Best Practice – the Technical

2024.3 Best practice - the Technical

In a 2023 Smart Bookies Club forum we examined the term ‘Best Practice, and in particular what this means as a bookkeeper. Our Smart Bookies felt a Best Practice Bookkeeper encompasses 2 core elements – the Technical and the Professional. Smart Books® founder, Leaine Jones, further explains this as “Not just the doing – it is also the way of doing.”

Let’s look at The Technical.

Technical skills are a mix of experience and knowledge, combining practical know-how with theoretical understanding. 

For a bookkeeper the practical skills include things like:

  • Accuracy – including recording and maintaining suitable workpapers and checks
    Ensuring bank accounts are ‘in balance’ at month end, with a bank statement to confirm is an example
  • Efficiency – using cloud software tools to automate parts of processes can improve accuracy, leaving time for higher level analysis
    Accounting software with automated bank transactions integrated will greatly improve efficiency
    (there should only be so much we rely on spreadsheets for!)
  • Experience – having the theory only gets us so far. Being able to apply it in real-life context while we do our work gives us technical skills to be competent with job tasks. These skills are acquired over time through hands-on experience. They include understanding financial regulations, interpreting financial statements, and efficiently managing accounts.

For a bookkeeper the theory side of things could include:

  • Continued learning – putting time and effort into ongoing education is so important, particularly with the pace of change and new technology that is now the norm. This could be a mix of on-the-job training, external courses and study, as well as more informal learning (like shorter courses, newsletters, video tutorials). There is always something we can learn!
  • Software expertise – Taking the time to gain in-depth understanding of core software used is of real benefit to the user, the business, and to improve accuracy and efficiency. Sharing this knowledge with others on the team reduces risk to the business as well as upskilling individuals. It is hard to imagine not using payroll software these days – and having the designated payroll person being expert is a must!
  • Procedures – understanding the features and functions of important procedures is part of learning. This is more than just ticking off the month-end checklist. An example of this would be preparing and troubleshooting a GST return reconciliation and being able to report on the reasons why there are some issues.

In summary, bookkeepers need a blend of accuracy, efficiency, and practical experience to excel in their roles. These technical skills empower them to perform their job tasks competently and contribute effectively to financial management. Absolutely part of Best Practice!

Next time we will look at the professional component.

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