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360 Blog

The changing role of the bookkeeper.
December 22, 2015

When I started out in business in 2011 I had a very traditional view of what my business should look like and how I should go about it and what software I would be using.

During these early years I dipped my toe into cloud software and to be honest I was not that impressed with it. It was slow, cumbersome, no flexibility and frankly drove me mental. Even on one occasion the software providers servers went down for 4 days which was totally unacceptable.

After several bad experiences with cloud solutions I had nearly wrote off this vast change in my industry with the view that it was not ready yet for main stream. This all changed late 2014/15 when the technology side of my business nearly caught me napping.

This is when I started to use Xero software which then opened the doors to many other cloud software packages, that I never even knew existed. All of a sudden there was software coming out of the woodwork. The more I searched the more I found. The more I talked to clients and other business people, the more I found out what they were using and what they thought of it.

The writing is on the wall here. It is something similar to what happened to the printing trade not so long ago. Technology moved into the sector and the businesses that were not prepared for the change went to the wind.

So where does that leave the humble bookkeeper? We have to adapt to this change in our market, specialise, become software advisors. The industry will say cheerio to old Matilda and her knitting bag.

So yes I have moved with the times . I am an avid supporter of cloud software, if the business is right for it. I have specialised in Sage and Xero software and other useful cloud applications like Datamolno, Receipt bank and Trip Catcher etc. If anyone said that they could effectively use all of it I would say that they are not being quite true to themselves.

There is an old saying that is still true today in the accountancy world “if it’s not broken you don’t need to fix it” My question is “how do you know if there is something better out there if you don’t look at the alternatives?”


  1. When looking at cloud software make sure that your computer is of a decent standard and that you preferably have fibre broadband. If these conditions are not met then you may find using it frustrating as it will be slow.
  2. If you are using a wireless dongle to connect to the internet check your speed of the connection. If it is below par then try hard wiring your computer to the modem. Mine went from 5 MB down to 40 MB down when I did this.
  3. Test and try the software before you commit to it. Make a list of what you want from the software and see if it comes up to a standard your are needing. All the suppliers will give you a trial.
  4. Speak to other business people and see what they are using and what they think of it.
  5. Don’t rely on your professional adviser to tell you what is good because quite often they are getting a commission to resell the software, I’m no different but I currently think Xero is the best in the market for many reasons.