AccountingSmall Business

Butting heads on small business bookkeeping

I had unfortunate occasion to butt heads with an old-school bookkeeper. She is top quality with decades of experience. She knows her debits and credits and trial balances inside and out. She was quick to tell me that the accounting systems I use are worthless.

The thing is: the world has changed. Not always for the better and not always for the worse. Yet nobody I know in business today does bookkeeping the exemplary way she did it for all those years. My clients simply won’t pay for that. I routinely design systems at half the price of her service because that’s what today’s small business clients demand. Technology is changing rapidly and bookkeeping looks nothing like it did 5 or 10 years ago. The fact that most clients handle their bookkeeping duties on a cell phone would be heresy to her. It’s not fair to criticize me because things have changed. I didn’t change it. That’s just the way it is today.

There are actually some enormous advantages to today’s bookkeeping and accounting systems. I wasn’t going to argue the point with her but the fact is we don’t want to move back to where we were.

I wound up thinking “thank God for engagement agreements!” My engagement does not include a responsibility of trying to persuade her to accept change in her profession. That would likely be impossible. Trying to explain why we do things differently today is a conversation above my pay grade.

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