Change in the property industry is happening and it is happening in plain sight. Those who react will prosper and those who do not will struggle. We have all heard it at every conference we visit now and the good news is the roadmap that will help you navigate the seas of change is now clearer than ever. As always the key to developing a great strategy is great people. One of those great people may already be on your team – your bookkeeper.
The biggest changes we are seeing in our customers businesses are in two areas :
- How to use technology to deliver the type of service clients now demand &
- How to manage compliance with the regulations
Words, brands and terms like proptech, purple bricks and hybrid agencies are running around in all our minds and the big question everyone has to answer is :
Do we need to change our business model and if so how ?
I think that the smartest move any SME owner can make is to seek advice from every expert they can get access to before making big decisions. We count ourselves very lucky that our customers consult with us on their technological requirements, where proptech is going and on how to comply with property services regulations. However we are amazed at the number of business owners and managers that ignore the perfect consultant for their business. One that they already pay, one that could do so much more to inform their strategic decisions and one that could have a much bigger impact on the growth of the business if deployed properly.
Ladies and gentlemen I give you your Bookkeeper – the CFO in hiding.
The power of a title should not be underestimated.
Bookkeeper – keeper of books. Full stop, nothing else to add to the organisation.
CFO/Finance Director/Finance Executive/Accounts Executive – keeper of books, trusted advisor, finance oracle, financial strategist …………………………………
Great employers get the best out of their team but for some reason even great employers seem to create the narrowest of job descriptions for their bookkeeper and are leaving so much talent on the table.
Having worked with thousands of incredible bookkeepers our advice to clients is always to expand a bookkeepers role and encourage them to become the financial wizard that will help drive your business forward and answer the questions that you need to answer to grow.
Here are a few ideas on how to get the very best from your bookkeeper.
As we all know cashflow is the lifeblood of every business and the need for cashflow projections is often ignored when they are such a crucial tool for ensuring the business is planning for the road ahead.
A cashflow projection document based on good historical data will show you what your bank balance is likely to be over a twelve month period and indeed inform changes to strategy so that your bank balance is even better than your current strategy projects.
If you have never created a cashflow forecast document, why not take the leap by asking your bookkeeper to create one today. You see; they have all the information at their fingertips. Historical sales data that will help predict future sales and growth trajectory and a deep understanding of company overheads.
Do each of your agents chase debt from their own clients ? Maybe it would reduce workload and improve cashflow if your bookkeeper managed aged debt. A simple credit control reminder letter workflow that is guided by the reports that can be produced in Klyant could be designed by your bookkeeper and they could send the reminders out.
You can’t do it all and one simple task to delegate to your bookkeeper is the job of ensuring you are getting the best deal from all your suppliers. Are you on the best telephone plan, with the best electricity supplier, are your tradesmen and tradeswomen providing your clients with the best rates and of course are you getting great value from your software provider. Your bookkeeper can keep on top of all this and save you money.
Help inform Growth Strategy
“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together”, James Cash Penney, Founder of J C Penney.
When forming a growth strategy you would never leave your agents or accountants out of the conversation so why would you leave your bookkeeper out ? Think about all that company data that flows into their brains and is captured but may never be accessed by the decision makers. Who better to comment on whether a strategy is realistic in financial terms ?
The next time you are strategising for growth, invite your bookkeeper in to the room. It could make all the difference.
Let Them Show You The Progress
You have your business plan in place and are executing on strategy. The next thing to do is to measure progress. Hopefully you have taken the above advice on board and you now have your cashflow projections in place but why not build a framework with your bookkeeper to evaluate whether the company is on track. Your bookkeeper can create and manage :
- Achieveable Budgets
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Management Reports – Profit & Loss & Balance Sheet
- New Business Acquisition Reports
- Sale Agreed Price Trend Reports
Licence renewal time or dealing with an audit always heaps pressure on the agency but with an efficient bookkeeper who has been given the task of project managing the whole process; life at your office could be so much easier. Instead of just being the person who produces the numbers required by the accountant, why not put your bookkeeper in charge of briefing the team on regulatory updates, ensuring terms of engagement letters are all in order, drafting the accountant’s report and ensuring all client files are ship shape.