Bookkeepers, accountants respond to pandemic with new services

Accounting

Bookkeepers and accountants have been adding more services for their business clients to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.

The survey, from Bill.com, polled 600 accountants and bookkeepers, and found the top three challenges cited for clients was keeping their businesses open (30%), coping with increasing costs (27%), and employee recruitment and retention (17%).

During the pandemic, bookkeepers and accountants helped their clients by providing advice on the Paycheck Protection Program and other facets of the CARES Act. Technology has helped accountants and bookkeepers as many of them moved to remote work from home. Automation also helped, with 44% of the bookkeepers polled saying they’re closing the books faster for clients than they did prior to COVID-19. Revenue increases have been a boon, with 84% of bookkeepers expecting a revenue increase this year, and 37% forecasting significant revenue increases.

“The past year called on bookkeepers to step up to the plate like never before, acting as advisors, business stabilizers, and even therapists to their clients,” said Kevin Au, senior director of product marketing at Bill.com in a statement Tuesday. “As demand continues and client needs evolve, bookkeepers will have more opportunities to demonstrate their value, increase effectiveness, and deliver against new expectations. Fortunately, bookkeepers are more than up to the task.”

To aid with their growth, 80% of the survey respondents who expect high growth said they have already experienced strong digital adoption. But despite all of the technology improvements over the past year, 40% of the bookkeepers polled are still printing and mailing paper checks.

Staffing has been a major challenge in the accounting and bookkeeping sector, although 69% of the survey respondents plan to add to their teams despite staff shortages. Remorse work isn’t going away any time soon, with 34% of the respondents expecting there to be more remote work in the future, resulting in the need to hire, retain and upskill their staff with more technology offerings, training and nontraditional roles.

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