This is part two in a five-part series Eliminate Manual Bookkeeping & Unlock Real-Time Cash Flow Insights. To read part one of the series, please click here.
The Question We All Ask
People often ask, "What are the traits of the most successful bookkeeping firms?" It's a tricky question to answer because success is such a subjective outlook on a topic. But when you begin looking deeper at the top firms, you start to see a trend in their interactions with their competitors and clients.
Most successful firms share the same essential qualities - it’s their propensity to be proactive in their approach to client relationships and developing premium service lines. These firms are also typically on the cutting edge of innovation and proactively look to integrate at all levels of their practice.
Defining Innovation in Bookkeeping
But what does innovation mean in this context? It's more of a mindset and a strategy. It does not always involve technology, but it's a willingness to try something new and expand on the previous notions of what drives a firm’s growth. Innovation can come in many forms, be it pricing, service models, or tech stack. There is an enterprising and growth-seeking mindset that these successful firms have when evaluating their business’s different parts.
It can be extremely challenging to change your firm's ‘old-school’ mindset, but it's important to remember that it’s never too late to make the shift. Implementing a few simple processes is all it takes to get started on the path towards innovation.
According to a survey conducted by Robert Half Management Resources, 41% of CFOs cited technology as a significant source of stress in their jobs, saying that innovations in accounting are progressing so rapidly that it’s challenging to keep up. Adopting a new innovative mindset can be a long and grueling process, but you will be forever grateful that you instituted such policies at your firm once you get set up.
Beginning the Transition
So how do you go about the transition of becoming an innovative firm? It starts with staying informed. In our current global economy, your competition is constantly evolving. Keeping an ear on the ground to potential grumblings is the first step for preparing your team to operate innovatively. It's essential to have a presence within various peer networks and keep a read on industry trends and media. Content creation is necessary, but keeping up-to-date with news and happenings affecting modern bookkeeping is the goal.
The next step in the process is to audit your current toolkit and business model. Ask yourself, “Am I currently serving the clients that I am targeting? Am I providing all the services that my prospective clients are requesting?”
If the answer is ‘no’ to either of these questions, then it's time to evaluate how you close the gap and provide a more holistic service option that keeps your clients happy, engaged, and loyal. Doing so demonstrates your commitment to client success, while opening the door to potential new revenue opportunities through client referrals and expansion.
Innovation is a continuous process. Simply adding a new piece of software to your existing digital toolkit doesn't cut it anymore. The best firms today are continuously challenging themselves to evolve their product and service offerings. Developing an innovation first mindset helps you to create a more agile and adaptable firm. Making innovation a part of what and who you are is essential for meaningful and scalable growth.
When looking at innovation, you can take note of what other key players in the industry are doing. As we mentioned earlier, innovation can take multiple forms, but seeing what's possible is critical to starting the journey of becoming a more innovative firm.
Here are two examples of how bookkeeping professionals are embracing innovation:
With the increase in remote working environments, being able to maintain productivity and team communications is critical. As more bookkeeping firms look to support their workforce and clients virtually, they are leaning toward more automation-focused tools. These tools allow them to eliminate most of their manual bookkeeping tasks, and free them to focus their attention on value-added services (like advisory, cash flow forecasting, etc.) for their clients.
Bookkeeping professionals are poised to provide life-changing service to their clients to recover from the massive impact they're experiencing from the COVID-19 pandemic. As the new needs arise, more bookkeeping firms are leveraging this need to have conversations with their clients to discover what they can do to become a more dedicated and supportive partner.
What sets the best firms apart is their commitment to innovation, excellent service, and consistent challenge to compete externally and internally. Starting your journey to proactive, modern bookkeeping can allow you to evolve your firm to become more productive, profitable, and powerful.
Part three in this five-part series Eliminate Manual Bookkeeping & Unlock Real-Time Cash Flow Insights will be published on Friday, April 16, 2021.
If you want to learn how Dext helps 50,000 accountants & bookkeepers increase their productivity, click here!