Our Findings - Bookkeeper's Sentiments
While piloting the job redesign of the bookkeeper role across selected organisations, we gathered the following key insights.
While each company had its own unique challenges, we saw clear patterns in the biggest challenges that bookkeepers faced in general.
Limited decision making opportunities
Bookkeepers reported not being involved in key decisions on how services were provided to clients.
Bookkeepers reported heavy workloads in managing multiple clients with tight deadlines.
Managing demanding clients
Bookkeepers had to manage a variety of clients, some of whom required more handholding and others required frequent communication which added to their heavy workload.
Largely manual tasks
Tasks carried out by bookkeepers from data entry, processing payments, and report generation were largely manual tasks.
Difficulties searching for documents
Bookkeepers reported difficulties searching for documents (including digital files) due to the huge amount of documents they manage.
Increasing the effectiveness of the bookkeeper's role
Reduce administrative tasks
Reducing administrative tasks provides bookkeepers the opportunity to focus on more meaningful and value-added tasks.
Provide bookkeepers with training such as RPA or accounting-specific skills to improve performance on-the-job.
Automate administrative work
Use RPA to automate administrative tasks such as registering new clients into the accounting system or keying in time entry data.
Automate data entry
Automate data entry to improve time efficiencies.
Future of the bookkeeper's role
Bookkeepers expressed interest in taking on a business advisory function and in developing new skills such as data analysis.
What roles do bookkeepers hope to move to?
Senior accounting or manager role
A natural progression for the accounting role is that they strive towards achieving a higher level of specialisation as it allows them to bring the expertise they’ve built over years and provide value for their clients.
Business advisory role
A large number of bookkeepers are also keen in providing business advisory roles to clients. This would develop their skills in understanding company operations more thoroughly and offer clients more comprehensive services and financial planning.
What tasks do bookkeepers hope to do more of?
The general consensus is that data analysis is the type of tasks that bookkeepers hope to do more of. This is aligned to where we are seeing the evolution of the role as the transactional task minimises through technology implementation and more into expertise tasks.
Other tasks that the bookkeepers would also like be involved with tax and audit related work.
When asked about their capabilities of the new tasks, we find that most bookkeepers do not have the necessary training or experience to carry out the tasks. As part of this toolkit, we have a training roadmap here with recommended courses for you to consider.