Blockbuster thought they had it made, yet they could have turned into a Netflix. Borders thought in terms of books, when they should have thought in terms of Kindles and electronic distribution. Kodak invented the first digital camera, but was afraid to introduce it for fear of losing sales of film. The value of taxi medallions is declining, as Uber (a technology company) is changing the business model. Airbnb is changing how people secure accommodations.
Bookkeeping and accounting services are changing. The model of services delivered is changing from one of compliance to one of reliance. Today, bookkeepers and accountants are thriving by embracing digital automation. A new breed of change is in the profession.
Bookkeepers and accountants are taking advantage of all of the tools to turn traditional write-up into a total electronic experience. Data gathering is mostly not entered manually. Instead, it is digitally captured via bank and credit card feeds, as well as bank rules. There is no need to print out bank statements because they can be viewed and saved via PDF, and stored in portals instead of file cabinets. They can be gathered automatically via tools such as Hubdoc, Bill.com and Receipt Bank. The sales experience no longer starts at the cash register; it starts with a document being created on a tablet, mobile device or through the swipe of a credit card on a cell phone via square or PayPal. Intuit® Point of Sale powered by Revel lets you run your entire shop with an iPad.
Sales invoices are no longer printed and placed in an envelope to be mailed. They are either emailed or sent via placement in a portal where the client can pay by ACH or credit card, instead of via a printed check.
Reports and information are generated as a PDF and viewable through the portal. Bookkeepers can now generate aging reports automatically, while also sending emails to their customers, informing them that their accounts are on hold until paid. No longer must a bookkeeper spend time doing liquidity, solvency and profitability analysis to compare to benchmarked information. A simple click of a button attaches the financial information to many different business intelligence tools, which generate the information in real time rather than historical. LivePlan, Qvinci and Finagraph are examples of how you can become more of a strategic advisor. Expense reports are created and paid based on digital receipts that originate from a snapshot on a cell phone or a receipt that was received via an email when you leave the supplier. Examples here include Tallie and Expensify.
I can go on and on and talk about SOS Inventory as an inventory app or Knowify for Contractors as a job costing or construction app, but the best solution is the one most digital bookkeepers and accountants use. They go to the app center and pick and choose what they need based on their clients or businesses they serve. They then monetize their knowledge as consultants and advisors. Here are a couple of examples where individuals have helped their company become a “Firm of the Future,” thriving in a cloud and mobile world: QBO Pro and Kildal Services. Both represent small- to medium-size firms that are connecting with clients on the web from my point of view. Look at their sites and the menu of services they offer. Berkowitz Pollack Brant, Wiss and Rehmann Group are examples of larger firms doing it. They are selling value, not compliance work.
Bookkeepers and accountants are finding that the Internet is connecting everything, and that the future is more about advising the client than gathering and entering the data. One of the new, extremely profitable bookkeeping services is training small business owners on how to utilize all of the tools that are available to them via the ecosystem of the cloud offering they use. QuickBooks® Online has hundreds of apps that connect and make the small business, bookkeeper and accountant more efficient and profitable.
The world of bookkeeping and accounting is changing, and those who have adopted the new technology will flourish with a plethora of new services.