bookkeeping in NZ, to bring the voice of the Bookkeeping Profession in NZ back into Xero and maintains her training business, having been through the process of selling her bookkeeping side of the business which she founded many years ago. This is a super specific example of how a bookkeeping firm founder has WAY more skills than what the label actually portrays…
Let’s look at our next fabulous lady, Leanne Berry.
Leanne has been an advocate and huge champion for the bookkeeping profession for many years and has been a strong voice into the MYOB Vendor space representing the profession as part of the PAG ( Partner Advisory Group ) and also actively involved in the franchise space assisting many franchises all over AU & NZ, to implement software systems, develop training manuals for franchise groups and doing many hours of voluntary mentoring for new bookkeepers as part of the MYOB and ICB Australia & NZ network. Leanne also delivers regular technical training for MYOB, in recent times a webinar series on the rollout of Single Touch Payroll in Australia. Leanne also co-admins a highly engaged Facebook Group in Australia called Bookkeepers in Practice which is a group that is software and association agnostic and is all about supporting people that are in business as bookkeepers via way of discussion and collaboration. Whilst doing all these awesome activities, Leanne maintains a boutique bookkeeping firm servicing clients all over Australia, but with a focus on her local community in Bathurst.
Needless to say, Leanne is in the position to stand strong and Command The Price she deserves based on the value she can deliver to not only business customers but the industry. I’d say that is #revolutionary.
Notice again, that the task of “bookkeeping” doesn’t really come into the equation, does it? Doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of data entering going on… J
That brings me to our last, but certainly not least, fabulous lady, Di Crawford-Errington.
Di and I first met through the bookkeeping industry, back in 2013 at a Xero conference in Auckland, New Zealand, which had the lovely Gayle Buchanan (who sadly is no longer with us and had a huge part of connecting Bookkeepers all over the world) hosting the bookkeepers contingent. Di is just one of those people who you instantly feel comfortable with and has such a passion for seeing others be successful, healthy and happy.
Di has run her own successful firm North of Auckland providing bookkeeping and taxation services for many years and has built a committed and really tight team that are super focused on delivering the best possible client experience. Due to Di’s success and also designing her business to really cater for her regional area, to support all types of business in that area, she was selected to be a presenter at the Xerocon Uni Day Grow Your Practice LIVE Series in 2016 in Brisbane, Australia.
Di’s panel session was on pricing and her unique point of difference was that she was all about pricing the client and providing choice. Her firm’s belief is that it is about giving the business owner choice, and this is what she does and forms part of her community support for her region in making her services accessible to all business owners.
It’s all about community.
This community spirit and leadership for her regional area led to Di being elected as the next President of the newly formed ICNZB, where Di took over the reins of the newly merged association which ultimately has really led for the NZ profession to have that global footprint as part of the wider ICB global network. This has seen Di travel to different regions and proudly represent her community. Di has just been re-elected for another year as president, with a super strong executive.
All of the time that is allocated to supporting this association is voluntary AND Di has a successful and profitable firm that provides for her family and the team she employees and support her small business community with her services.
Now that’s #revolutionary. Not a whole lot of sitting in front of PC crunching in numbers hey?
Having a Business Mindset
So back to my first thoughts around, we are more than just bookkeepers. From the above examples, it’s clear to see that these are three great stories about women who are in the BUSINESS of bookkeeping. Their business provides a service provision of bookkeeping, but it also provides many other things that are of value to the business owner and the wider industry.
The perception of the word bookkeeper in the marketplace and the minds of the business owner absolutely can be changed, and it is happening, but the change has to start in our own mindset. We need to think of ourselves being in the business of bookkeeping, whether we are a sole operator or have a team with us. Focusing on WHO we want to serve, HOW we can solve their business issues and WHAT solutions we can package up to really transform the lives of the business people we work with.
It’s super important work. And ICNZB has many fabulous bookkeepers that do have this mindset, and are ready and waiting to engage with business owners across the Asia Pacific to help them achieve their business and personal goals.
So if you are a business owner, and want to connect with one of our fabulous “more than just a bookkeeper” than you can do so here…
And if you are a bookkeeping business owner and really want to make the mindset shift then you can tune into some great stories we captured on our Revolutionary Firm podcast at the recent ICNZB annual conference just recently.
Life is too short to do the things you don’t love, so as the famous Lisa Martin from GoFi8ure says “You didn’t go into business to do bookkeeping, but we did”
So get started on outsourcing that bookkeeping so you can go do the things you love to do and focus on growing a fabulous business that will help you get there….