In the span of only days, two clients approached us in a bit of desperation for help in setting up QuickBooks for their internal use, for eerily similar reasons. Turns out that in both cases, their external accountant had just passed away. We did not personally know these accountants, but still a sad note.
In one of the clients, the accountant was who took care of their QuickBooks. He entered their monthly activity into a QuickBooks file maintained by him, only to present the client with financials every month. They worked like this for years, with the client not knowing where they stand on their finances at any current point in time. They were always looking at results in arrears.
When their accountant was gone, they had to do something about it. Some businesses feel the urge to simply find another accountant and continue as they are. Others, realize the opportunity. This company decided to use this moment to implement QuickBooks for their internal operations, something that would also give them visibility on their business at any point in time. They decided to know where they stand, all the time.
The other client that approached us had a similar setup with their accountant. Except, they also were running a very old version of SBT Accounting software for their internal operations. But they did not use SBT for any accounting activity – they only handled customer invoicing, inventory, and vendor payables in the system. In fact, they did not even have the SBT General Ledger module. We found out that they were giving their accountant monthly reports for sales, expenses / payouts, and an inventory balance at the end of each month. Again, like many businesses, they relied on their accountant to maintain an accounting for them.
When starting the implementation, we learned that their accountant was actually keeping a QuickBooks file for their accounting, but no operational activity in it. Basically, he was using QuickBooks as a write-up tool. We converted their QuickBooks “accounting” data file into a QuickBooks “operations” data file that the company could use.
One of the things that this teaches us is that the days of traditional write-up are likely behind us or soon will be. Here are the days when all businesses can and should maintain their own QuickBooks – for running their daily operations and for easy, up-to-the-minute financial information. For the accountant, now more than ever, the role has transitioned from maintaining the books to that of trusted advisor, being for tax-preparation, financial planning, business strategy, and more.
The traditional accountant is gone. Long live the trusted advisor!