For decades, bookkeepers were basically data entry clerks – their work consisted mostly of inputting data from one system into another. Now, however, with the increased availability and popularity of system integrations, many bookkeepers can offer high quality services that branch outside just copying numbers.
Such was the case for Dean O’Bree, who has been the owner of Jim’s Bookkeeping in Keysborough since December 2017. Through his years of experience, becoming a qualified accountant and CPA, being promoted several times, working in an accounts payable position at the largest retailer in Australia, Dean knows his trade like the back of his hand. With the additional experience of 10 years as a business owner, before purchasing Jim’s Bookkeeping, he was looking for solutions to move his business to the next level. The 10 years in my own business gave me insight into the struggles of small businesses that you can only get as a business owner – the stress of struggling with cash flow and how to pay the bills, of the many hats we wear from marketing to finance to HR to office cleaner – Dean comments. Those struggles gave him the broad perspective that would launch him into his new career.
The combination of skills I gained as an accountant in a large company and my experience as a small business owner allows me to understand exactly what my clients need, and how to help them – adds Dean.
The need for a bookkeeper
Bookkeepers are no longer chained to their desks with stacks of printed data from one system, copying numbers and values all day to make sure another system is updated. As little as two decades ago, that was exactly what their jobs looked like.
As time has passed, the need for system integration has become more and more apparent. Fortunately, such solutions have emerged, changing the world of bookkeeping for good. Software like Amaka can link different systems such as Square and Xero so that data flows through without the intervention of bookkeepers – says Dean. And right he is – proper integration between the POS system, accounting software, as well as bank accounts, receipt collection software and all data management programs have become essential timesavers for bookkeepers.
Automatically collecting and sorting data from various sources also means fewer errors. A slip of a bookkeeper’s finger will no longer wreak havoc on data.
With the reduction of so much tedious, repetitive work, bookkeepers can now move on from being data clerks to offering their clients additional value and more diverse services, such as advisory and controlling. And since they no longer need to have printouts of data and invoices, and other documents don’t have to be delivered to their desks, a bookkeeper is no longer locally bound. In the case of Dean, thanks to properly integrated software, he is able to provide his services to clients outside his state – and even country.
Tested on the best
Dean has extra credibility as an advocate for Amaka integrations: My first client to use the Square + Xero by Amaka integration was myself. I retail Square readers to Jim’s franchisees at the monthly Jim’s training course and use the Amaka integration so the data flows between Square and Xero.
Since he has tested the solution himself, he has no problems using it in Jim’s Bookkeeping on a full scale. Many clients of bookkeepers have no clue about the technology involved, so being able to explain and present them the integrated software gives Dean an additional benefit. Thanks to his expertise, the clients don’t see him as a number pusher anymore – instead, witnessing his skills and abilities, they treat him as a business advisor. I have received calls from clients asking me to tell them if they can afford to buy a new car, expand their business and increase cash flow – says Dean.
It’s impossible to stress just how much more potential a bookkeeper has with more free time to expand their services. Dean admits that, especially in the global pandemic situation, being able to focus on staying up-to-date with all the changes around us is crucial. Providing his clients with HR advice, for example, became possible just because the Amaka integration solution allowed him to focus specifically on that, and not on entering data all day. But besides that, having more time allows Dean – and others like him – to add value to their clients, doing cash flow analysis, creating budgets, and recommending and implementing technology that makes their clients more productive. We have the opportunity to greatly increase our income by using smarter technology and offering higher value services – says Dean.
Modern world, modern bookkeeper
With the shift of the expectations from bookkeepers – now they combine the roles of accountants, business advisors, HR specialists, software experts, analysts and compliance officers – the needs of a modern bookkeeper had to change as well. More and more bookkeeping firms aim to specialise in a certain type of clients, from companies beyond a given revenue level, or companies operating on one software system only, to focusing on one particular industry.
In the case of Jim’s Bookkeeping, Dean has also focused his services: My bookkeeping business works mostly with small businesses, many of them franchisees within the Jim’s Group. Most of my clients have no employees and need assistance not just with their bookkeeping, but advice ranging from technology, reminders to follow up with their debtors, and even HR advice – concludes Dean.
With so much diversity in the client’s profiles and services they need, it’s no wonder that Dean’s main concern was to integrate all possible software into a smoothly operating system. Having had previous successes with using apps in his business, he became an accounting technologist. Professionals like him are at the crossroads of daily bookkeeping and accounting with the added twist of implementing modern technology into their work. Accounting technologists always need more – they need business automation, seamless data flow and superb accuracy. Amaka designs and then implements the software to fit their needs.
One, two, three steps ahead
Thanks to the fact that Dean can count on accurate and reliable data entry automation, he now has the opportunity to leap ahead of the competition. Jim’s Bookkeeping is free to branch out and provide complex, thorough assistance for small businesses.
But being ahead of competition is just one part of the success. Because, together with Amaka, Dean worked out how to make running his bookkeeping business smooth and intuitive, now he can stay ahead in terms of business needs. The bookkeeping and accounting markets’ standards are evolving – and it’s good to know that Dean O’Bree and Amaka have played their parts in ensuring others will now have to follow in Jim’s Bookkeeping’s footsteps.