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A survey conducted by software firm Xero revealed that people see bookkeepers as "bean counters" and "number crunchers" – potentially adverse descriptions for such a hardworking bunch of professionals!
But the same survey also showed those who work with bookkeepers agree they are vital for all businesses.
While we do work with numbers and keep finances in check, there is a lot more to a bookkeeper's role and our profession is not the stereotype so many people think it is.
Here, we explore the survey results in more detail, the services bookkeepers provide and why they are such an important asset to any business.
Cloud accounting software giant Xero surveyed people from across the globe to gain an insight into the public's understanding and perception of bookkeepers and accountants. They surveyed 3,500 people across the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand and 78% of them regarded those in the profession as suit-wearing "bean counters" and "number crunchers".
But close to two in three respondents (65%) said bookkeepers and accountants were incredibly important or imperative to the running of the economy. Despite this, people in all countries had scant knowledge of what a bookkeeper actually does – one in five people in the UK (26%) had no idea what the job entails.
Cheeringly both bookkeepers and accountants fared well in the desirability stakes with respondents across the globe saying they would rather date a 'bean counter' than a handyman or tradesman. In the UK and US, the professions even outranked personal trainers.
As the name suggests bookkeepers are the guardians of a firm's in-goings and outgoings. We keep an eye on the figures at all times, updating them regularly, so the boss knows what the bottom line is at any time of day.
As well as that, bookkeepers have several other responsibilities that keep a company's financial wheels turning smoothly. Payrolls can be a complicated business having to take in tax codes, deductions, bonuses, pensions and benefits – and this is where the bookkeeper steps in. We make sure everyone gets the right amount at the right time and the taxman gets his share.
With such a close eye on what's coming in and going out we are also often in charge of budgets and cash flows, helping companies plan for the year ahead and set out their forecasted spending. For this we can pull together reports, graphs and spreadsheets to help bosses make those all important decisions for the future of their business.
As well as these more obvious roles, bookkeepers also help in other areas. With our expertise in maintaining a healthy bottom line, we are often tasked with ensuring clients pay their bills fully and on time.
Alongside helping to plan for the long term, bookkeepers will often offer management account services, to help bosses make short-term and day-to-day decisions about their business. By providing timely and key financial and statistical information, performance can be analysed and adjusted where necessary.
At AMR we provide all these services and more. Auto enrolment and training are just some of the extra assistance we offer businesses.
We also pride ourselves on our friendly, open approach to any project or requirement. We make the effort to find out the individual requirements of all our clients and meet them face to face to see how their firm operates, so we can tailor our services to them.
We also like to think we're not your stereotypical group of bookkeepers with tarot card readings, netball, hockey and hot yoga among our hobbies. Read more about the AMR team here or to find out how we can help you with any aspect of bookkeeping, get in touch.