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Will we, or won't we? Recession sandbagging puts bookkeepers in spotlight says Trent McLaren

The 2023 economic outlook for SMEs is unclear, but bookkeepers will be in the forefront

With mixed reports about the 2023 economic outlook giving SMEs the jitters, Australian fintech leader and Director of consulting firm Journey, Trent McLaren, says bookkeepers have a vital role to protect Australian small business.

With interest rate hikes and rising inflationary pressures, Trent says there is uncertainty about whether things will get better or worse and what recession proofing steps are reasonable without unnecessarily stifling business growth.

“Everyone is on edge because of the economy,” said Trent. “SMEs are sandbagging to ward off a possible recession that may or may not come.

“Small businesses are depending on bookkeepers to spot things in their data that clients may not have seen,” continued Trent. “Bookkeepers can help them pivot into new areas of business or find efficiencies that cut costs.

“They are relying on bookkeepers to answer big questions like, ‘Should we keep spending? Do we need to make cutbacks? What’s our cashflow looking like?’”

In this context, Trent says that bookkeepers have become ever critical, insisting they can harness this opportunity by preparing themselves for these strategic conversations with their clients.

“A bookkeeper can start by asking themselves, how they can best help their clients in a recession,” said Trent. “What does that economic outlook mean for their clients’ businesses and how will it impact their client.

“The next step would be to prepare a playbook for addressing these issues and big questions.

“Should they be changing payment terms? What can be done to bring payments forward? How can efficiencies be found in their time to improve bookkeeping processes.”

Trent’s advice comes as the accounting and bookkeeping industry is about the embark on a busy time for knowledge sharing. Major upcoming events include:

  • Xero 2023 Roadshow (February): Trent joins other industry leaders, to talk all things industry tech at 17 locations across Australia during February. Trent will there as a brand ambassador for Aussie fintech up-and-comer, Annature, whose e-signature and ID verification software is a favourite among Australian Bookkeepers Network (ABN) members for POI onboarding.
  • Accounting Business Expo (March): Our own ABN Directors, join the industry leaders in Melbourne on 14-15 March for a huge line-up of professional insights and trend forecasts.
  • Accountex (March): Read more here about ABN’s involvement in the first inaugural Sydney Accountex on 15-16 March, which brings Europe’s top accounting and finance event to Australia.
  • From the Trenches (May): Trent is at the helm of this innovative virtual summit of Australia’s accounting and bookkeeping trailblazers, tackling big industry issues and business building for the practice owner.

“With all that’s going on in the industry at the moment, these events are important to elevate industry capability to better meet these challenges and protect Australian small business,” said Trent.

We encourage ABN members to book your spot at the upcoming industry events, Xero 2023 Roadshow, Accounting Business Expo, Accountex, and From the Trenches, to see Trent and ABN discuss these bigger issues and how you can tackle them for your clients.

15 Feb 2023
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