1st August, 2019

Partner Spotlight: Q&A with JAG Team’s John Godsall

In the latest edition of Partner Spotlight, we sat down with the managing director of JAG Team, John Godsall, to discover how he stays on top of the bookkeeping game.

This month’s Partner Spotlight underscores the dedication and experience presented by John Godsall, managing director of JAG Team Professional Bookkeepers and JAG Team Consulting.

While these offerings have been built out over the course of the past 12 years, Godsall has been developing his career over a period spanning five decades. It’s fair to say he’s witnessed plenty of change in the industry over that time.

To discover more about what makes JAG Team unique, and to pick his brain for industry insights, we recently reached out for a chat with Godsall.

John Godsall
JAG Team MD, John Godsall.

What are the pros and cons of your day-to-day work?

The positives are helping businesses grow and meet their full potential because as they grow, we in turn grow.

Another positive is that you’re continually learning as each business has their own set of individual quirks. It’s great to receive compliments from clients for solving their problems and helping them improve the performance of their business.

The third positive I can express is the variety of work one is confronted with each and every day due to the client or clients that are worked on each day so one has to keep their wits about them

Unlike most bookkeepers, I believe that negatives are opportunities presented in a different manner.

Two items may be considered negatives and the first is time and the second are those clients who are late to provide their documents and expect the ATO’s times for lodgements to be met. To get these clients to conform to requirements is my major challenge.

How would you describe your job in a single tweet?

Data entry, report preparation, KPI and report analysis, client meetings and communication.

What does an average day look like for you?

Basically, all businesses perform one or more of the following processes: they buy something, they sell something, they receive money, they pay out money and maybe they make something.

I don’t think there’s such a thing as an average day in the life of a bookkeeper. As I previously stated, each client’s work has their own quirks. As an example, our clients range from an Australia wide vending machine operator, property developers, builders, manufacturers and a medical practice. Each client sets their unique challenge for the day when using the file and communicating with the owner of the entity.

Tell us something surprising about your job that people may not know about?

Many people think bookkeepers enter data into a program and therefore represent an overhead to a business that could be done without. But they don’t understand that although professional bookkeepers may be an expense to the business, they can actually save a business money by correctly allocating expenses, analysing and discussing the results of the business with the owner, and suggesting alternative strategies to achieve the desired objective.

Beyond that, a bookkeeper can also allay an owner’s fears by ensuring everything up to date and in line with ATO and government guidelines.

Has your client base decreased, increased or remained steady over the past 12 months?

Since starting our journey 13 years ago by purchasing a Jim’s bookkeeping franchise (and after two years spent leaving them), we steadily increased our client base. With the introduction of the MYOB Advisor our clients have come to rely on our services more.

The introduction of cloud-based MYOB products has helped decrease the reliance of attending a client’s office and allowed for a more efficient use of our time.

Does your business provide advisory, and if so, do you have any learnings?

Before MYOB introduced MYOB Advisor our organisation was advising clients in many areas of business and analysing the reports produced for the business. We actually created JAG Team Consulting for this purpose.

What new technologies is your business using and trialling to stay efficient, client-focused and relevant?

We are looking into having some of our smaller SMEs to use programs such as ReceiptBank and DocuSign so save time and increase efficiencies.

Our clients are informed regularly about new technologies and how they may best utilise them within their business.

Are there any industry memberships that really add value to your business or career?

It goes without saying that being a member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and the Australian Bookkeepers Network adds credibility to our company.

What prompted you to join the MYOB Partner Program?

As a proud user of MYOB products, it was a no brainer that we joined the MYOB Partner program.

Our partnership with MYOB keeps us abreast of the latest trends in this world of ever-changing technology and up to date with the latest enhancements of their products. We’re also updated regularly by newsletters and attendance at Partner Connect.

What advice do you have for new members on how they can maximise their membership value?

Having a dedicated account manager is one of the benefits of the program.

Although it may take time, one should read the updates and blogs distributed by the program and all other publications such as the MYOB Radar Report.

Attendance at seminars such as the Partner Connect and MYOB INCITE are also well worthwhile.

How do you stay abreast of legislative and technological changes within the industry?

By attending seminars run by MYOB and other organisations such as the ICB and ABN and the ATO, as well as going online for webinars that are run by a number of organisations. And, finally, as a member of an accountant’s discussion group.

What are some of the opportunities and threats facing your industry?

Opportunities: opening clients to the benefits of the business advisory service that MYOB has provided Partners.

Threats: the number of unqualified people entering the field, claiming to be bookkeepers and quoting unrealistic prices to attract customers.

How have you found hiring and retaining staff over the last 12 months?

Finding good people has always been difficult in our industry. Most have the technical knowledge to perform the required tasks of a bookkeeper, but same don’t have the personality to deal with some SME owners. It’s a skill that needs to be perfected to allow both my business and that of my client to work harmoniously for the betterment of both entities.

The one thing that is most important is that the person that’s employed has the same views and visions of my company towards clients.

Is there something you’ve recently learned that you wish someone had told you 10 years ago?

Be yourself and don’t try to be something you are not.

Not all business owners are the same and some want more from you than what they are willing to pay for.

Also, the number of ‘tyre kickers’ who ring and the first thing they ask is what is your hourly rate before they give an indication of what work they want performed.

What does success look like to you?

  1. Personal satisfaction that we have assisted or client’s businesses to grow and reach their full potential
  2. An acknowledgement from clients for a job well done
  3. Being part of an enterprise that helps people achieve their dreams

What’s one buzzword you’re sick of hearing?

It’s not one word but a number of words: ‘We’re heading for a recession’.

Business can recession-proof themselves by quickly adapting to the changing market, and by not doing the same thing over and over and expecting a differing result.

To me the bookkeeping field is growing and evolving and we as bookkeepers must change with it or perish.

Do you have a secret talent?

I have a number of them and when you become my client you will see what they are.

If you could have a special power what would it be?

Being able read my client’s minds.

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