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Dear Client, you must use XYZ accounting software or I can’t help you……..

There is a worrying trend currently occurring amongst some bookkeepers (and accountants) regarding accounting software. Some bookkeepers are “encouraging” [a nice word for forcing] their clients to use one specific software only. They are even turning away new clients if they refuse to use the bookkeepers’ software of choice. I don’t like this trend and here’s why………………

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Providing a bookkeeping service isn’t (and shouldn’t be) purely about the software used. The goal underpinning all good bookkeeping practices should be to provide a service that is professional and best practice that will ultimately assist clients to achieve their business goals. The software used is an aside and should only be viewed as the vehicle used to achieve this goal.

Best practice bookkeeping isn’t about software choice. Using the latest software won’t suddenly turn you into the best bookkeeper on the planet! Being a good bookkeeper is about maintaining your skills and knowledge and ensuring the services you provide are of a high standard at all times. I believe in the old adage “garbage in-garbage out”. You can use the most up-to-the-minute program with all its bells and whistles but if the data inputted is inaccurate or poorly constructed, the business reports will be rubbish and of little use to the business owner. Business accounts are only as good as the bookkeeper who created them. A bad bookkeeper will always provide bad books despite the software choice.

A bookkeeper should only suggest that a client use different software if the use of this software will better assist the client to achieve his business goals. There really isn’t any other reason to do so. To suggest to a client that they should change to another platform purely because the bookkeeper promotes it is in my opinion, coercive, threatening and just plain wrong! The old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is appropriate here. I believe if the software works for the client and his business, then there isn’t any need to change and in fact to do so would be waste of my time and an unnecessary expense for the client.

Those bookkeepers who service one software only are often forced to try to “sell” this software to new clients in order to increase and maintain clientele. But bookkeepers are service providers, not software sales persons! I don’t know about you, but I didn’t go into practice to sell software to clients. If I wanted to be a salesperson, I’d be working in Myer or David Jones! I did however, become a bookkeeping contractor to provide best practice bookkeeping services to clients first and foremost despite the software being used.

Turning away new clientele based on software choice is a very risky [possibly even stupid] decision. To say to a potential client that you won’t help them because of their software choice is the same as saying “No thanks, I don’t want your money”. What? This doesn’t make good business sense to me. Why would you turn away potential new leads on purpose? In my opinion, bookkeepers who are purposely choosing to restrict their practices to one software choice are heading for disaster. In the bookkeeping world, “one size does not fit all” i.e. the software choice for a business is as individual as the business itself. The software must fit the business, not the other way around.

My policy at e-BAS Accounts has always been to assist and support clients in the best way possible, including accepting and using their chosen accounting software. I will never coerce clients to use one particular program and/or turn away potential leads who refuse to use that program. My business is about providing best practice bookkeeping services, it’s not about on-selling accounting software. The software choice is not central to the services I provide – it’s only (and always will be) the vehicle used to provide these services.

If you are a bookkeeper, do you “encourage” clients to use specific software or do you support your clients’ choices? If you are a customer, have you ever been coerced by your bookkeeper to use a particular program even though you were happily using another one? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below.