4 ways to become a better-connected bookkeeper

27th July, 2016

Bookkeeping can be a lonely profession.

I’ve heard of many bookkeepers who struggle with the solitude they feel. Especially those working for themselves. Feeling separated from a support network. Isolated.

I never expected to hear these accounts when I joined the industry a few years ago. The bookkeepers I’d known previously would appear in businesses once a week or fortnight, right the wrongs, and disappear at the end of the day ready for the next business in need.

But so often lately I hear of bookkeepers who are unsure of where to turn to for advice, for a chat, or are feeling disassociated from peers and lacking a network.

Fortunately, the internet has created opportunities for people to connect over large distances. Over time, we’ve come to trust social networks enough to open up about experiences, and seek out assistance.

Not just social media platforms – forums too.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways the connected bookkeeper can stay in touch with his or her peers. I’m looking at this through an MYOB lens, though I’m sure other bodies have created terrific support platforms as well.

Connections are vitally important. So many opportunities pop up when you’re part of a wide network: extra work, support, friendship opportunities and more.

Here are four ways to stay connected.

1. Industry bodies

There are reasons galore for being part of an industry body. Support, services, training, templates, thought leadership, forums, events – you’ll get plenty from membership to one (or more) of these groups.

Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB)

Australian Bookkeepers Network (ABN)

Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)

NZ Bookkeepers Association Inc (NZBAI)

2. Facebook

Love it or loathe it, Facebook has matured into a strikingly open and honest support environment. (Well, perhaps not always.)

The Bookkeepers Support Group Australia provides a safe, friendly (and closed to the public) environment for around 2,000 bookkeepers.

From the description:

“I wanted to create a space where we can support each other, ask questions when we are confronted with a curly transaction and help each other grow within our businesses.”

And if you’re not feeling your best, you’re sure to attract a heartwarming #hugabookkeeper in reply to your post.

(Note that the industry bodies listed above have active Facebook pages as well, where you’ll get direct access to subject matter experts.)

3. MYOB Community Forum

Got a technical question? It’s likely been asked (and answered) on the MYOB Community Forum. If not, there’s bound to be someone who can you help within 24 hours.

There are both open and closed groups on the forum that you can be a part of, depending on your membership level.

The vibe is pretty relaxed, and the people are friendly. The moderator group is fair, and the community manager Suja is one of my favourite people.

It’s not just technical stuff, by the way – there’s a fair bit of chit-chat as well.

4. Events

Industry events perform a double function: information dump and social get together. I’ve heard of bookkeeping practices using these events as a business bonding session, with two-day conferences morphing into five days and a shopping trip / booze fest / bonding trip!

The best event on our calendar is September’s Partner Connect, with the big events happening in Auckland and the Gold Coast. Fantastic connections can be made at these events. It’s critical that you get your networking game on to make the most of the event.

So there are four ways for the connected bookkeeper to improve their network, for friendship and support. Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments below.