Effective recordkeeping


13th October, 2021

How to discuss effective recordkeeping with clients

Effective recordkeeping is one of the fundamentals of sound business practices, and it’s a critical conversation for advisors to have with clients.

From solo operators keeping receipts in a shoebox under the bed, to much larger organisations managing dozens of employees with multiple systems and a bevvy of Excel spreadsheets – accountants and bookkeepers have seen it all.

While advancements in information technology have made recordkeeping processes in general more efficient, these processes still rely on input from people, and those people often make choices that end up hampering efficiency down the road.

For advisors, this means being able to provide guidance not only on the best processes their clients should regularly undertake in their bookkeeping and other admin, but also on the systems they use to get the job done.

Often, moving reluctant clients from a complex set of tech systems into a single cloud-based accounting platform is worth it – for both them and their advisors.

More effective recordkeeping  begins with challenging the status quo

Accounting firms benefit greatly when they work with clients who use a single platform for bookkeeping. But convincing clients to simplify their lives is often surprisingly tricky.

“Many small businesses are set in their ways,” said Iain Enticott, director of Technology For Accountants, Australia’s only dedicated IT support provider for accountants.

Small and medium businesses who have been using the same methods for years – paper bank statements, Excel spreadsheets, old payroll software or legacy apps – often see little reason to change. They may find the idea of cloud-based platforms daunting.

That’s why it’s important to provide concrete examples of how upgrading will improve their bottom line, rather than making generalisations, according to Enticott.

“A great example for small business is how much easier it has become to process expenses,” he said.

“You set up a bank feed, you scan receipts on your smartphone as you collect them, and the two match up automatically.”

Businesses no longer need to manually input expense totals into a spreadsheet, download information from ancient desktop programs or pay their accountant to sort through bank statements and a shoebox full of receipts. The burden on their business decreases.

A related example that will resonate with most small businesses is how cloud-based platforms make preparing quarterly Business Activity Statements (BAS) easier.

For businesses that rely on expensing to bring down their BAS bills, the quarterly filing requirement can be a burden. If that shoebox full of receipts isn’t processed promptly each quarter, the client misses out on reducing their payable GST.

Using a cloud-based platform to ‘file-and-reconcile as you go’ solves the problem. There’s less anxiety as BAS deadline approaches because the client knows the bill will be as low as possible.

Effective recordkeeping: It’s all about value for effort

Persuading your clients to move with the times can seem like a lot of hard work for little reward. But accountants themselves can benefit significantly when their clients consolidate.

Firstly, there’s less of the tedious data entry that accountants often had to undertake on their clients’ behalf. You’ll have more time to provide high-paying advisory services or to focus on growing your business.

Secondly, you can develop deep expertise rather than being a generalist.

“The worst thing an accountant can do is try to keep track of dozens of bits of software, dozens of file types, just because their clients are using them all,” said Enticott.

“It’s better to take the time to help your clients simplify their app stacks and, ideally, move them all across to the same platform.”

Your firm can then focus on one platform, which makes training staff easier, and the advanced knowledge you develop can help you attract new clients.

Meanwhile, using the same tools as your existing clients increases efficiency at both ends.

“That’s good for everyone’s bottom line.”

Find out more about how MYOB Business can help your practice grow and simplify your customers’ operations by making time to speak to your Sales Specialist today.