Transforming your understanding of what a bookkeeper really does


People are three times more likely to have no idea what a bookkeeper’s job entails than an accountant’s, recent Xero research has found.

Xero surveyed 3,500 people across the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand about their perceptions of accountants and bookkeepers.

Bookkeeping is a profession that serves a vital economic function, so it’s a bit disheartening to learn that awareness what we do as bookkeepers is so low.

But there is good news — while people may not understand what bookkeepers do on a day-to-day basis, they definitely don’t underestimate their value to businesses. Xero’s research found that more than half of people see bookkeepers and accountants as trusted advisors and nearly two thirds of respondents believe these jobs are incredibly important or imperative to a functioning economy.

Innovations in cloud accounting software are spurring this recognition. New technology has reduced or fully automated tedious tasks such as data entry and consolidations. That means we have more time to focus on offering advisory services. As we see more innovation in financial technology, the ways we'll be able to offer these advisory services will improve. We’ll be able to empower business owners and help them understand their finances.

The term "bookkeeper" will come to define what I see as an information systems manager, an advisor who implements and maintains accounting technology systems for their clients in order to improve efficiency and drive their profits.

This is a role that requires high levels of creativity, a quality the public doesn't associate much with accountants and bookkeepers. In the US in particular, only eight percent of respondents associated this trait with an accountant or bookkeeper. Most commonly, accountants and bookkeepers are seen as analytical, intelligent and possessing strong business skills.

I'm looking forward to a future where understanding of the bookkeeping profession is widespread and we see more bookkeepers leveraging cloud technology in order to offer higher-value services to their clients.

You can read more about the survey findings on the Xero blog.

A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.