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It’s no secret that the media loves to scare us.

When it comes to accountants and bookkeepers, the media is always saying that technology is going to render the profession null and void. According to the papers, you’re all working on borrowed time.

I’m here to tell you that this is all a load of rubbish.

Don’t get me wrong, there is going to be a shift, but this is a positive thing that’s going to uplevel the profession and empower you to do more.

Language

Have you ever employed a secretary to help you run your practice?

The chances are that you’re shaking your head.

Ten or twenty years ago, you would have had to employ a secretary. Now, however, technology has eliminated this need.

When technology began to evolve, it felt like it took over secretarial roles. Recording and transcription software meant that there was no longer any need to learn shorthand or type 100 words per minute. Suddenly, everyone had a personal computer and so the ability to touch type was no longer unique and in-demand.

On the surface, it may seem as though secretaries disappeared, but that’s not true. They simply became virtual assistants (VAs) instead.

The job of a VA is to look after the practice owner and be there to support and facilitate – just like a secretary.

They still write letters, handle scheduling and provide admin support surrounding a range of tasks, but the name has changed. Ultimately, it’s the language that has shifted.

Accountants and Bookkeepers

It has taken a little longer, but the same shift is beginning to happen in the accounting and bookkeeping profession.

Will accountants and bookkeepers become redundant? No.

In fact, now you can get ten times as many things done as you could thirty years ago. Technology has enabled you to become faster and make less mistakes. What it hasn’t done – and will never do – is remove you from the equation entirely.

Instead, technology allows you to serve more clients and create a leaner, more profitable practice. It allows you to create a leveraged advisory offer and serve your clients without being present. It allows you to make a bigger impact on the world.

Technology has shifted the role of accountants and bookkeepers to mentors and advisers. Rather than replacing you, it’s actually adding value to your practice. Accounting software can crunch the numbers for you whilst you focus on guiding business owners and building better businesses for your clients.

Who knows – perhaps there will even be a day when we stop using the word “accountant” altogether, at least to refer to humans. What we do know is that the role will never disappear.

Contrary to what the media would have us believe, technology is not a threat to the accounting and bookkeeping profession. Rather than eliminating you, it is empowering you.

Then and Now

My mum was a secretary. She was high up in GlaxoSmithKline. She would spend two hours in a meeting taking and transcribing minutes. Now, you press record on a Zoom meeting and technology handles the rest.

In this day and age, would my mum still have a job?

Yes, she would. In fact, she would be able to do more and offer an even higher level of support.

Virtual assistants nowadays have more autonomy than traditional secretaries and they give us more insights around the rest of our business. Their role is about more than just getting stuff done – they’re an integral part of the team.

Thirty years ago, you would have spent most of your days using spreadsheets and calculators to crunch numbers. Now, you’re able to provide valuable guidance and advice to your clients that really moves the needle for their businesses. Your role has been advanced and enhanced by technology.

Final Thoughts

Do not let the media – or the opinions of those who don’t know what they’re talking about – scare you. Technology has evolved, not eliminated, the accounting and bookkeeping profession. Rather than running from it, you need to embrace it so that you can create a more VITAL practice.