25th August, 2022
Leanne Berry shares insights from the Institute of Certified New Zealand Bookkeepers (ICNZB) in her summary of the recent 2022 Bookkeepcon event.
At the end of July, I headed off to New Zealand to attend and speak at the annual ICNZB Bookkeepcon, held at the Te Pae Convention Centre in Christchurch.
It’s the largest event of its kind in New Zealand (around 200 bookkeepers were in attendance), and while MYOB has had a presence at the event in past years, we stepped it up a notch again in 2022.
To start, MYOB hosted the official welcome function for the conference at our Christchurch offices on the Thursday evening before Bookkeepcon22 began.
Eighty bookkeepers joined us for the “Taste Buds Go Global” event; so named because we served lots of internationally themed food and drink and gave away travel-themed prizes. Even though it may be hard to travel lately, we wanted to bring the world to our attendees!
And, after two days of conference sessions, panels and keynote speeches, Bookkeepcon finished with a Saturday night gala dinner featuring the ICNZB Excellence Awards.
The gala provided an excellent opportunity to celebrate innovators and exemplars in the industry – and it’s that kind of forward-looking optimism that the conference delivered, with this year’s overarching conference theme of ‘Future Focussed’ showing how bookkeepers can plan and take actions to set themselves up for ongoing success.
Below is my summary of some of the key takeaways for bookkeepers who couldn’t attend the event.
The MYOB team was at the conference’s trade expo for both days of the event, with the stated aim of helping attendees ‘Get Good Busy’ now, and into the future.
This message, and the discussion around ‘good’ busy versus ‘bad’ busy that comes with it, encourages business owners and managers to spend their time more productively, doing the things they do best by streamlining and automating financial tasks and admin rather than getting stuck with overwhelming to-do lists and neverending manual tasks.
During the expo and the rest of Bookkeepcon, the MYOB team talked to ICNZB members and re-engaged with bookkeeping partners. After a two-year hiatus it was great to be back among our bookkeeping community.
MYOB hosted a panel discussion on the Friday of the event to discuss
“How to thrive in a constantly changing world”.
As panel chair, I was joined by Daniel West, MYOB’s Chief Sales & Support Officer, Sue Inkersell, Managing Director of 3rd Arm Admin and Nicky Reynolds, the owner of Accountable Computer Solutions.
We talked about how bookkeepers could best adapt and pivot their business and services to seize the opportunities that come with change. We also spoke about how bookkeepers can support their clients most effectively through change and shared some actionable tips and advice on successful change management so attendees could go away and apply some of the ideas right away.
As part of the panel discussion, Daniel detailed how bad digitisation – where there’s a disconnection between apps or programs, and they don’t talk to one another properly – makes it so much harder to do business well.
Conversely, good digitisation aids the flow and efficiency of work processes and makes it much easier to manage change, from the point of view of leading internal staff in a bookkeeping practice and in assisting clients in streamlining their processes.
As a result, the panel encouraged attending bookkeepers to not only find ways to adapt and think about their business processes in new and more efficient ways but also to bring their clients along on this digitisation journey and ensure they’re as flexible and up to date as possible.
To thrive in the future, we all must get uncomfortable with change and push boundaries, rather than staying static and doing things the same way we’ve always done them just because that might feel easier at the time.
On the Saturday, I provided a more in-depth view of this path in my keynote presentation on “The Journey to Good Digitisation”.
During the presentation, I shared some of the essential findings from MYOB’s June 2022 report, The Digital Disconnection Challenge, so the bookkeepers could better understand where business owners are currently placed and where they need help to manage their financial and accounting processes.
Attendees were able to get an idea of some opportunities they might be missing and inspiration for thinking about client interactions in different ways in the future.
Two of the statistics shared on the day related to troubles SMEs currently have with tech tools:
The big issue for many is that they have multiple tools plus multiple subscriptions and therefore have to spend too much time checking and comparing data points.
You may not think this sounds like too much of an issue, but the time adds up more quickly than you’d expect.
In fact, the Digital Disconnection Challenge report found that, on average, businesses lose one whole workday a week or over $330 million per year due to bad digitisation.
This means that bookkeeping practices and their clients must continually focus on the future to find good digital tools that integrate closely with their and their customers’ systems and create more efficiency.
As shared in the presentation, my suggestions are to start by asking yourself how efficient the tools you’re using are and if they make it easy to share data.
Do you have a centralised view of all the data you track, or are you still relying on slow manual processes?
Are you taking data from one spot and having to manipulate it in another, on another software tool, to get results?
For best practices, bookkeepers should reduce or eliminate manual processes and ensure digital tools integrate well and talk to each other properly.
It’s vital to do an audit of your digital tools. Look at your software downloads and subscriptions to see which tools you’re using and paying for, and ask yourself how often you’re using them and if you’re getting the best out of them or not.
You can achieve good digitisation by creating workflow automation, using centralised data and intelligence, and adding digital collaboration.
If you’re able to get this right as a bookkeeper, you’ll not only be winning in business, you may even begin to find yourself being called upon to appear at events like Bookkeepcon.
Does your business deserve a little recognition? Know a bookkeeper whose name should be shouted from the rooftops? Nominations for the MYOB Partner Awards have just opened, so head over to the event website and submit yours today.