Accounting and Bookkeeping, Australia

  • Permalink Gallery

    Find out how you can get your Business Advisory offering to take off

Find out how you can get your Business Advisory offering to take off

“Generally of every 100 firms that want to offer a business advisory service only 30 succeed in a reasonable time. “The rate of failure is scary,”  says Mark Holton of Smiththink. Mr. Holton also says the two main reasons why firms fail are a lack of commitment and a lack of capacity.

You know what? Holton was spot on. We conducted a survey recently finding out the HOAD ( Headaches, objectives, aspirations and desires )  of around 200 practices that are Xero Platinum, Gold and Silver Users and here are some revealing stats.

27% of the practice owners who took the survey said that Business advisory still remains a desire for them
23% of the practice owners who took the survey said that Business advisory services they currently offer hardly impact their revenue

Want to find out how you can rev up your Business advisory offering?  [Click Here] to complete this insightful checklist and find out.

“Lack of commitment”, that’s because it’s never as important as compliance and what happens to stuff that’s never as important? When does it get done? Never!

The second “C” is the “lack of capacity”. Because of the lack of commitment we are not putting enough resources towards it so we lack capacity. “That’s the single biggest issue,” he said.

In the very same survey mentioned above we asked the practice owners which “C” that they lacked and the response took us by surprise.

A whopping 62.5 % of the practice owners said that it was Lack Of Capacity.
18.8% of the practice owners said that it was Lack of Commitment.

So which “C” do you lack [Click here] to complete this insightful Checklist and receive a fresh perspective on how you can overcome these ‘C” blocks and get your Business Advisory services to soar.
Complete the checklist to find out!.

Here is the [...]

Digital Disruption and the Accounting Industry

Accountants, especially the early mover types are advising their clients onto cloud applications like Xero, but the question is: are they themselves taking full advantage of the incoming digital disruption?
Smithink 2020 founding director David Smith talking to AccountantsDaily about digital disruption and the accounting profession says “So the biggest challenge I think is for accounting firms to rethink their own business based on all these developments and be willing to experiment and try different ways of doing things; different ways of engaging with their clients and different services that they can provide. I think many of them are still doing what they’ve always done even though this new technology is there, they’re not leveraging it.”

 Here are 4 ways that might look a bit different to what you are currently doing:

Set up a truly digital workflow that will help virtual engagement. Cloud applications are transforming every process and workflow. It will not be in the distant future when accountants will meet with their clients mostly on high resolution interactive screens. High definition TV steaming through broadband at high quality and consistency will soon make it a preferred option. “I think in the end, people say they’d much rather sit across the desk from somebody but when the clarity and quality of that communication is so good perhaps people will be more comfortable with it and particularly when you get to the next generation, Gen Y etc. they’re going to be even more comfortable again” says David Smith. This ought to convince Accountants to review their current workflows and make the necessary changes that will take advantage of the digital disruption. 

Talent efficiency: It is not only about the cost efficiency of equivalent talent which offshore outsourcing [...]

Time’s up On Hourly Rate?

“What’s your hourly rate, mate?

Hmmm….that is  a quarter of what goes here….lemme try them out and see….

Wait….the guy over there in the other country… he may not be as switched on…but he’s even cheaper… what the heck, it’s just keying in stuff….nothing’s complicated …..

Hey look, you may be cheap, but I can do the work in a fraction of your time, not to mention the time I spend reviewing your work. I’m beginning to see why your rate may not be as attractive as I thought earlier….”

Some of us have been involved in strikingly similar conversation and others have at least heard it in the market.

Time based billing is fast being replaced by fixed billing. Output and not effort is going to be the focus. Hourly rates provide a perception of cost efficient or premium services as the case may be, but output or deliverable connects with value.

What keeps firms that are not yet on board from getting there sooner?

The answer is Workflow Management. In fact the very workflow culture has to change. It becomes important to understand and define the deliverable that the client values. Then the processes and tasks behind each deliverable needs to be defined. When the discrete components of the workflow become clearly visible, we call it a digitized workflow. Nothing like a digitized workflow for efficient resource management.

Offshore outsourcing for lower hourly and FTE rates may not be as attractive as before. The new wave will be talent engagement with deliverable based billing. Global talent can be mapped on to digitized workflows for improved cost efficiency. Talent engagement will be reviewed and remunerated for deliverable.

6 Reasons Why StylusFMS can assure you greater value through a deliverable based model 

Pioneers of [...]

Seizing Virtual Advantage from Digital Impact

Professional Services in Australia have taken Digital Impact. Although it has been a reality since 2012, the ripples of the impact are still at play. The playing field has been re-adjusted with new expectations from traditional roles and emerging models like value-based pricing and it continues to evolve. Finance and Accounts divisions, accounting and bookkeeping firms who are readjusting their own strategies in this context have the opportunity to seize substantial advantage. Here is why.

Workflows are getting digitized. In other words, professional services like accounting and bookkeeping can be  broken down into process and task level components. Discrete components mean a high level of control and lower cost of processing, through automation and outsourcing. The professional Accountant or BAS agent is freed up to play an advisory role to clients. Bandwidth is released to  take on new clients and grow the business faster.
Virtual workflows are the new reality. As most applications are going to be residing in the cloud, workflows will also find their home there. Data residency may be insisted on geographically limited  server farms. Australian data could reside in Australia although the workflow itself is truly virtual.
Virtual workflows drive virtual talent engagement. Digitized virtual workflow is truly a great advantage when it comes to application of talent. Job descriptions and deliverables are much more easier on digitized workflows. Talent can be applied globally for improved effectiveness and higher cost efficiency.
Good Project Management makes a big difference. In a virtual workflow and virtual team ecosystem, project management is an important success factor. Tools such as Xero, Workflowmax and Kanbanfow are proving useful in making sure that the virtual advantage from digitized environments are real

If you are interested in discussing specific [...]

  • Permalink Gallery

    4 Principles for the Open World – What it means to the Accounting Industry

4 Principles for the Open World – What it means to the Accounting Industry

Don Tapscott on Ted talk (Four Principles for the Open World) puts forth a positive picture, arguing that the arc of history is towards openness. A few centuries ago, Guttenberg’s printing press gave man the access to recorded knowledge which paved the way for the creation of corporations, emergence of science and university and eventually the industrial revolution. No wonder that Martin Luther called the printing press “God’s highest act of grace” . The Internet has taken it to a new plane – from recorded knowledge to shared intelligence, accelerating the march towards openness. So here below are the 4 principles according to Tapscott and  a few thoughts on what it could mean to the professional services industry.

Principle #1 – Collaboration: The internet has gone from being a platform for content to becoming a platform for computation. This has ushered in tremendous energies for collaboration. The key factors driving such collaboration are:

First generation digital natives entering the workforce (Stated simply, if you are above 35, you are either a digital immigrant or an aspirant to become one)
The new global economic environment that is altering the boundaries of engagement. Virtual workflows that extend beyond national boundaries are the new reality.
The new paradigm on talent. Tapscott gives the example of a neigbour who after failing to strike gold with his geologist’s research data finally published all these data on the internet and invited the global network to help him find gold in exchange for a reward of half a million dollars. He did find gold that drove up his fortunes ten fold. Most interestingly, the best ideas came not from geologists, but a variety of domains – engineers, software analysts etc.

The question for the [...]

  • Permalink Gallery

    5 Reasons why Accounting and Bookkeeping professionals avoid Digitization and Virtualization

5 Reasons why Accounting and Bookkeeping professionals avoid Digitization and Virtualization

“Our survey tells us that 60% of the 77% of accountants who are not using cloud systems today will probably do so within the next two to three years. We are rapidly approaching a point where the use of cloud software to perform accounting services is ubiquitous – that’s a big shift in a few years. ” – CEO of Wolters Kluwer Asia Pacific, Russell Evans
We live in the age on Network Intelligence, thanks to the Internet. From its early days of sharing information globally, the internet is today a global computing system in which global talent can collaborate on virtualized workflows. This is the digital age where we are welcoming the first generation of digital natives – our children who take to this reality quite naturally, when many of us adults have moved in as digital immigrants. The Accounting profession could very well be on a burning platform and strongly persuaded to consider digitization and virtualization. Here are five reasons why the inertia is significant for some.

Lack of Awareness and a lack of time: There is enough work to keep everyone busy at present. There is so much noise about that need to change but how much is believable? Is it really worth the time?
Why tinker with an already working system? My sales team reports that a frequent response when they present the value proposition of virtual teams is “I have a system that works and am not looking to change it” (Read more about Virtual Teams)
Nervous about Security: A physical environment for infrastructure and teams is definitely reassuring and gives a greater sense of security. Mike Chisholm, CEO of CCH Collaborative Solutions says “Five or six [...]

The Accountant’s New Avatar!

Functions and roles change with time. Many of today’s jobs did not exist twenty years ago and our children are being trained for jobs that do not exist today! The role of the accountant perhaps has been one that has had a longer life cycle compared to most others. But even that is changing. According to the Lloyd Morgan Accounting Skills Index, “the once clichéd image of a bespectacled, grey-cardiganed bean-counter with calculator in hand has fast become a thing of the past.” In Australia, 17000 new accountants jobs from now until 2017, according to  Department of Employment figures.  So what ought to be the new avatars that these and even those that serve today should transform to?

Big Picture People – “Employers are looking for accountants to step outside the traditional finance function and be involved in ‘big picture’ business strategy,” says Hays Accountancy and Finance regional director Susan Drew . “Soft skills can be underestimated by candidates, but employers are increasingly looking for potential chief financial officers with leadership, management, and interpersonal skills – skills that can also determine the employee’s ability to fit into an existing team.”
Social Skills – The nerdy geek image requires a makeover. Both traditional networking as well as social media networking skills will find a way into the accountant’s personal development plans. Accountants will certainly have a thing or two to learn from Sales people and business coaches.
Understanding Information Technology :  IT ecosystems are becoming increasingly digitized and virtualized. How your accounting /bookkeeping firm adapts to this reality determines how much competitive advantage can be gained through increased efficiencies.
Process and Team Management – Pin heads and number crunchers may have been nerds at school and [...]

The Xero Shift: Why Australian Accounting and Bookkeeping firms must have a response to the new Digital Disruption.

I am yet to find an accounting firm or bookkeeping firm that does not sing paeans to Xero. Hot at Xero’s heels are other cloud applications that are changing the playing field forever. Here are some facts that you must not miss, based on a 2012 Deloitte report on the Digital Disruption facing Australian corporations.

Technology uptake for increasing efficiencies is significant across Australian industry and invites strong response in terms of re-calibrating cost structures – ie making changes in terms of people, supply chain and overheads to better control costs and compete with digitally powered , low cost new comers.
Industries expected to face both significant and imminent disruption by digital include finance, retail trade, arts and recreation, professional services, and information, media and telecommunications
The impact of digital disruption holds sway over enterprise, medium size as well as small segments. In fact digitally powered new comers can pull the carpet from under many larger established ones who may fail to take advantage of the new paradigms.
There is significant potential to use digital technologies to access talent in offshore locations for back-office and other tasks. A 2010 Macquarie University study found that 36 per cent of Australian businesses surveyed were already sending work offshore, 21 per cent were in the process of moving some activities offshore, and 12 per cent were discussing it. This isn’t just a question of sending work from Australia to low-wage countries either. Reconsider the whole approach to workforce management and engagement
The days of leading and managing a group of people that worked and played side-by-side every day are long past. Instead, digitization gives organizations the opportunity to shift from traditional enclosed, hierarchical workforces to [...]

Smart Bookkeepers NAIL it.

Thomas Parackal

Bookkeeping is no longer the essential but innocuous  support every business needed. Done effectively, it can impact business strategies and decision making. This is why smart bookkeepers can become advisors to the businesses they serve, if they nail the following:

Take advantage of New Realities. Virtual is Real in the cloud! Thanks to cloud applications, you can log in from anywhere anytime. This also means that you can use talent that does not need to sit in your office and be on your payroll. And in the virtual world, you pay per use.
Is there an advantage in the art of managing an unseen team? Those who have agree on one key advantage – it will force you to sharpen your systems and workflows.  When working with the seen, we tend to rely on our perceptions.  In an unseen world we are forced to compensate for this and the answer is systems and processes. Smart systems and processes bring competitive advantage anyway you look at it.
Improve your position: As a business owner, are you doing the most important things you ought to be doing? If you ask me, a substantial portion of your time must be for client centric engagement – meaning understanding the client and solving their business problems. If it is too task centric, you must improve your position without any more procrastination.
Lower your costs: This one seems like a no brainer but it all depends on your strategies with respect  to two things   a) effective cost of effort for tasks performed: You can significantly lower costs is you have the ability to do a work breakdown for allocation across virtual talent. It may sound fancy, but it is nothing [...]

Bookkeeping Australia: Why it pays to give attention to a wider pool of skills

Thomas Parackal

Most urban parents like me put considerable thought and effort into their children’s education and future careers. And knowingly or unknowingly we use existing career planning paradigms to shape our aspirations in this area. Now, here is a fact that ought to seriously challenge our thinking. Did you know that most job profiles that are being advertised for today did not even exist ten years ago? This means many of our young children are being educated and getting prepared for jobs that actually do not exist today! So, how is that going to impact your perspective? I think this should drive a keen focus on talent nurturing. Jobs of the future will thrive on talent perhaps even more than they do today and conventional molds will continue to get broken.

Bookkeeping today has to contend with technology, systems, processes and methodologies in unprecedented ways thanks to its rapid evolution in Australia. Firms that are able to deal with this effectively are going to emerge with a competitive advantage. Fundamentally what this means is a wider pool of skills within the team. In other words, add to the skill of bookkeeping , skills in the following areas: data processing and data integration, application management and integration , process and workflow mapping and project management. What strikes me most about this set of skills is that each of them seems to belong to a different industry domain. For example, process mapping is an engineering skill and application and data integration belongs to the Information Technology domain. So how can you bring all these into a bookkeeping practice?

Of course there are some fabulously gifted all-rounders who can do it all. The problem is that they [...]