Bas & Balances and Dext: Four Times More Clients and Better Life Quality

More than changing work practices, technology also changes lives – and Denise Twigger knows that well. Founder of Bas & Balances, a bookkeeping practice based in Australia, she has been immersed in the accounting field for nearly 30 years. 

Her journey began with roles in banking, transitioning through various accounting jobs after completing business college. In 2000, during a significant tax change in Australia, Denise ventured into running her own bookkeeping practice – balancing this new role with raising her first child.

To ensure she could consistently support her clients, grow her business and look after her family, Denise looked at cloud solutions to save time and streamline her workflows. Today, alongside her colleague Lisa Wilde, Bas and Balances covers Western Australia and Victoria, offering full bookkeeping services from payroll and compliance to training and education.

The Challenge

Initially, Denise’s bookkeeping practice relied heavily on manual data entry. Clients would provide receipts and bank statements in physical forms, which required extensive manual input. This process was not only time-consuming but also prone to errors, which could lead to delays in financial reporting and potential inaccuracies.

“They would hand me a box of paperwork and I would manually enter into MYOB, which was the software of choice at the time. So the first thing was bank statements, manually entering line by line, which would take hours… What a waste of money for them and what a waste of time for us!”, she remembers. 

“And hopefully you wouldn’t make a mistake or have any typos. Maybe you forget to put a negative in front of a line and it becomes a positive… It can happen. You can’t trust human beings with things like that, we’re prone to errors.”

The intensive workload limited Denise’s client base: she couldn’t serve more than 45 clients, as the manual processes consumed a significant amount of time and effort. This workload also impacted her work-life balance, leaving little time for her personal life and family.

“I couldn’t grow anymore because there were no more hours left in my day or days left in my week – and I was already working seven days a week. My kids didn’t know what it was like for me to have a weekend off. It was just crazy.”

The Solution

At the time Xero was launched in Australia, Denise was having her second child and knew that things had to change. The turning point came when she attended XeroCon and was introduced to Dext (formerly Receipt Bank). Discovering a cloud-based data capture solution that automated data extraction and integrated directly into the accounting software opened up a new world for Bas and Balances.

“I didn’t just fall in love with the cloud: it was this amazing scanning device that we’d always dreamt about but never seen.”

Denise quickly saw the value in Dext’s ability to streamline data entry by scanning and extracting data from receipts, invoices and bank statements. It was clear that the integration between Xero and Dext could increase her efficiency and accuracy. When she introduced QuickBooks, she discovered that Dext could sync perfectly with that too. From that moment on, there was no turning back.

“I’m not going to waste my time doing manual data entry when I can use a tool like Dext. It blows my mind that people still think that’s ok in 2024”, she says.

Part of the change, Denise explains, was adopting a strict policy for new clients: whether they’re on Xero or QuickBooks, they must use Dext. She provided comprehensive training to clients, showing them how to capture receipts and invoices using Dext, which streamlined their bookkeeping processes.

Why? She gives her one example:

“I had a client who had boxes and boxes of paperwork, which we uploaded all into Dext. Because he’s a chemist, he gets big massive GST refunds – and he went straight into an audit. When I got the call, I said: bring it on! She said, ‘you sound really excited about this’, and I went ‘well, there is not one single document that you can ask me for that I won’t be able to give you a copy of. Everything’s been scanned and I’ve got a photograph of it in Dext as well as Xero. So what would you like?’. She gave the list of the documents, which we just downloaded straight from Dext and sent it in one big folder. Then she came back about three weeks later: ‘everything’s perfect’. And I said, ‘of course it is’. And that’s why my clients don’t get a choice. When they onboard us as their bookkeeper, they’re introduced and trained to use Dext.”

Denise also developed further online training tutorials to assist clients with common queries, enhancing their experience and reducing support calls. This standardisation not only empowers them but also frees up time for Denise to focus on strategic business growth.

“I’m a qualified trainer and I love training people. If I could get up in there and teach business owners how to do their books better or use technical technology better then I’m in my element”, she smiles.

The Impact

The integration of Dext has had a profound impact on Bas and Balances. Denise’s practice is now more efficient, scalable and profitable. The automation of mundane tasks has changed the way she works and lives. Amongst all the benefits, she highlights four major improvements:

Scalability: With Dext automating data extraction, Denise dramatically reduced the time spent on mundane tasks. What previously took hours now takes mere seconds. This efficiency gain allowed Denise to scale her practice significantly, registering fourfold growth – and envisioning further expansion.

“We grew from 45 clients to 178, with room to take on even more. We can do this and make a reasonable profit because we’re using technology.”

Efficiency and Accuracy: Automation through Dext minimises errors that are common in manual entry processes. This not only speeds up the bookkeeping process but also reduces errors associated with manual data entry.

We’re always being told it’s okay to make mistakes because you learn from them, right? Well, it depends on what you’re doing as a job.”

Work-Life Balance: Automation allowed Denise to reclaim her weekends and reduce her work hours from seven days a week to a more manageable schedule. This improved her work-life balance, giving her time for personal interests and further education, contributing to her overall well-being.

“I have a boat, it’s called Bertha, and I’m the skipper. That’s my happy place, being out on the water. I’ve also done my diploma in accounting and in payroll. I’ve had time to study and upskill myself over the last few years, it’s opened up opportunities for personal growth as well.”

Client Satisfaction: Denise onboards every new client to an accounting software (Xero or QuickBooks) and Dext. She then provides thorough training, ensuring clients are comfortable with the technology. This enables clients to manage their expenses efficiently, improving their operational workflows and allowing more accurate financial reporting.

“I had this new client who was up until late every evening dealing with receipts. I put her on Dext and she loved it. She went back home and a while later I got a message with a huge pile of paperwork she had uploaded, saying ‘I can’t find any more receipts to photograph!’. That is priceless.”

Bas and Balances team and client receipts scanned

“This is why we do what we do. This is why I get out of bed in the morning: to make my clients think that I’m the best thing ever because my apps are the best thing ever.”

Moving Forward

By embracing Dext, Denise not only expanded her business but also improved her quality of life. She now has time to indulge in her passions, such as finding joy and relaxation out on the water on her boat or following her favourite football team, the West Coast Eagles – a stark contrast to her previously hectic work schedule. Her journey underscores the importance of innovation and adaptability in achieving long-term success in the bookkeeping industry.

“I’m using bookkeeping technology in its best format to allow me to have a work-life balance. I’m not chained to my computer or to any device. It does what it needs to do on the backend.”, she says.

Denise Twigger’s story at Bas and Balances is a testament to the transformative power of automation. She continues to advocate for the adoption of cloud technology in bookkeeping, emphasising its importance in maintaining a competitive edge in the industry.

“There are people saying that technology is going to put bookkeepers out of business. My response to that is: no, technology is not going to put you out of business. It’s bookkeepers like me, who are accepting and adopting technology, that will put you out of business.”

Moving forward, Denise plans to continue leveraging Dext to enhance her service offerings and maintain the high standards of accuracy and efficiency that her clients have come to expect. As Bas and Balances looks to the future, the practice stands as a testament to the power of automation in driving business excellence.


Find out how Dext can help you and your clients: start a free trial today.

Related posts