I was onsite with a new client last week helping them to upgrade Reckon Accounts (for those outside New Zealand and Australia, think QBO/QuickBooks).
It was not straightforward as there were multiple users accessing the file on the server, whilst also needing to integrate with Fishbowl Inventory which lived on a different computer.
Additionally, their accounts person is relatively new and has not been involved in the setup before, and as this is a new client, neither had I. I'd also never worked with Fishbowl before.
We were scrambling to understand what was where, to find the relevant passwords that we needed (the book of passwords anyone?) and to understand the integration with Fishbowl. But after a couple of calls to their IT provider, and a few more to Fishbowl Support, I managed to get it all working smoothly in a relatively short space of time, much to the client's delight.
They didn't have the capabilities in house to deal with this, and dare I say it, I left them much impressed, and I think I even impressed myself. I was buzzing.
What am I telling you this?
The skills I was able to draw on in order to make this happen were an assortment of IT, bookkeeping, and accounting software knowledge that I've picked up over the years as a bookkeeper and as an accounting software consultant.
Bookkeepers are so well-placed to add on software training and consulting services to their bookkeeping businesses. It's bookkeepers who are in the software day in and day out and so it's us who develop an advanced skill level that can then be taught to others.
It's cream-on-the-top income. More ad hoc than bookkeeping but, at twice your bookkeeping rate, far more lucrative.
When I sold my bookkeeping business, the consulting and training arm of the business was worth 25% of the revenue.
These days there are bookkeepers where software consulting - scoping, implementation, training - is100% of what they do. With my own business, Business Headspace, it is certainly a large part of what I do outside of business coaching for bookkeepers.
Funny how things work out sometimes
How this all began was that my friend started a business in the spare room of our flat, and he was using QuickBooks for his accounts. (That business, as an aside, is now listed on the Australian Stock Exchange which still blows me away)
So, when my then-husband and I bought out his business partner in our hair and beauty salon, QuickBooks became the software that I used as well.
QuickBooks, now Reckon Accounts, was my first love when it came to accounting software. I wanted to learn how to use it better for our business and so I became an Accredited Consultant and started my bookkeeping business.
That worked very well in terms of getting new, higher paying clients and so when Xero came on the scene, I thought I'd better become Certified in that too so I could get even more training work.
And that worked well too so I added MYOB to the mix.
And then I trained a couple of my bookkeepers to also deliver consulting and training services which, as contract bookkeepers, gave them an opportunity to increase their incomes with cream-on-the-top income and meant that we could deliver more of these types of services.
Bookkeeping is bookkeeping
As a bookkeeping business we were always software agnostic. Bookkeeping is bookkeeping, but it certainly helps you to be an efficient bookkeeper if you know the software in and out.
Over the years I have put many hours (often unbillable) into figuring things out and into understanding the capabilities of what various software can do. I know that many of you reading this will have done the same.
To be honest, 3 different software systems sometimes felt like a lot to keep on top of, but once you know it, you know it, and that knowledge has served me well.
Now we have so many add-ons to add to the mix that bookkeepers really have become software specialists in many respects.
Don't underestimate what you know
As a mentor once said to me when helping me to get over a bout of imposter syndrome, you undoubtedly know more than the person you are training. That has always proven to be true.
If you haven't already, hang out your shingle, so-to-speak, adding software training to your services, whichever one you work with the most, and there you'll have an additional income stream added to your business.