Here at Intuit®, one of our top goals is to be an advocate and support for bookkeepers and accountants across the globe. When we find folks and organizations with similar goals, we work to partner with them. The Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (IPBC) is Canada’s largest non-profit bookkeeping association that aims to improve recognition for the industry and develop standards for all bookkeepers. The organization was started by professional bookkeepers in 2007, and it has since grown exponentially with a national membership.
I had the pleasure recently of chatting with Louie Prosperi, the CEO of IPBC. He is gearing up for the IPBC IGNITE Conference, Sept. 28-Oct. 1, in Richmond, BC, in Canada. Intuit is a proud supporter as a Platinum Sponsor. I was thankful Louie could spare a few minutes to share with me about IGNITE, the future of bookkeeping and various intriguing sessions he will be doing at Thrive this year.
Hot Topics in Bookkeeping
Louie shared with me the following hot topic issues in the industry:
- Value Pricing: “Value pricing is a key topic for business development for a firm or a practice,” said Louie. With the automation of input based services, such as data entry, the professional bookkeeper’s true value is in their ability to provide transformational and results based services. Value pricing principles help the bookkeeper focus on deciding the true value of their services based on customers’ expectations.
- Cloud Computing: Instant access to financial information through cloud computing is becoming more and more common. Bookkeepers are using cloud services and programs to expand their customer base through remote access and the digitizing of financial information. Cloud computing enables bookkeepers the ability to offer specialized services.
- Taxes: Tax laws are always changing, and it’s crucial that bookkeepers stay up-to-date with the latest changes that relate to services they provide, whether it be to corporate, personal and/or compliant tax information. “Given the rapid changes in technology and business environment, professionals should dedicate 10% to 20% of their resources to education because it’s easy to fall behind nowadays,” said Louie.
- Trusted Advisory Services: “When it comes to finances, business owners won’t do business with you if you’re not a trusted advisor. Many bookkeepers and accountants have high retention value due to being a trusted advisor.” This has always played an important part of a bookkeeper’s roles, but their advisory services role has expanded due to technological changes. Bookkeepers play a critical role in ensuring financial activities for businesses are running smoothly, accurately and efficiently on a consistent basis. They play a key role in assessing the technological needs to maximize business financial processes and recording of financial information. Bookkeepers are the key professionals that influence small business entrepreneurs in deciding what accounting technology best suits their needs.
IPBC Sessions at Thrive
Given the four areas of interest in bookkeeping, the IPBC will offer five educational sessions at Thrive to help bookkeepers improve their business. One session will focus on the crucial role bookkeepers play in a new business’ finances and growth. For any entrepreneur or small business owner looking to start their own business, it’s important to engage with a professional bookkeeper early on, according to Louie. “Professional bookkeepers can help avoid possible hiccups that could be very costly to try and fix after the fact,” said Louie.
Another session will look at how customer’s expectations have changed due to increased automation. Customers have a greater interest in financial insights of today and tomorrow, thanks to the capabilities of Cloud computing. This creates different challenges and opportunities for bookkeepers looking to learn more about the benefits of technology and the shift towards value pricing.
Despite improvements to technology, cash continues to serve as the lifeline of any business. Another session will delve into the importance of cash flow, tactics to monitor the situation and its crucial role in the business’ survival.
For those looking to grow their business, the relationship between bookkeepers and accountants directly impacts business clients. The IPBC will host a panel discussion on how financial professionals can collaborate to optimize and maximize their services.
Education, and the development of standardization of skillsets, play a crucial role for professional bookkeepers. The IPBC, through its Certified Professional Bookkeeper Designation, resources, programs and member benefits, aims to help any professional bookkeeper that wishes to advance their career and contribute to the wellbeing of the profession. This session focuses on ways the IPBC supports the industry through opportunities within education, professional advancement and advocacy. “The professional bookkeeper needs a stronger voice in Canada and that’s something that’s important,” said Louie. “Joining an organization like ours, and getting a designation, allows you to elevate the profession as a whole.”
What do you hope to learn at the upcoming IGNITE and Thrive conferences?