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Sole Bookkeepers could grow client lists to 90 predicts ABN

Client needs are on the rise and bookkeepers will be filling the gap.

Accountex delegates welcome predictions for bookkeepers from ABN

As thousands flocked to the Accountex expo halls in Melbourne this week, delegates welcomed industry predictions from Australian Bookkeepers Network (ABN) Directors, Peter Thorp and Kellie Powell.

The pair explained that the shift in expectations of bookkeepers in the wake of technology innovation and increasing reporting needs of government and industry is already creating big opportunities for bookkeepers.

Client book increases for bookkeepers.

“Automation has hugely shrunk the time spent on historic bookkeeping functions, allowing bookkeepers to take on more clients,” said Peter. “This could be anywhere between 45 and 90 clients for a sole practitioner.

“Small business can now better leverage their own time by outsourcing more functions to bookkeepers.”

This represents a significant jump for the average bookkeeper. The ABN’s November 2022 member research report recorded the average client book for the part-time and full-time bookkeeper was between 16 and 34 clients respectively.

Bookkeepers specialised to increase value for small business.

“Data is increasingly being used by clients, government, and lenders.” continued Peter “Bookkeepers will become the custodians of data quality because of the need for high quality data sooner.

“A bookkeepers’ specialty skills will become more evident and sought after, which means prices must go up.

“A highly skilled bookkeeper with good technology and reporting skills should be charging more,” said Peter. “Certainly as much a graduate accountant at an accounting firm, which is upwards of $150 an hour.”

The ABN’s latest research report said this was also well above the $75-$90 per hour average charged by Australian bookkeeping firms.

Specialist skills drive more training for bookkeepers.

“Bookkeepers are already seeking more qualifications and training,” continued Peter. “It’s not impossible that higher level qualifications could be regulated.

“The Tax Practitioners Board has recently doubled the continued professional education (CPE) component for the BAS Agent, but most are doing more than that because of the pace of change.

“This is especially the case for areas of payroll, management reporting, and software integration.”

For more information on how to keep up to speed with bookkeeping industry changes, and make it easier to meet your CPE requirements, join ABN today.

10 Mar 2023
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