Goodbye Manual Processes, Hello Client Connections
Accounting is the language of business. But, like any language, it needs a solid foundation. My line of work is built around having the right data available. I start with the numbers and then build up to the big picture. I don’t just do your taxes and maintain your records. I’m a business partner; I help you set and realize your business goals.
But my journey to accounting didn’t start in a traditional way. I grew up among manual laborers. My grandfather was a farmer and Dad was a builder. I’m not ashamed to work with my hands, and I don’t think I’m better than people who do, just because I went to university. I don’t wear high heels and fancy clothes because I work in an office.
Growing up, there was always paperwork around. The checkbooks were always out and there were invoices and various paper work on the kitchen table. Tax time was always required many hands to sort receipts. It was stressful to my family, but to me, tax time was fascinating. I loved maths and I was curious about the law. I wanted to know how the family business functioned and that mix of passions came together in accounting.
My parents were very supportive. They let me use the family business as a test. I answered the phones and paid the bills; read bank statements and kept the books. You can’t get that kind of overall picture from a textbook or a university lecture. This hands-on experience convinced me that accounting was the path I needed to follow.
Working for the family business also influenced the way I do accounting. One of my biggest lessons was that in small businesses, people wear many hats. When you’re the boss, you’re also the HR person, the accountant, and the marketer. You have to be multifunctional to survive.
Breaking Away from Traditional Accounting
After handling the books for my parents, I juggled work and university. After graduation, I started full time in the accounting field. That time was spent doing traditional accounting work—like tax returns and activity statements. I got my feet wet in the most traditional way possible. That was my life until December of 2016.
At the start of 2017, I decided to take six months off, and figure out what to do next. I wanted to get out of the office. I wanted to talk to people. Most importantly, I wanted to stop hiding behind numbers, and to step away from my desk. I didn’t want to leave accounting, but I needed to find my own way.
It didn’t take me six months to come to a conclusion. I looked back at my teenage years and decided I wanted to go back to working like I did with my parents. I was a partner in our family businesses, and I wanted to be a partner to my clients.
By March, beaccounted was born.
I called my firm beaccounted because my line of work is about being accountable. I’m accountable to my clients, and I hold them accountable to their obligations—and to their goals. My job is not about adding up the numbers, but about helping my clients make the best decisions for their businesses.
The only way I can help my clients is if I have real-time data. I need up-to-date financial statements and current bank balances. I need to know where a business is every day, every week, and every month of the year. I won’t have those insights if I spend all my time going through bank statements, processing data, and manually calculating receipts. Those manual processes were a big part of my job when I was working at standard accounting firms. Sometimes, I’d spend an entire week inputting data. That was a tremendous waste of time.
Becoming a Partner to My Clients
I needed to find a solution that would give me more time to advise my clients by letting me spend less time pushing paper. While at Xerocon, I first heard about Receipt Bank. From what everyone was saying, the platform was exactly what I’d been searching for.
At the event, Xero CEO, Rod Drury, asked a question to the crowd that turned a lot of heads: “Why do we expect our clients to be accountants when we’re the ones who have done the training?” At first, I wondered what he meant, but when I thought about it, I realized he was making sense. I spent several years at university to learn my profession. How could my clients—most of whom had no training at all—make heads or tails of the accounting process?
Receipt Bank solved that problem for me. The platform gives my clients control over their records without requiring them to be accountants or bookkeepers. The process is simple: They snap pictures of their receipts with their phones, and the app converts the images to data that I can use in Xero. Or they can email the pictures to a special account that will forward the converted data to me. They don’t have to understand how the sales tax calculation works, or how to enter the data.
Receipt Bank also brings me closer to my clients. If somebody has a question or a problem, they call me up. If I don’t have all the necessary documents and sums at hand, they can snap them with the app, and I can sort them out quickly. Within a half hour, I can get back to my client with the answers they need.
I believe that beaccounted would have been a very different company were it not for Receipt Bank.
I now give Receipt Bank to all of my clients, and about 90% of them use the platform regularly. When they go to the shop, they photograph the receipt for their work boots because it’s a business expense. When they’re at the service station, they can also claim fuel. Of course, they have to be diligent, but the app makes this process easy.
Building Accountability with Receipt Bank
Receipt Bank helps me better relate to my clients because both of us have more control over the accounting process, and more time to do both of our jobs. When I look at financials, I don’t just see numbers on a page. There are blood, sweat, and tears behind every figure. A bank balance doesn’t mean much if you don’t know its story. Is a business growing? Is it marketing to the right niche? Is the product getting dated?
Now, I can help my clients with questions like these because I no longer fret over data entry. I can be a partner, as I was in the family business. Receipt Bank helps me get back to my roots and turn beaccounted into the same experience as when I worked with my folks. I’m out of the office a lot, and I spend more time with clients.
At the heart of it, I think of accounting like any other trade. The six years I spent working for other people was my apprenticeship. As a tradesperson, I have a skillset, but need the right tools to get the job done—I’ve found that in Receipt Bank.
Now, with the right tools in hand, it’s time to get to work.