Episode #101 2020 Round Up: What the Future Holds for Australian Bookkeepers
Last week on The Bookkeepers' Voice we were so excited to celebrate our 100th episode, whilst welcoming you to 2021. Join us again this week as Angie and founder of The Savvy Bookkeeper, Amy Hooke, discuss all that was 2020 bookkeeping and our hopes for the new year!
Tune in and you'll hear their thoughts on how 2020 impacted the bookkeeping industry, including the growth of the industry and changes that occurred across the year. Angie and Amy will also discuss the mass migration to virtual services and an increase in businesses needing to have a digital presence.
Key Takeaway: “2020 saw a mass migration of businesses moving online and more clients than ever before engaging with virtual services. If you haven't already done so, 2021 is your year to move your business online – whether that be building a website or launching your business on social media.”
Host: Angie Martin
Guest speaker: Amy Hooke
Topic: 2020 Round Up: What the Future Holds for Australian Bookkeepers
Summary Keywords: bookkeeping business, online presence, virtual assistant services, future of bookkeeping industry
How has 2020 changed my bookkeeping business into the future?
Angie Martin 0:01
Good morning, everyone. hope everyone's had a fantastic week so far. My name is Angie. I'm part of the savvy team. And today I am joined by the one and only Amy Hooke.
Amy Hooke 0:15
Hello, everybody. Oh, oh,
Angie Martin 0:18
so good to have you on again today. And yeah, we are going to be discussing all things 2020 and bookkeeping and our hopes for 2021. But I thought before we go any further, we just have to chat about the fact that bookkeepers voice has now had its 100th episode.
Amy Hooke 0:42
Yeah, oh, my gosh, I can't. I can't, I can't believe it. I remember the day I started it, it was like, you know, either one of those things that you've sort of been, like, in the back of your mind thinking about it for quite a long time, but not really, at the front of your mind. You know what I mean? there. And then one day, I just felt like, today is the day to start. And I just started and it was amazing. Like, I think I did like 50 I think I got to like, 70 episodes or something before you kind of jumped in and started. Yeah. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, like, I was just so proud that I'd, you know, showed up every week and, you know, done done amazing. Analysis, like, Wow, amazing. And now we're at 100. So it's pretty cool. Yeah,
Angie Martin 1:30
I think it's incredible.Yeah, like, I love podcasts. And one of the favourite podcasts I'm listening to right now. I just got to the 50th episode. And it was at the same week, that was last week, which was the 100th episode. And I was just like, Oh, this is such a milestone. This is so exciting. Like, did you when you created the podcast? Did you think this is what it would eventually turn into? or What was your hopes? I when I first started,
Amy Hooke 2:00
I don't really know what I thought like, obviously, I hoped that people would listen to it, because hopefully, putting out content, you know, making all that effort. And then, you know, hearing crickets obviously, and but, you know, it wasn't something that I'd done before. But I had been doing webinars. So yes, I was sort of known for being the webinar person, like in the industry, sort of, not many people were doing webinars a couple of years ago. So that was sort of fun to kick that off. But I was still kind of finding my feet, or I could say my voice. And so for me, like, you know, anyone who knows me will know that I like to talk. And, you know, I love writing and communicating through writing, but I find writing really hard, like, I get blocked. Whereas when I speak, you know, I can kind of get my ideas out more free flowing in a way. So, yeah, it was good to be able to just get on there. And just, you know, as people started to come back to me and say that, that we're listening, and you know, people that I know, some people I've known for a long time and different members of our group, when they were giving me feedback, they said, you know, it's like hanging out with a friend in the industry. and spending time together talking about all the topics that I love. And it was quite surreal. Because obviously, when I was doing the podcast here by myself, it's just me in such a weird, it's such a weird feeling. That's right. And to know, you know, that hundreds of bookkeepers were listening as I was, you know, like, no, we're gonna be listening to that, you know, in a couple of days later. And now, you know, obviously, we do the lives for our private member's group, and that kind of thing. So that's very exciting. And then as I started to, like, look at our stats, I started to realise that we have listeners all over the world. And, you know, like, we've got listeners in, obviously, the US and Canada and New Zealand, but we've also got some unusual places, like, you know, I guess, places that I hadn't heard thought of, obviously, I've heard of them, but there weren't places that I even thought about them having bookkeepers or wanting to listen to a podcast. So we've got like, Cuba and Serbia, and Israel and you know, different places. Yeah, just different places across Europe and Asia, and we've got South Africa, and you know, all these different countries around the world. And it just gave me a sense, like, wow, like, we are really a global community of bookkeepers. And it's just so exciting to think like, yeah, it's crazy. It's awesome. It's so good. So good. And so yeah, you know, like, you know, Hello to all of our listeners overseas, because, you know, it's, you know, it's very exciting. You know, Australia is, you know, kind of this big, giant island in the middle of nowhere and, you know, people just sort of think of Australia like kangaroos and koalas and Does it but it's just I don't know, like, you know, we have this big, thriving community of bookkeepers here. And you know, I think where we're one of the, you know, strongest, most innovative community of business people, you know, in, in all countries, and obviously, we're going to talk a little bit about that today in terms of technology and, and that kind of thing. So it's just, it's so yeah, it's amazing like that you can connect all these bits and pieces together in your office and start talking and people can hear you all around the world. It's, it's phenomenal. I love it now. And
Angie Martin 5:39
it's awesome. Like, we still get today, actually, I had an email from someone who I was just doing a bit of a check in to see how they're going. And they mentioned on how much they are loving the podcast. And we always still get that it's like listening to a friend. And what I really love since I've started being a bit more involved in the podcast is that we've been getting more and more feedback of what people want to listen to as well. Which is awesome, because then we know, we're actually doing the content that people want to hear and that people have questions about and exactly,
Amy Hooke 6:22
oh, it's great. You know, it's really funny, I always thought the podcast was one area in the business that I couldn't like, hand over to someone else to do. And, you know, you've just done such a fantastic job with it. And you know, your style, you have a different style to me, and you're very knowledgeable on some of the topics that bookkeepers really need to know about, like sales and marketing, obviously, social media, and those kinds of things. And it's really yeah, it's really good. You know, obviously, after 70, whatever episodes, you know, people like to hear other voices as well. And it's just yeah, it's been amazing. The responses. You know, everybody loves Angie, I know I've been so welcome you, you're amazing.
Angie Martin 7:01
felt so welcomed, like, I was so nervous during the first episode with you when we just introduced me to the community. And I was so nervous. But yeah, it's been amazing. And it's been so welcoming to come in. And everyone's doing the feedback. And I love how I kind of mentioned it last episode, how we have planned a whole heap a series for this year. And it's going to be the entire savvy team all coming together doing different series that are directly related to questions that we've been getting that each of us specialise in those sections, and it's gonna be a real community, bookkeepers voice,
Amy Hooke 7:49
and really been a hit, I remember the phone, I did a series and people that was the first time we got this really strong feedback, you know, yeah. Obviously, being such a busy business owner, and I, you know, there were times where I was prepared. And there were times where I just jumped out what was on my heart. And you know, it's kind of a mixture like that, but I'm loving the structure that you've been able to introduce into the episodes. And yeah, it's, it's fantastic. Yeah, it's,
Angie Martin 8:14
it's so much fun. And it's been really great this year. Because this is our 2020 recap, you know, we definitely were doing last minute off the cuff for COVID doing topics that were really, you know, things that we needed to discuss to support everyone. And it's just transformed the industry. Really? Yeah, yes, it's been, you know, COVID changed everything. But before we go too much into 2020. I thought it would be great. Since we were speaking to you before the holidays, I thought it would be great just to check in to see how your holidays fun.
Amy Hooke 8:58
Well, I will be honest, and say I don't think I've had a proper, like real downtime time off. Yeah. for about seven years. Yeah. You know, like, you know, obviously, I have a lot to offer the bookkeeping community in offering my skills and things like that. But being an advocate for self care, has been something that I could have talked about too much for the intake. I really, you know, I worked very, very hard until COVID kind of forced me to stop you know, that COVID rules change and the kids had to come home and we were not five months locked down following a three month lockdown. And it was just, yeah, you know, to be able to have that. That sort of BAS time away from the business. It made me realise when I came back, you know, all of us experienced stress in different ways in the team, and we all express our stress in different ways. And so we kind of all had to come together and learn From hL BAS, you know how we cope with stress? But I just remember thinking because Ah, yeah. You know, we usually work in between the main the public holidays during Yeah, that's very common in business owners, because it's that nice bookkeepers, my clients, you know, quiet and you can get in there and catch up on some projects and things like that. So normally, I've always just said to the team, like, you know, if you want to work through can, it's really up to you. And normally I've, like, done the same myself. And I think back to those times, and I really always regretted it, you know, I never thought to myself, gee, I'm really glad during Christmas, but I don't know why I just kept doing it. So anyway, I knew that the team had been stressed. And so I think it was more, like, out of concern for the team than myself that I was like, Okay, you guys all have to take two weeks, and you'll leave. And, you know, of course, Andy was, like, you know, like, oh, I'll make myself available for if clients need mentoring or something. And yeah. They all needed that time. So, yeah, it took a while to kind of it took me about two weeks to come. My, you know, takes up one downtime. So I think I took three weeks off in total. And my Yeah, I started to Yeah, like, my health wasn't good during that time. But it was just like, think, you know, when you stop, you just kind of like everything, your body while and I realised how stressed I was. Yeah. And then the final week, I'm starting to look forward to going back to work again. And, but everything has changed. Like, you know, I've come back to work, and it's a totally different perspective on how you know, how to work and, you know, just like
Angie Martin 11:49
having that balance. Yeah, having that balance was
Amy Hooke 11:52
the best. We didn't go away. We didn't have a holiday. Yeah, I did to stay staycation too. Great. Exactly, exactly. But it was just what I needed. And I feel like the whole team's come back. We're all refreshed. And, you know, but definitely on a different pace. Hmm. Yeah. And
Angie Martin 12:10
I think that echoes a lot so far with my ketchups. With everyone this year so far is everyone feels the same. They got the holiday, a lot of people who don't usually take it off, took it off, or at least we're, you know, minimal work hours, and they still don't feel like they've had that full holiday just because they were so stressed. And it does. You're right, take about two weeks to refresh and move on from that. But,
Amy Hooke 12:40
yeah, three weeks is the whole weeks, you start to think, Oh, this thing's to do. Yeah. Two weeks is too short. I feel like it feels Yeah, three weeks is good.
Angie Martin 12:50
Yeah, no, but it's definitely something that we are going to be focusing at as well. I know, just from talking to all of our clients and everything, it's so important to remember about self care. So it's definitely going to be an ongoing pattern that we do talk about,
Amy Hooke 13:11
like self care. And the other word, they say work life balance, that kind of thing. Like To me it was just sounded like cliches like I never really understood it. Yeah, it's definitely a thing. Now I get it. Yeah.
Angie Martin 13:28
It's definitely a thing. And it's one of those things like you said, you know, your health wasn't so great over the holidays. And it's, you know, when you don't take time off for seven years straight, your body will eventually make you stop. Yes, basically. And everyone goes through that. I know I definitely have and so it's definitely something I know bookkeepers are really prone to doing. So it's definitely something we're going to be talking about, but I think a lot of us are in the boat where the three weeks is definitely the go just to de stress because then you need to de stress recenter and then you get your home
Amy Hooke 14:12
so weird. It's like if someone says so how do you get into self care mode is like I don't know like start a global pandemic. Maybe that'll force you
Angie Martin 14:21
force yourself. I know with me whenever I some
Amy Hooke 14:25
people just need that shock, though. You know, it's something bad happens and then you're like, Oh, well, I have to get to that but it does.
Angie Martin 14:34
Now and I definitely like I know with me when I if I'm going really really hard working really really long hours and then I stop. I always get sick afterwards. Always and it is yeah, that's I was gonna say you. Yeah, it's been Yeah, you started to feel bad
Amy Hooke 14:53
since 2019, and then Maia caught it off me. We are like 400 kilometres away from each other
Angie Martin 15:01
It's amazing, but you can amazingly,
Amy Hooke 15:04
Angie Martin 15:05
But it's true is after you stop and you do de stress your body is then going Okay, so now we need to take care of us. And I always say, with bookkeepers, when that happens, you're useless to your clients. So it's better to do continual self care, so that you don't crash and burn.
Amy Hooke 15:26
Angie Martin 15:27
And it's something I'm working on too. So don't everyone don't think that I'm amazing at this. It's something that I continually work on. This is a reminder to all
Amy Hooke 15:38
this. Yeah, that's right. Exact, but,
Angie Martin 15:39
you know, with, with 2020, there was so much that happened. So I thought the first question would be really great to go through today is, how do you think 2020 is going to has changed? The bookkeeping industry?
Amy Hooke 16:01
Yeah, so Oh, there's so many things to say about like, I'll just like, I'll start with the personal and then sort of speaker. Yeah, that's great. For me, like I remember, like, 2020 like, obviously, 2020 vision is like a total cliche. Like, the vision that like, companies have had 2020 visions since like,
Angie Martin 16:24
such high hopes. I remember talking to everyone on the phone last year being like, it's gonna be an amazing year. I'm so I
Amy Hooke 16:32
thought it was gonna be an amazing Yeah. And so it was just like, wow, like, wow, like, yeah, it was amazing. Definitely amazing. But it was not what we expected it. Like, yeah, yeah. So like, no, like, obviously, no one could have predicted that. But, you know, 2020 was like, you know, it was just a cool number, like a double 20 and was like, What do you It means like, you know, clear vision and stuff like that. But anyway, so in I guess, like, at the start of 2020, we're all excited. And then February with some people start to get nervous. few clients had like, their supplies in China started. Seriously, then all that toilet paper went missing. Oh, my gosh. And we were like, what are these crazy people? And then I went to the supermarket. And when I saw the empty shelves, I was like, What? Like, this is real.
Angie Martin 17:34
Amy Hooke 17:35
I just thought it was like, some random village somewhere with it. You know, like, somebody's gone crazy, you know, and stolen all the toilet paper. But like, I didn't think it was a real thing. Like, the sceptic kept best of times. I'm like, you know what I mean? So but going into the shop, I just remember, like, I looked around, and I was like, Yeah, I better pay attention to this. And so I watched them, like 60 minutes or something like that episode explaining it. And I was like, Okay, and then I said to my husband, well, who some of you know, maybe we better pay attention to this. Yeah. And so then the next thing so I've gone from, like total sceptic to like running, navigating Coronavirus with the team, which is a programme that we did for the community, where we just sort of helped everyone to get all the documentation together for all of the new legislations. Because there's so
Angie Martin 18:25
much that came out last year, I think everyone's
Amy Hooke 18:28
brain just went into overload many new things to understand and people trying to scan the system and what was just it was very, it was, it was Yeah, I was asking the same questions in Facebook groups. And then, you know, the Facebook group leaders was saying, stop asking these questions. Nobody knows the answer. Everyone was like, panic, panicking, you know, so
Angie Martin 18:52
was what his clients were panicking. So then bookkeepers are panicking, because bookkeepers, we usually always have the answers. And I think this was the first time that as an industry, we didn't have the answers.
Amy Hooke 19:06
And we were the ones that were expected to have have the answers as well. You know, I know, there was a lot of focus on the medical profession, right? Yes. And, you know, like, not to take anything away from them whatsoever. Like, obviously, they did amazing panels. Yeah. And they're, you know, they're on the front, the front line, but I thought of small businesses, we're the frontline nurses of, of the small business world. And, you know, I felt like, you know, we're on the front line, and, you know, these businesses are, you know, like going through trauma. And, you know, there we were, like expected to know all the answers, just like the medical profession of, you know, people have assumed that they know everything because they're in that field, and then just so many changes to requirements and things like that. And, you know, I've often thought of that similarity. You know, you're Got doctors and nurses, accountants and bookkeepers. And some of the struggles, it's quite interesting, I might do a podcast episode on one time, I've got some notes put aside, and some research that I've done,
Angie Martin 20:11
I was just thinking that
Amy Hooke 20:14
There are similarities between these two industries, like many more than you think and, um, you know, I kind of felt like, and it wasn't personal for myself, but I felt like I wanted our industry to be acknowledged, you know, I felt like a lot of the glory was given to healthcare workers and you know, not glory, as in, it's a good thing, but there was a lot of focus on you know, like, in Australia, for example. And, you know, like, the hospitals were empty, and that kind of thing. And whereas the, you know, we were having people in our industry, like, have breakdowns and like, all sorts of things going on. And I sort of felt like, you know, I feel like as bookkeepers as a profession, like we do get, we actually do get overlooked, in some ways, like, people just kind of think, Oh, just the bookkeeper. You know, there's a big focus on accountants and then during the pandemic, but at the same time, bookkeepers don't necessarily want attention or to be in the spotlight as well. So it kind of works out well. But I feel like, you know, I don't think we'll ever get a public acknowledgement. So I guess, like, we can give it to you, you know, like, I feel like, you know, in our own smaller communities, we've been able to, you know, acknowledge bookkeepers, you know, we don't need to be in the spotlight, or, you know, like, gosh, who wants to be on television? Not me. So, I couldn't think of anything worse. Um, you know, that sharing the voice is good. But, yeah, cameras, not exactly the favourite thing. So, but I just think, you know, just, you know, just kind of want to emphasise for everyone to kind of remember that, that whenever you see, you know, that praise of the medical profession, that we, you know, like that praises for us to, you know, like, and I just think, you know, we work so hard and put so much on the line. And yeah, I think it's really good to be able to kind of be a part. Yeah, be part be a part of that, even though it kind of wasn't like a public thing. I think that, you know, we can just know that in our hearts that that was, that was what we did.
Angie Martin 22:18
Now, I definitely agree. You know, the healthcare community did an amazing job supporting individuals keeping all of us safe and healthy. And then bookkeepers. Yes, in the age cared, they did an amazing job with age care. And then bookkeepers did the same for small businesses, you know, worse, but speaking mainly to Australia, but I do know, some bookkeepers in the US and Canada, who, mainly everyone went out of their way to support businesses and keep them alive, just like healthcare workers were keeping us alive. It was very much the same. And it was one of those things. You know, when you're doing ongoing data entry, ongoing bookkeeping, it's hard to remember that, that you actually do help these businesses stay alive, especially last year. Like, I know, a lot of businesses would not be around, if they didn't have the support.
Amy Hooke 23:24
And the emotional support, like,
Angie Martin 23:27
Amy Hooke 23:30
and, you know, just to be able to say, hey, like, and I felt like that was sort of, you know, I felt within me, which I was able to pass on to the community as well, like, this is the time because I started to say, when clients were coming to me and saying, Oh, you know, COVID affected me, I want to stop my bookkeeping fees, I want to reduce my fees, I said, We are the number one support slash Lifeline that you need in your business right now. We are not the people who face you need to be cutting, you actually need us there. And in fact, you probably need more support from us, you know, we can get together with you cash flows with clients and budgets and things like that, which really kind of gave them peace of mind. And we didn't have, we only had one client who went into severe financial fears, who actually we, we actually cancelled her engagement. We didn't charge her the cancellation fee. But after she reopened, she got a contract. And she's back. So, you know, it? Yeah, it was one of those times where I was saying, you know, and, and also, you know, I encourage the community to rely on and this is something we can continue to use, even though, you know, the kind of worse bit is over for now. And, you know, to remember that, you know, our credibility isn't, you know, it's my, like my authority when it comes to working with business owners doesn't come from me as a person at all. It's not our Amy Hooke the best bookkeeper in the world, or whatever. It comes from my Like, so I'm a registered bass agent. And as a registered bass agent, I have been given authority by the Australian Tax Office to, you know, do various things on behalf of businesses connected to their taxes and things like that. I'm not sure what our overseas listeners have in terms of that, but I'm sure there's different types of registration. So for those overseas, you know, the bass agent registration is like a legal requirement only registered bass agents are allowed to perform perform certain tasks. And so when I'm speaking to people in Facebook groups, instead of just saying, like, Hi, you know, I can help you. Here's some information, I would always very specifically say, Hi, I'm a registered agent. for the, for the tax office, I can't remember the exact wording, but I do want to make it sound like I work for the tax office, because I don't, but I'm a registered agent, you know, by given authority by the tax office, or the tax practitioners board, I would say, and I can, you know, I can give you some advice about shopkeeper or bass lodgement, and things like that. And that was really good, because straight away on the threads in the groups, people would see like, Oh, this person has credibility, and they have the authority to be able to give advice. So I felt like this kind of, yeah, I felt like, you know, we really need to ground ourselves in the app as agent registration, because it actually gives us a high level of authority than what we have as an individual person who's just really good at what we do. Yeah, I
Angie Martin 26:38
completely agree with that. And, you know, I think that kind of relationship has changed everything in the world of bookkeeping, the industry as a whole. So, you know, when you talk about 2020, it's always the elephant in the room is COVID. But also, I think, for the bookkeeping industry, there's a massive elephant in the room that we just saw a massive growth in industry. And we kind of discussed this, like, discuss this with myself last week. That, you know, last year, we saw a massive growth, an increase in respect in awareness, and a mass migration to virtual. So we did, we did. So I would love to have your opinion, because you have been in this industry so long on where do you think that's actually going to take bookkeeping in 2021?
Amy Hooke 27:36
Yeah, well, I guess before I jump into that, I just want to say like about bloody time for businesses to
Angie Martin 27:42
i know right!? It's great!
Do I need to have an online presence as a bookkeeper?
Amy Hooke 27:45
Like, we've all had those clients who are like hanging on to on site work and all that sort of stuff. I wish I had this great client. And I actually handed them over to another bookkeeper, because that was my last on site client. They're really good client, but they just didn't want to go remote. And I'm thinking, gosh, if I'd stuck with it, I'd have that fly, but it doesn't matter. You know, I think all of us had those stragglers, some of some, some of our clients at savvy have got quite, you know, they've had quite a lot of onsite clients, and they've been trying to move on to the cloud. But you know, I think we, like we've basically, I don't know, like, I don't know, how many people are still doing on site, but I would say the percentage is going to be tiny.
Angie Martin 28:29
It's been dropped dramatically. Even just the clients that we talk to and the I catch up with, they're not even clients, they're just fellow bookkeepers, its so many has just found how much easier it was, and their clients have discovered it's not necessary,
Amy Hooke 28:45
they would have been resisting it, and then they try it and they would have gone like, oh, wow, this is actually so much better. You know, like, I mean, I mean, medical clinics, obviously, they had to go to like phone consults and things like that. And you could see how much that was struggling with the technology at first and they would send you all these different forms to fill out and things like that. And then I think, you know, it's so easy to catch up. Yeah, it's just so it's so much easier, but they're still businesses that were you know, you received a correspondence and be like, okay, they haven't really adapted as well as they could have. But right at the start around March when we started navigate navigating Coronavirus, I was like, because, you know, obviously I was very stressed during that time, but I thought okay, if I get out of my head and just focus on like, what I can help with and that will help me get out of that not think about myself, but help you guys. And so that was Yeah, like during that time I was like, okay, we need to remember so bookkeepers have been online for many years. You know, we were even back before the cloud was really a popular thing. I made my bookkeeping work all remote through, you know, using Dropbox so I used to synchronise the My Files through Dropbox and You know, most clients hadn't even heard of it. And I just set them up with a Dropbox and we do it. But obviously you get duplicate files and things like that. So it wasn't perfect, but you know, like, I've been can't. So that was 2010. Back when I was doing that. So I don't know about
Angie Martin 30:17
Yeah, wow, that's great.
Amy Hooke 30:18
No, that was 2010. That was 10 years ago. And I left that place that I was working in the accounting firm because they weren't ready to move to that technology. So, you know, obviously, if you listen to there's an episode where he interviews me about my backstory, but I go right into that there. But for me, like, I'm a massive like technology geek like I got, I know, I think it's so cute. When I was in grade five, or six, where you programme a turtle to go along the ground and draw a picture with like, logic, like go forward 10 centimetres and then turn left. And I came home I said, Dad, computers is where it's at, the dad bought me an apple, like a Mac classic. And then I taught my dad how to use a computer. And I've always been obsessed with, you know, with technology, ever since I was young. And as soon as I see a way to improve something through technology, I just like, you know, follow it down the rabbit hole and you know, discover all of these different things, which is how savvy kind of came about in the first place. And why even get to run a bookkeeping business. So I was like, guys, we've been online, you know, for a long time, like, I would say most of the industry. I'm thinking like around 2016. Yeah, reading statistics that 95% of bookkeepers were online, and about 60% of accountants. I was like, Yes, bookkeepers are winning. Like no like, but accountants are now catching up to making that move, too. So I would say, you know, if you look at the ICD and your statistics, they do annual statistical reports. If you have a look at accountants daily, which is a publication online, you'll see, you'll be able to find some stats and information on that. But we're online. Why guys, we're experts in this we're not just bookkeepers, we're experts in like setting up online technology and finding things that integrate and, you know, helping you to transition through that process. And, you know, even if we don't know how to integrate ourselves, we everyone knows somebody who can, or know somebody who knows somebody who can. So I was like, Okay, let's just forget about I'm just a bookkeeper for a minute and go how, you know, you could say to the business owner, well, I've been online for the last six or seven years. So and they're gonna that's gonna get their attention. So that, you know, I feel like bookkeepers is a real opportunity. Like through what happened there too. Yeah, make that kind of, yeah, that change to being more of like, an advisor or someone, but not just an advisor, like someone that can share from their own personal experiences of working with, you know, hundreds of business owners. Yeah.
Angie Martin 32:59
I think that's a really good point. And I think, this year, more than other years this year was a really massive growth in the industry. For bookkeepers who are business owners because they were able to go to their clients and go, yeah, I'm your bookkeeper. But I'm also a business owner who has been online for this many years. Yeah, I can help you as a business owner, get online. So it helped a lot of our bookkeepers I think, also acknowledge that they are small business owners, because everyone always just kind of goes, Yeah, I'm just a bookkeeper. Or I am a bookkeeper. But no, your bookkeeper who's also a small business owner, you own your business, that means your small business owner. And, you know, everything that the bookkeeping, yeah. And everything that the bookkeeping industry does, like, you're right, they do we do online, so well. And we can integrate and work with different things and be virtual very easily. So we had a lot of knowledge to share with our clients, which I think really helped them realise that their bookkeepers are more than just like, they're just not that computer that sits at the other end, doing data entry. Telling them numbers that they don't understand. I think it was a great opportunity for a lot of bookkeepers and their clients to connect on a different level.
Amy Hooke 34:30
Well, that's Yeah, that's right. I mean, I think because yeah, when you do things remotely, obviously you've got that you get you know, the freedom of being able to work from home is great or when you want great, but it does remove that personal feeling or connection. And I found in the especially in the early days, like I'd have clients who just Yeah, they treat me like as if I'm a computer programme. They're like, banging board and you know, compressing false quit. Oh man, I'm like I I'm a human, it's a human behind the computer.
Angie Martin 35:03
It's hard to remember that. It is hard, especially when they're busy. And their books are the last thing that they care about, because they don't know how important it is. That's right.
Amy Hooke 35:15
Exactly. Yeah. When people ask me what I do I run a bookkeeping practice. I never say I'm a bookkeeper.
Angie Martin 35:21
Yeah, cuz it's true. It's, you know, you're always so much more than bookkeepers give each other credit for that. Yeah, cuz there was one lady I was talking to the other day. She's been in business for 32 years. And she's only now realising that, oh, she's a business owner. She's never introduced herself that way. She's never taken the time to actually do the online lessons that she tells her clients to do. Because she's always just seen herself as a bookkeeper. After 32 years of having her own business. Yeah, it's
Amy Hooke 36:07
like it's the light bulb moment. I remember when I was like, wow. And we spoke a couple of episodes about being just a bookkeeper. And there's nothing wrong with being a bookkeeper. Even if you just straight up a bookkeeper.
Angie Martin 36:19
There's it's amazing
Amy Hooke 36:20
bookkeeper, and you're not running a practice or anything like that. You know, it doesn't really matter. But you know, you're still Yeah, you know, you're still even running, you know?
Angie Martin 36:30
Yeah, freelancers, contractors, it doesn't really matter. You're still your own boss. And if even if you're not your own boss, you're still bookkeepers by trade know so much about running businesses?
Amy Hooke 36:48
Oh, definitely. We know. Yeah, we know lots from inside the business. Yeah. Such a close relationship with the business owner. Good relationship. Business owners trust bookkeepers, I believe. And this is not an accountant against bookkeeper thing. But I believe that business owners trust their bookkeeper on a higher level than the accountant because we have so much involvement. You know, we're close to them. And you know, business owners will confide in us things that I've never even told their partners.
Angie Martin 37:18
Oh, definitely. And I know, in April, that they're fine.
Amy Hooke 37:22
Yeah. Financial, personal personal stuff. Yeah, I
Angie Martin 37:26
remember because in April, we stopped doing any sales. And I was just calling everyone every day, just to check in on them. And they would be telling me in tears, these horrible stories of business owners being like, I don't know what to do. I can't talk to my partner about this. And so they just unloaded on their business book, like their bookkeeper. And then their bookkeeper tells me and they're like, I don't know how to process this. I'm so emotionally involved in psychologists. I know. And so it's it's definitely something I think it's not even just accountants, I think it's just bookkeepers. Because they know so much. And because a lot of business owners know that they know so much. It feels easier to confide in them. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Yeah. Which is just, you know, it's exciting because now we've created these new relationships. Most of like, more of us have gotten online. And there's been a huge growth of business owners knowing now that they need bookkeepers. So it's just kind of you know, the old saying the world is our oyster. But that kind of is what 2021 is. There's so many opportunities,
Amy Hooke 38:44
I think it's the boost we need, because I think a lot of us lost a lot of confidence because the message has been pushed in industries that bookkeeping is on its way out. It's all gonna be all Yes, you know, AI is going to get rid of bookkeepers. And you know, bookkeepers are just data crunches and stuff like that. It's like the office that has proven to be true. And for many years, I kept saying that this is not this is not true. And trying to stand against that message. And you know, it's, it's come true. Correct. Like and and I thought to myself, there's no way bookkeeping is not going anywhere. If you research the history of bookkeeping and how it started and what the purpose is, and where it's come through and what it's been through, you will know that bookkeeping is not going anywhere. No, it's going anyway. It's just going to look different.
Angie Martin 39:28
Yes, that's what I was gonna say. It's just going to transform
Amy Hooke 39:33
businesses. You know, and even individuals can't survive without a form of bookkeeping.
Angie Martin 39:39
I definitely do bookkeeping, just for myself just to keep my own like I have an account like I haven't bookkeeping.
Amy Hooke 39:46
Yeah, like a little help doc account. Yes. Yeah,
Angie Martin 39:50
I do the same. It makes my life so much easier. So I think it's just going to transform kind of like a butterfly and I think bookkeepers are in this process. Yes. bookkeepers are in this process now that they are transforming as well, because COVID has allowed them to show themselves a bit more as well. You can now be you and still be a bookkeeper, which is very exciting. Because I think, you know, before everyone just thought everyone had to be the certain form of a bookkeeper, this certain image, everyone thought, yeah,
Amy Hooke 40:31
the INTJ on the Myers Briggs the introvert. You know, like, old hyper organised like, odd.
Angie Martin 40:43
Amy Hooke 40:44
wacky little cardigans. Yeah. And I have lots of coffee, and
Angie Martin 40:49
I'm wearing one right now. But, um, there's so much more to bookkeepers and bookkeeping, businesses than that. And I think this is the first time that I've really seen that as an industry and a community starting to happen. Yes, right. Which is, I think, really exciting.
Amy Hooke 41:12
Yeah, that's right. And, you know, like, I started doing my MBA, just put on hold during COVID, because it was just too stressful. But in my, in our leadership topic, we were learning about, you know, like, what is a leader and what to find. And I feel like a great example, is Winston Churchill. Now, don't think that I know a lot about like history and stuff like that, because I don't really know that much. But what I know about Winston Churchill, from a leadership perspective, is that he was a great leader, but he was created by the, this terrible situation that was happening around him, and he rose up to be a leader during that season. But so, you know, if you learn about him, outside of, you know, World War Two, he was not, he wasn't really anything special, you know, he wasn't like, he didn't go on to do any great leadership feats after that, and he wasn't really doing much before that. But it was during this time that, you know, the, I guess, you know, this, you know, like, horrible thing arises, you know, like, a war and, you know, like, we've had a global pandemic come up. And in that space of like, I don't know, what's the I don't even know the word
Angie Martin 42:29
void, almost, you rise out.
Amy Hooke 42:33
leaders have to rise up in those situations. And so it's almost like, like situations can actually present a time for people to rise up. As long as I feel like this is, you know,
Angie Martin 42:45
this is the bookkeeping time, think
Amy Hooke 42:47
that this is a season, you know, and it might not be a season forever, where we have this kind of level of authority, and, you know, get to enjoy this. So, you know, obviously, seasons do come and go, but I feel like now is really the time to kind of establish yourself and to believe in yourself. And, you know, to allow that kind of personal growth to happen. You know, I think there's like a same it says, for such a time as this, I think that that's, you know, that's something that kind of really stuck in my mind.
Angie Martin 43:15
I love that. Yeah. And it's so true. And I think, you know, by no means am I saying this is going to be an easy year for bookkeeping, there's probably still going to just be massive hiccups that are going to bring the community even closer together to support one another. But I think it's still exciting to see what's going to happen and to, you know, be able to support our clients, because as bookkeepers, that's the whole reason why we become bookkeepers, exists to support clients. So I think it's really interesting. And we're definitely going to be along for the ride. Exactly.
Amy Hooke 43:56
Yep. And there is support out there. Like I mean, because obviously, we've talked about the bookkeepers whose businesses thrive, but I just want to acknowledge those who struggled during that time. And yeah, that some of our clients even opted to take this as an opportunity to retire, they were getting close to retirement and all the new rules coming up, they just thought, you know, this is the time for me to stop. And you know, so I just want to acknowledge those, you know, who have decided that, you know, that it was like, either it was too much or now is just the right time to stop. And, you know, obviously some people lost clients, and I would have, you know, especially those who had the hospitality businesses, especially those in Victoria, as well, and the retail people who didn't do that. Yeah, and that kind of thing. Yeah, I just, you know, like, I think, obviously, they Seasons come up and then you know, we have to make a decision and I don't think there's any right or wrong decision. Like I was very happy for some of our clients who, you know, and yeah,
Angie Martin 44:57
there's, yeah, there's a couple I was like, oh, congrats. lations that's so exciting,
Do I need to engage in virtual assistant services?
Amy Hooke 45:02
you know, New Seasons ahead for everybody. So and, um, you know, and in terms of the mass migration to virtual services, I will share a link because, especially for those in Victoria, I don't know about other states. So it's worth jumping on Google and finding out but in Victoria, our government is doing a it's called a small business digital adoption grant. So yes,
Angie Martin 45:25
yes, every state does do it.
Amy Hooke 45:28
They do. Fantastic. Yes. So we'll pop some links in there. If you just type in small business digital adoption grant programme, you can register your own business, they'll get what they what you do is you purchase anything to help you get online, it could be Software or Services or anything like that. And then you send the receipt to them, and they will reimburse you up to 12 $100. So it's, yeah, it's quite, it's
Angie Martin 45:51
Amy Hooke 45:52
But you can share that with your clients. You know, I'm sure plenty of your clients that would love to be able to receive 1200 bucks back for, you know, some of the expenses that they've probably already paid for in order to have to go and transition online. So
Angie Martin 46:06
yeah, and it's it's one of those things that that means so many different things, whether it's social media, getting a new website, lead magnets, anything. It's incredible. So no, yes, yes, Xeros. All the subscriptions. All the subscriptions,
Amy Hooke 46:27
like get their whole, like first few years, for free. Basically, if I claim back the Xero subscription. Yeah,
Angie Martin 46:33
no, it's, it's just very exciting. And I think, you know, every year, you always hope for the best. And I'm continuing to do that, you know, trying to just imagine all the great things that can happen. And I think the bookkeepers voice the way that we are planning this year, it's going to be definitely a fun way to go through this transition with everyone. So yeah, I can't I can't wait
Amy Hooke 47:04
to like, oh, last year was, you know, not a great year, but good things came out of it. Definitely.
Angie Martin 47:09
There was definitely,
Amy Hooke 47:10
I guess it's a temptation to say like, Oh, 2021 It's gonna be so much better. But we don't know that right? Yeah. We don't know what's gonna happen in any year.
Angie Martin 47:20
We don't know what's gonna happen tomorrow. That's what we learned last years, the world could change tomorrow.
Amy Hooke 47:27
Exactly. So I think like, yeah, I've been thinking about a couple of things like what, you know, like, Where's bookkeeping going in? In 2021? And, yeah,
Angie Martin 47:41
I think it's an ongoing, it's an ongoing topic. Every month, I think there's going to be a new development to, you know, go into and chat about and that's exciting. It's a bit scary, but change can be very exciting.
Amy Hooke 47:59
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I think that. You know, I feel like the kind of, yeah, I'm sort of thinking about, like, what is the word for, like, what's the focus for for this year? And I feel like, like, like, character development is going to be boring. Yeah, I think what, like, when we work on, you know, like, ourselves, you know, because obviously, there's a very heavy focus externally as well, we got to get this Yes. and implement this and do this thing. But then, you know, to look and like, you know, see, like, for example, like, during this time, like, we would have all seen our own weaknesses. And so, we know, so for example, with me, it's my health, you know, the first wave was fine, and I right rise above that, the second one knocked me out, and I saw some areas of weakness. So to be able to look at those and like, build, you know, into those areas is, you know, I think that that's going to be something really important for us to do together as a community, and it will definitely be, you know, theme.
Angie Martin 49:08
I think the word I think the word would be vision. When we do our mentoring sessions, when I talk to our clients, the first thing I always do is do the overview. And then we go and do the vision, your vision for why you want to be a bookkeeper, why you want to have a business, what you're doing and why you're doing it. And I think yeah, I think that it's really important to keep in mind school front, you
Amy Hooke 49:37
can know when things go haywire. Yeah, I guess I just feel like, you know, I don't want to just be positive, like, you know, this is gonna be so much better than last year, but I want us to, you know, be prepared but without being like, scared or afraid or nervous, you know, just Yes. The things we need to do to make sure that we have that strong foundation.
Angie Martin 49:56
Yeah. And just keep your vision in mind of why you're doing It because that's, you know, even even for savvy last year, we consistently were like, Okay, so what are we doing? Why are we doing it? And that got us through? Yeah, that got us through the worst part, basically. And that helped us do the cocoon to the butterfly with the membership. So yeah, I really liked that idea of having like, the word for the year, like the goal and missions. Know your vision kind of thing. Yeah, no, well, thank you,
Amy Hooke 50:39
Angie Martin 50:41
now thank you so much for joining me again, we are going to be seeing more of Amy a little bit over the next few months with some special episodes that we're in the midst of creating off and on next week, I do have a little bonus marketing episode that a lot of people have been asking me about. So I thought we'd just pop it into the first before our first series that's coming up, so that you guys can have a little bit of a marketing section that is a bit of a tidbit into something that we've started to do at savvy and off the hook. So if you're on Instagram, you'll start noticing this happening, but it's just something a lot of our clients have been asking about. So I'm gonna not tell you anything more about that. But it's a special bonus episode. And then we are going to be going into our first series, which is with ob with myself and then our resident bookkeeper at off the hook. And we're going to be discussing all things reporting, which I love how obsessed Sharon is about reporting. It's amazing. I know I'm pretty excited about it. So that's, that's pretty exciting. And as always guys, make sure you join the I heart bookkeeping, I heart payroll groups, they are awesome. You get to see a bit behind the scenes you get to learn some tips and tricks and stay up to date until everything so yeah, thank you so much for joining me and sharing this. Our our hopes and visions for what the future holds for 2021 and bookkeeping. So good. Yeah. Now until Until next week, guys, stay safe, sane and savvy. Bye!
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