In this week’s podcast episode on The Bookkeeper’s Voice, I talk about a video Dick Smith made back in 2018 about some changes in the hotel industry. The video made me think about the changes in our industry, and some of the things that I believe
He brought up some interesting points, which I mostly disagreed with! And in considering what I felt was quite a narrow point of view, it led me to reach some interesting conclusions which I think are so relevant to us as Bookkeepers.
If you are interested in learning more about industry changes, listen to the full episode here >>> How to Stay Relevant Through Industry Disruption
So….Industry Disruption. It’s something that we all have to deal with, no matter what we do for a living, and it is something that we need to know how to handle.
In the past, disruption never meant something good. These days it’s a buzzword that’s thrown around by ‘thought leaders’ like it’s a good thing. Apparently if you’re a ‘disrupter’ then you’re one of the ‘cool kids’.
So what does this cool word actually mean….
Dictionary result for disruption
noun: disruption; plural noun: disruptions
- disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process.
- “the scheme was planned to minimize disruption”
Yup! According to the dictionary ‘disruption’ sounds bloody awful.
Industry disruption is never going to be fun for the people who are being ‘disrupted’. Industry disruption can take so many different forms, but at its core, it’s about CHANGE.
In fact, industry disruption can happen anywhere. Just think about companies like Uber and Airbnb. The taxi industry and the hotel industry have remained unchallenged and unchanged for years!
No one ever had to change their business models radically to keep up, but now these two companies have knocked conventions out of the park.
Wow! That’s quite a bit to take in, right?
Change seems to everywhere you look, and it takes so many different forms.
Maybe it’s a new technological breakthrough, or a new software that’s on the market. Maybe it’s a whole new business model that’s shaking everything up. Maybe clients have a whole new set of problems, or expectations that businesses need to be able to meet and address.
Whatever it is, it spells CHANGE for the industry, boththe people in the industry, and their clients.
But just because it’s a negative word doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be a bad thing!
In fact, it’s our responsibility, as members of the bookkeeping industry, to make sure that these changes are for the better.
So… if we want to handle industry disruption (and make the best of it) there’s ONE thing we need to make sure that we do. And it’s easier said than done…
“Sounds great, but how on earth do you do that, Amy?!”
Staying relevant as times change
Phew, this is a big one, isn’t it? I know that there are a lot of people in the industry who fear the changing times, and wonder where the heck bookkeeping is going to fit in the future.
It’s no wonder people worry, with the fast-pace technology moves at, and the vast overhaul of so many traditional industries.
Well, I’m not here to be all doom and gloom. I’m here to tell you that there is definitely hope for the bookkeeping industry!
We just need to re-evaluate how we perceive, and market, our services.
What do I mean by that? Well, a few things, actually.
Let’s go back to the example of Uber and Airbnb. They’ve shaken their industries up, but what does it all come down to really?
Creating a great customer experience!
There is a clear difference in competitive pricing and level of service when it comes to Uber and Airbnb. The rating system works both ways, and prices are competitive. Usually, the cars and the houses are well-kept, clean with very professional people.
It’s convenient, user-friendly and affordable.
The hotel industry and the taxi industry are struggling to compete for the first time in years!
So, how does this relate to the bookkeeping industry?
Well, firstly, it shows how absolutely VITAL good service is! If your clients have a good time using your website, filling out your forms and working with you, then they are far more likely to continue using you and your business.
Secondly, it show how keeping up with changes in the industry is vital to making sure that your business, and the industry as a whole, survives!
This doesn’t mean jumping on the latest trend, but it does mean making sure that you keep abreast of big, relevant changes.
Consider where you fit
I think it is important to consider where bookkeeping fits into businesses. I know that when I was working in bookkeeping, I held the belief that I was God’s gift to small business owners.
I thought I was the bee’s knees, to be honest!
It seems a bit silly looking back on it now, but that’s definitely the perception I had.
But the thing is, while bookkeeping is absolutely essential…it’s only one part of business, and I think being aware of this is the first step.
It ties nicely into the second thing I want to talk about…
When we offer ‘benefits’ to our clients and talk about what our services will mean for them, we have to be really careful that we’re being REAL with our clients.
Our bookkeeping service isn’t going to ‘free them to do business’. It might be a relief, and it will probably save a few hours of work and hassle…
But the business owner still needs to deal with every other aspect of running a business! They don’t magically get all of this free time, and I think that this is a very common misconception (that then translates to unintentional false advertising).
We also need to be really careful that anything we offer on our website is PROVIDED to our clients. Otherwise, clients end up disappointed, disillusioned and not satisfied with the services that they have received.
So, to sum it up? What is on the label, has to match what is in the can!
Okay, this is why I started working on bookkeeping website design in the first place. So many bookkeeping websites are just not user friendly.
And that’s fine, most bookkeepers are not web designers, after all.
But websites today keep getting more and more user friendly, and too many bookkeeping websites are slow to load with lots of jargon, which can confuse and frustrate potential new clients.
Streamlining your website, and making sure it is user-friendly, engaging and easy to understand can make the world of difference!
Okay, when Dick Smith talks about this, he is doing so in relation to the hotel industry, but it is just as relevant to the Bookkeeping industry.
See…Google is important! I have seen so many bookkeeping businesses fail to use (and fail to leverage) the power of organic SEO, and then wonder why they’re not getting the traffic and leads that they had hoped for.
Contrary to popular belief, businesses that don’t have the money to pay Google for paid ads can still rank in the FIRST page of search results, if they are willing to put in a reasonably small amount of effort.
When I was looking for a bookkeeper for my business, I actually had a really hard time finding one through organic search. I had to use my contacts within the industry, and not everyone has those contacts. This is not good news for bookkeepers! If your clients can’t find you, they can’t hire you!
Now, there was a time when you didn’t need to worry so much about Google search results, SEO and promoting your business through search engines.
However, with times changing as they are, it is becoming more and more relevant (vital, even!) to your success as a bookkeeper.
Over to You…
It can be tough when everything is changing, can’t it? But if we, as bookkeepers, can offer a fantastic customer experience, and make sure that we prioritize clients and keeping up with changes, then our industry is likely to keep flourishing well into the future.
And I don’t know about you, but I love the sound of that!
What do you think about the changing pace of the world? What about keeping up with change in the bookkeeping industry? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Again, if you want to hear all the details, check out our podcast >>> How to Stay Relevant Through Industry Disruption
P.S. If you want to keep up with industry changes, check out The Bookkeeping project, where I give an inside look at starting and running a Bookkeeping business.