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How best to work with bookeepers?

Cloud enables collaboration, but for small businesses where does the bookkeeper fit in?

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Had several examples lately which lead me towards the conclusion that for small business clients, once they are on cloud, there is no benefit in them having a separate bookeeper. Most small ltd co clients want payroll, VAT and compliance, few want management accounts. In the cases where there is a bookkeeper in the mix they tend to get in the way. Not wishing to provoke ire from the bookkeeping profession, but it must be a challenge for them too, and I'm sure many have lost clients to accountants who offer cloud platforms and automation. It is also likely that some of you work quite happily with bookkeepers, perhaps being content with the compliance work while it lasts, and any advisory work.

What works best for you?

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By Roland195
19th Nov 2019 15:47

Interested in the answer. In fact, for small unincorporated businesses, I'd go as far to say they may be better off without an accountant involved either.

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Replying to Roland195:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
19th Nov 2019 16:36

Suspect many accountants would be better off without them, but isn't that what TaxAssist are for?

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By Sandnickel
19th Nov 2019 20:10

In my experience the role of the bookkeeper remains pretty much the same as it's always been. The information still has to go onto the software, still has to be checked and reconciled.

Whether that's the client, the bookkeeper or the accountant depends on the individual business. Again, I dont see that this has changed, the way that information is shared has changed & is always changing.

My bookkeeping colleagues have not lost any clients (most, if not all are on cloud software), in fact I've had to turn down bookkeeping work due to being too busy.

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Caroline
By accountantccole
20th Nov 2019 09:00

Hourly rate for BK likely to be lower than an accountant's hourly rate. I love a clean set of accounts and look forward to the ones that come from a good bookkeeper. Means we can focus on more interesting, added value work rather than churning and compliance

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By unearned luck
21st Nov 2019 00:10

"How best to work with bookeepers?"

Looking after boos is such a rare thing, I think that you have made a typo and I think I know what you meant to type. Considering that circuses don't have big cats anymore clearly you need to know "How best to work with zookeepers" if you are to achieve your proposed career change.

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Replying to unearned luck:
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By johnhemming
21st Nov 2019 07:09

According to Wikipedia his name is "Pewtey"

On the substantive issue one would assume that for smaller accountants (sole traders particularly) there is a role for working with bookkeepers and providing the added value. Cloud makes such collaboration a lot easier.

With a larger firm of accountants one would assume that inhouse bookkeeping services would be on offer.

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Replying to johnhemming:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
21st Nov 2019 09:42

I actually as a small accountant did quite a lot of the bookkeeping myself- whilst in most cases I got clients reasonably trained and just did the correcting myself (checking analysis, tidying entries, including missing ones and reconciling banks etc) for one larger one I just did everything from scratch- I suspect this is actually more common than one might think.

Whilst hourly recovery rates may not be "full" one can often, especially if efficient, charge more than a bookkeeper would tend to do per hour and writing up the books oneself does tend to reduce some of the other work one might do if dealing with accounting records prepared by others.

I think it is a throwback to my smaller practice background (though was also doing this sometimes during my apprenticeship in the 1980s with Hodgson Impey( now RSM) where quite a few clients would dump records on you with virtually no books and the job did often entail creating the accounting records (often quarterly for vat and then annual for accounts) from the documents provided.)

Re inhouse bookkeping service , we certainly did not have this in the Glasgow office of Hodgson Impey in the 1980s, that is what apprentices were for.

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Replying to johnhemming:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
21st Nov 2019 09:41

Duplicate

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Replying to unearned luck:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
22nd Nov 2019 07:27

Well I did want to be a lion tamer .....

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Replying to unearned luck:
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
22nd Nov 2019 07:35

unearned luck wrote:

"How best to work with bookeepers?"

Looking after boos is such a rare thing.


Reminds me of Blackadder "Great Boo's up ..."
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By buttercup books
23rd Nov 2019 13:11

Well - I'm a book-keeper and happy to be one.

Most of my work comes via recommendation from Accountants who know me.

People who run small businesses, some very, very successful small businesses want to do what they set up the business for - they want to take photographs or code computer programs or plaster walls. They don't want to sit behind a desk trying to make sense of MTD and GDPR or any other time consuming edict from HMRC.
For one company, I go to the office one day a week, send out the invoices, scan in the purchase invoices and mail, sort the emails and surprise surprise, do the book-keeping. For most, I can log in from home and do "the books".
Automation is great, I love the bank downloads and reconciliation, but it won't replace a good book-keeper,

As " accountantccole" said, most accountants want a clean set of accounts they can turn around in a few hours, and a good book-keeper is the best way to achieve that.

We are the accountants' best friend, and I suspect, we always will be

BB

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On The Spot Accountants - Local Accountant - Tax Experts
By onthespottax
26th Nov 2019 08:57

Agree with Buttercup Books and Accountantccole. We're always looking for good bookkeepers to work with. Clients gets a great total overall finance package.

Clients can't understand double entry book keeping and we've all seen some interesting results on software eg sales being booked twice when clients get confused.

Governments will forever tinker, and book keepers and accountants have to 'translate' each new initiative explaining what needs to be done or that the client can ignore it.

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