First came the abacus where the industrious Chinese started crunching their numbers very tediously in a time consuming way. The world progressed to pen and paper where accounts were kept in books, writing in the information, hence the term “bookkeeper”. Even today the accounts are still referred to as “books” even though hardly any will be done in that old school way.
Following this came the advent of personal computers which revolutionised the accounting industry. Bookkeepers now sat in front of this new fangled technology and entered the financial data through programs they wrote themselves, spread sheets and then up bobbed MYOB and Quickbooks, the first desktop accounting solutions. Businesses flocked to get their accounts computerised. They had to get used to the new technology but as they learned, hard disk drives could fail and if they hadn’t backed up their data they could lose it. Also they would have to keep spending more money for new versions of the software and installing them, particularly if they were using payroll. It all settled down for a while, then the GST came just to keep them on their toes and a yippee from the software providers realizing every business would now have to buy an upgrade, and businesses running on spreadsheets and the old paper methods would now be running for a proper accounting program.
Now we are in the midst of a new accounting revolution, desktop software is diminishing and becoming more and more expensive as business rush to the new term “Cloud Accounting” with new players such as Xero, Saasu, Shoeboxed and Intuit’s Quickbooks On Line to name just some. What is so great? In short, automation of data entry for bookkeepers, bank data comes in automatically and these smart programs can even work out much of the data so there is little for the bookkeeper to enter and can get on with the job of reconciling etc. The result is that to use a professional bookkeeper is now very affordable for any business. Gone are the days of bookkeeper’s charging by the hour. We now offer fixed price plans so that business owners can see exactly what it will cost up front, with no surprises. Gone are the days of worrying about data back-ups, it is all done for you. What about the tedious installing of version updates? They are gone also as the software provider does it automatically, with frequent updates. How about flexibility of accessing your accounts from anywhere? All you need is an internet connection and you’re good to go. A raft of cloud add ons has also emerged, with a lot of value particularly with such apps as Receipt Bank which allows a business to put all their receipts into the cloud and run a paperless office, then pushing information from the receipt over to the cloud accounting program making the bookkeeping even more automated.
Where will the industry go next? We are not sure but we know that we will be at the forefront of changes as they happen. These are certainly exciting times.