Learn how you can prepare your business for the projected bookkeeper shortage.
A recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that America could lose almost 66,000 bookkeepers between 2018 and 2028. This trend could spell trouble for small businesses that fail to plan accordingly.
According to Strategic Finance magazine (SF), the decline in bookkeepers is being driven in part by increased automation — as well as a mistaken belief that software programs provide a "set it and forget it" bookkeeping solution that no longer requires human involvement.
In reality, the bookkeeping profession is transitioning to a more analytical role. The job is no longer about accumulating data, but about interpreting what all that data means. "There will still be a strong demand for these professionals," SF concludes. "Nevertheless, the combination of an aging population of current bookkeepers and fewer new entrants into the field will be insufficient to meet the needs of many companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)."
So what can SMEs do to prepare?
Consider Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping
Among the potential solutions that SF recommended was outsourcing. The benefits of outsourced bookkeeping and back-office support include:
- It's a turnkey solution. With outsourcing, you'll instantly get access to the latest in cloud-based bookkeeping software. That will enable you to automate your bookkeeping system, reducing manual processes and reliance on paper documents. And you can achieve this high-level support without adding staff or implementing substantial retraining.
- It gives you instant expertise. Along with the digital infrastructure, outsourced bookkeeping services allow you to tap into that critical financial analysis that SF says is the wave of the future.
- It ensures business continuity. The COVID-19 outbreak provided stark evidence of the importance of maintaining business continuity during times of disruption. SMEs with outsourced bookkeeping services didn't have to figure out how to transition to a work-from-home bookkeeping solution because their providers were already working remotely. Moreover, those outsourced services were using cloud-based systems, automatic backups and other best practices, including cross-training and segregation of duties.
- It's scalable. With outsourced bookkeeping services, there's no need to worry about adjusting the size of your bookkeeping or back-office staff as your business evolves. Whether you add multiple locations as your business grows or consolidate departments to achieve greater efficiency, the level of support from your provider will adjust accordingly. This is of particular benefit to SMEs that experience irregular cash flow.
A Bookkeeping Solution for Today and Tomorrow
Many business leaders are so focused on recovering from the immediate economic effects of COVID-19 that they've given little thought to obstacles that may emerge in the years ahead. By addressing both the current challenges of a remote work environment and the bookkeeper shortage that looms later in the decade, outsourcing is one solution that can meet all of your bookkeeping needs for the foreseeable future.