The Modern Bookkeeper: Tech Savvy, Workflow-Focused and So Much More

November 4, 2016 Yoseph West

The shift to the cloud is driving change across the accounting & bookkeeping industry. Thanks to technology, it's now possible to deliver a great bookkeeping product much more efficiently.

That's why what it means to be a bookkeeper is changing. Today, firms need bookkeepers who can leverage technology to help optimize workflow as well as the customer experience.

Here’s how great practitioners are redefining the role.

Defining the Modern Bookkeeper

The bookkeeper is the foundation of your relationship with a client. They have the most client touches. The product they deliver every month and their client interactions build trust. By and large they are best positioned to create awesome experiences and to upsell clients.

The tech savvy bookkeeper is responsible for not only delivering a great bookkeeping product, they are also responsible for figuring out how to optimize and operationalize your workflow. They need to be awesome with clients. But also be able to leverage the tech solutions available to them to provide the best experience and to use them to the clients’ advantage.

A tech savvy bookkeeper allows you to serve more clients and open up opportunities for you to provide high value advice. They harness tech to make upselling easier and more effective.

Responsibilities

The first step in hiring a tech savvy bookkeeper is to clearly define the role in your practice. Consider what responsibilities this type of bookkeeper will have. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Understands technology, its role in modern bookkeeping and how to leverage it
  • Delivers a high quality set of books
  • Works with clients to get documents or information as required
  • Finds ways to improve their workflow
  • Identifies natural opportunities for upsell

Experience and Skills

Consider what traits you would look for in a tech savvy bookkeeper. What skills or experience would contribute to fulfilling the role's responsibilities? Common traits include:

  • Experience delivering a great bookkeeping
  • Comfortable with and able to learn new technology
  • Strong relationship skills
  • Has a business building attitude—is willing to ask for business
  • Coachable

Recruiting

Once you have defined the tech savvy bookkeeper role you can begin to look for great candidates. It's common to post the job online to cast a wide net. But great advisors often find the most success when they take a more targeted approach. They start by putting out the word in their network. They clearly communicate the role definition amongst their vendors, partners, and associates. They ask, who do you know that I should meet with?

And don’t limit your search to your own network. Get your team involved. Ask them to also share the role amongst their contacts. Even with a small team, these secondary connections can produce dozens of potential candidates.

Once your network starts producing good candidates, make your staff part of the interview process and ensuring that potential hires align with the tech savvy bookkeeper role as you've defined it.

Scalability of your hire

When making your first tech savvy bookkeeper consider how will you scale up. What type of person would be the ideal first person in the role? Someone with leadership skills. Someone with the capability to build a team. Someone capable of coaching, managing and training. Look for candidates who will be instrumental in finding more people like themselves.

The more people you have operating at a high level, the more clients you can bring on. And create even more opportunities to upsell.

Wrap up

Building a great cloud accounting firm starts with hiring awesome tech savvy bookkeepers. Finding the right bookkeeper means nailing the role description. Then working your network to uncover ideal candidates. Get the first hire right and you will have a base from which to build a great team of tech savvy bookkeepers. People who can optimize your workflow. Build great relationships. Grow revenue through upselling. And who are masters of your tech stack. They drive efficiencies and build awesome client experiences.

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