A good bookkeeper is worth their weight in gold!

I’ve said it so many times that I think ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) made me a Champion a few years ago to try and shut me up.

The line between accountants and bookkeepers is quite blurred these days. Many accountancy firms use client bookkeeping as a way to train juniors but we prefer to use a properly qualified bookkeeper for most of it.

As a technophile I love machine learning and other AI but bookkeepers are particularly good at detail and spotting anomalies. Accountants tend to view the accounts as a whole to ensure that they tell the true story of the business and to look for ways to help the business to grow or operate more efficiently. We provide telephone/email support to all our clients and their bookkeepers so that we can work together. This helps them to code strange items correctly first time. Depending on the size of client we also carry out regular bookkeeping checks using Xenon Connect or Xavier (some bookkeepers do this themselves)

With a good bookkeeper doing all the data entry and regular reconciliations we can just swan in at the year end, press a few buttons and produce the accounts. Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement but it certainly makes our life easier if we have ‘clean’ records as our starting point. It also helps us to provide better value for money when we’re not sorting out messes.

Do you use a bookkeeper or do you do it yourself?

5 minutes a day keeps the accountant at bay

I’m starting an initiative for business owners to do their bookkeeping in FIVE MINUTES PER DAY rather than leaving it all to the end of the year.

If you’re on Xero or similar software this would be:

  1. Raise all your sales invoices and quotes. (Don’t forget to add a button to the invoice template if you take card payments. Remember to set up recurring invoices for regular clients. And don’t forget to turn on invoice reminders)
  2. Mark any accepted quotes so that they can be converted into invoices
  3. Forward electronic receipts to your Automated Bill Entry on Xero or Dext
  4. Take photos of any other receipts using Hubdoc or Dext
  5. Reconcile your bank by matching against the sales invoices or purchase bills/receipts. (You can set up recurring transactions for regular bills)

All this can be done through apps on your phone. When bookkeeping is this simple it’s not just kids who will be glued to their phones.

Celebrating our successes

If you’ve been reading these tips for any length of time you’ll know that I am a great fan of celebrating our successes so that these positive memories remain with us to get us through some of our tougher days.

Well, this year, ICB (The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) have been celebrating their 25th birthday.

They kicked off the celebrations at their annual dinner where they made me, and a number of other more famous people, Companions of the ICB to recognise our support of the bookkeeping profession (I’m almost as fond of good bookkeepers as I am of a decent cup of tea).

Bookkeepers are the Cinderellas of the accounting world. They do all the hard work that makes us accountants look good. With good bookkeeping acting as a strong foundation we get to do the fancy bits like fairy godmothers producing useful information to help businesses to grow and their owners to achieve their dreams. So it seems only right that they should go to the ball or, in this case, a reception at the palace.

Last week Garry and June Carter, the Founders of ICB invited me to join them at a special reception held at St James’s Palace by kind permission of Her Majesty The Queen, and in the presence of ICB Royal Patron His Royal Highness Price Michael of Kent.

What a splendid way to celebrate their anniversary and here’s to many more.

Stop! Don’t buy that book!

Like most authors I’m delighted when people buy my books (list and links below) but less pleased when they sit on the buyer’s shelf gathering dust.

I’m as guilty of this as the next person with over 100 unread books (fiction as well as business) on my bookshelves and Kindle. Or perhaps I’m worse than most?

Unread books are just a waste of money. Better to read one book a year and implement any useful actions than to spend on unread books that can not possible generate any benefit. It’s why we make it a condition of all our coaching and courses that the client spends at least half a day per week working through any agreed actions.

It’s not even a time thing as I read pretty quickly and can finish a 200 page book in a couple of hours. So, my resolution is to stop wasting time on Netflix and to read AND IMPLEMENT at least one book a month. Will you join me? And what will be the first book on your list?

If it’s one of mine the links are here:

For accountants and bookkeepers:
The Numbers Business: how to grow a successful cloud accountancy practice

Changing the Numbers: how to deliver advisory services for maximum success

For any type of business:
Growing by Numbers: how to scale up your small business with confidence

How can tech help a small business?

With MTD on its way for sole traders and then limited companies it is essential to get everybody keeping digital records sooner rather than later. But, while MTD are wielding the big MTD stick, what are the benefits to small business owners of using modern cloud software for their bookkeeping?

  1. Multiple users can log in at the same time so accountants can help clients more proactively with queries or business issues
  2. Gone are the days of manually typing everything. Software can link to data entry apps to do your bookkeeping from a photograph or PDF thanks to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) or can link directly to electronic tills or online shops as well as automatically uploading your bank statements.
  3. Invoices can be raised from the app on a phone and card payments taken before leaving site. Saving Friday nights for relaxing rather than paperwork
  4. All this automation means that business owners can do some of the work themselves to reduce their bookkeeping bills.
  5. With remote access to the business numbers accountants can finally be more proactive
  6. Management information is available at the touch of a button. Of course, more complex businesses may need proper management accounts but even that is quicker with up to date bookkeeping.
  7. We run monthly bookkeeping health checks* for all our clients so that, even when they do it themselves, we can ensure that their record are up to date and in a good state each month.
  8. With up to date bookkeeping year end accounts can be produced much faster.
  9. Accounting software can be attached to hundreds of apps to help project management, staff scheduling, stock control, and all sorts of other parts of the business.
  10. It is easier to have regular contact between business owner, bookkeeper and accountant and to provide the best service possible.

*At Minerva Accountants we use Dext Precision, formerly Xavier, for most of our health check reports.