The Bookkeeper of the Future

The traditional image of a bookkeeper, surrounded by stacks of paper and ledgers, is rapidly fading into history. Today, cloud technology specialists are at the forefront of the digital transformation, bringing a new wave of efficiency, accuracy and accessibility to financial management.

Cloud technology has not only streamlined the bookkeeping process but has also unlocked a realm of possibilities. These specialists possess a unique blend of skills that combine deep knowledge of finances and regulations with an understanding of technology. From automating routine tasks to implementing sophisticated data analytics, cloud technology specialists are reshaping the industry. They are the bookkeepers of the future.

Why bookkeepers should become cloud technology specialists

Cloud technology specialists offer bookkeeping practices the expertise needed to effectively choose, implement and utilise cloud-based solutions to improve workflows and general financial management. Their technical guidance and support is beneficial not only for clients, but also help the bookkeeping practice remain competitive in the long term.

Here are the main benefits technology can offer your bookkeeping business:

Increased efficiency: Cloud-based software allows real-time access to financial records and transactions, so bookkeepers and clients can work on financial tasks simultaneously, regardless of their location. This can help increase efficiency and reduce the time needed to complete tasks.

Improved collaboration: Technology helps make collaboration between bookkeepers and clients easier. This is especially useful for clients who have multiple locations, but it also hugely benefits internal teams, facilitating remote work.

Greater accessibility: Cloud-based bookkeeping tools can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, which means that financial records and transactions are always available and can be easily shared with stakeholders.

Automated workflows: Bookkeeping automation is a reality and every practice, small or large, can benefit from automating manual tasks – reducing the chances of errors and saving time.

Security: Typically, cloud-based software is more secure than traditional on-premises software. That’s because cloud providers typically have robust security measures in place to protect data and comply with regulations that are constantly reviewed and updated.

Scalability: If chosen properly, cloud-based solutions can be scaled to meet the needs of growing businesses, which means that bookkeeping practices and their clients can easily add users or expand their usage of the software as needed. By becoming a cloud technology specialist, you’ll know which tools can support your growth in the long term.

On top of that, we can’t ignore the value cloud technology specialists bring to client relationships. Whether it’s a difficult conversation about pricing, the need to change certain processes or how to navigate a business storm, data provides the best insights for the best advice. You’ll need the appropriate technology on your side to achieve that – becoming a cloud specialist will help strengthen the connection between you and your clients.

“Bookkeepers and clients work better as a team – and we can only do that efficiently with the aid of cloud technology.” – Ambrose Gordon, Owner of Cloud Bookkeeping East London

Find out why neglecting bookkeeping automation is risky.

The Bookkeeper of the Future

A benefit for any bookkeeping practice

By now, you might be thinking that only larger bookkeeping businesses might need or/and can afford to have a cloud technology specialist in their team. That’s a common misconception. Since the cloud specialist is a relatively new role, its definition is not yet black or white, allowing for big flexibility on what it looks like, depending on each practice’s needs.

In fact, many bookkeepers might already be a cloud technology specialist – whether they work solo or as part of a big practice. There are essentially 3 types of cloud specialists:

1. The one who’s a tech person with extensive knowledge and interest in the industry, but not necessarily a bookkeeper. They are hired exclusively for this role at a point where the firm already has automation processes in place but wants to scale. Although they might provide billable technical services to clients, this is often a non-chargeable position. That’s why this type of cloud technology specialist is usually seen in large accounting firms.

2. The one who is an experienced bookkeeper, has always loved technology and naturally evolved their role into an official cloud champion position. They still act as a bookkeeper and have regular clients (but with a smaller portfolio), so share their time between the two roles – which is something many prefer to keep up to date on regulations and clients’ needs. This type of cloud champion is often seen in mid- to large-size practices.

3. The one who is a full-time bookkeeper who likes to explore automation and has a passion for technology. This person will naturally be researching and suggesting apps the practice can use because it’s part of their interests, but they don’t officially hold a cloud technology specialist position. Because they still focus mostly on their clients with regular services and advice, they might not yet be aware they’re becoming a cloud specialist. But, slowly, they’re leading the digital transformation, one step at a time. This type of cloud champion is one of the most common right now, as the role is being defined, and normally the only one seen on smaller firms that are still getting started in automation – or in cases where the bookkeeper works independently.

The rapid advance of the technology available in the past years and the constant changes in government regulations are helping these “unofficial” cloud specialists to get more visibility. Today, this natural shift is shaping the role of the cloud technology specialist. Unsurprisingly, most professionals who stand out in this position today are from a younger generation – although not solely.

“The role is not restricted to one person, depending on how much you want to scale, but you need someone who has the drive, the passion and the excitement, otherwise you won’t move forward.” – Paul Lodder, VP of Accounting & Product Strategy at Dext

The characteristics of a cloud technology specialist

Overall, a cloud technology specialist needs to have good personal skills, be communicative and think outside the box – but to be successful in the role and really stand out, there are other traits they need to develop. The main characteristics of a successful cloud specialist bookkeeper typically include:

Technical skills: It’s a given that cloud specialists must have a strong understanding of cloud-based technology. That includes researching and implementing software and other tools to help with everyday bookkeeping tasks as well as general business processes.

Accounting knowledge: Whether the cloud specialist in your firm is also a bookkeeper or not, they need to have a strong understanding of accounting principles and financial regulations. They should be able to apply this knowledge when working with cloud-based software and be able to provide guidance to colleagues and clients.

Communication skills: Cloud technology specialists should be able to effectively communicate with clients and other staff members (when part of a larger practice), including providing training and support on the use of bookkeeping automation tools.

Proactiveness: The cloud specialist needs to be ready to drive the direction of the practice’s digital journey – and, sometimes, their clients too. That might include taking part in webinars, product demos, or any activity that brings team and clients along. They also need to be good at listening to their questions and concerns, and actively finding solutions.

Resilience: Sometimes things will go wrong. In any industry – but specially in accounting and bookkeeping – the cloud technology specialist must be resilient, comfortable with failing and starting over if needed, and open to criticism. The classic “fail fast and move on” applies here. But they also need to be structured, confident and clear on what’s right and what’s wrong.

Good judgement: There are thousands of automation tools out there, and it can be overwhelming. You can’t be an expert if you become a “master of none” and sign up for too many apps that might not be necessary. A cloud specialist bookkeeper needs to be able to benchmark the best solutions for the problems they are trying to solve and ensure the practice is using those tools at full capacity. 

Adaptability: Technology keeps evolving, so specialists must be able to adjust to new solutions as they become available, and stay up to date with developments in cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping.

• Project management: Very often, a cloud technology bookkeeper will be supporting different clients to implement new technologies and even train their staff. For that, project management skills come in handy.

The Bookkeeper of the Future

How to become a bookkeeper of the future

If you’re a bookkeeper passionate about technology and are excited about the opportunity to evolve your career towards digital – whether you work independently or at a larger practice -, you might be thinking about which steps you can take to become a cloud specialist. Don’t worry: you don’t need to completely change your role from one day to another. In fact, most bookkeepers and accountants choose to keep a portfolio of clients to stay active on new regulations and up-to-date on businesses’ needs.

Here’s what you should work on to successfully develop your role into a cloud specialist position: 

Develop your technical skills. Keep learning and expanding your knowledge of cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping apps and other technologies that are relevant to your field and can be helpful for your business and your clients.

Network. Attend industry events and conferences to see what new products are being released and start building a relationship with tech companies that are leading the industry. Join online forums and groups, and connect with other professionals who are also interested in technology.

• Be proactive. If you work in a larger practice, talk to the leaders at your firm about your interest in technology and how you see it impacting your role. Show them how you can help the business to leverage technology to improve its efficiency and serve clients better. For example, you can provide examples of how other firms have used technology to improve their processes and generate new revenue by offering new services to clients.

Be open to training and mentoring. Listen to the challenges your business and clients have, be open to learning new solutions and how to make the most of them. Take advantage of any training or mentoring opportunities offered by the tech companies that develop the apps.

By following these steps, you can position yourself as an even more valuable asset to your practice and your clients, and expand your role into cloud technology.

“You do need some kind of tech background, even if you are not technical yourself. Account management is also a strong trait for this role. And, of course, the ability to talk to people: you may not have the answer, but you’ll know where to find the answer, so listen and communicate that effectively.” – Dayle Rodriguez, Systems Advisory Manager at Kreston Reeves

How cloud technology specialists implement new bookkeeping technologies

Cloud technology specialists play a crucial role in implementing new bookkeeping technologies to enhance the efficiency and productivity of bookkeeping practices. They begin by assessing the company’s existing technology. This involves a detailed evaluation of current systems and processes to pinpoint inefficiencies and determine which new software can address these gaps. By researching and evaluating bookkeeping tools, they select the ones that can best streamline processes and boost productivity.

Depending on the size of the practice, the implementation process can involve detailed planning – including setting timelines, budgets, and resource allocation. Cloud technology specialists can also provide thorough training and onboarding for team members, ensuring they understand how to use the new tools effectively. They also test and monitor the new software to ensure it functions properly and meets the firm’s needs.

Communication is key throughout this process. Cloud technology specialists keep stakeholders and clients informed about any new apps and their benefits. They ensure everyone is using the tools correctly and continuously evaluate the technologies to confirm they are still adding value. This ongoing assessment helps make recommendations for future improvements and implementations. 

The value cloud specialists bring to bookkeeping clients

Automation is disrupting all industries, not only finance – your clients need to stay up to date on technology just as much as you. But every business has different needs, ambitions and budgets, so when it comes to deciding on what tools to invest in, they can find it overwhelming.

As a cloud technology specialist, the bookkeeper can have a conversation with each client to identify the problems they face and recommend solutions that will best fit them – whilst staying in line with the processes your practice follows. If the client already uses a certain app, they can assess whether that’s the best option for everybody. After all, you will want streamlined systems between the practice and your clients.

Cloud specialists can also assist with the implementation and integration of these tools, as most clients might not know how to properly do that. They can help during the client onboarding process, set up the software and train the client and its employees on how to use it. This is especially useful for clients who have never used automated bookkeeping or cloud technologies and might need a bit of convincing. For example, if they’re still collecting receipts on a shoebox (or often losing them), they can recommend an app like Dext to easily extract and safely store data from invoices and expenses. 

“I tend to compare it to WhatsApp or Facebook, for example. I ask them, ‘Have you ever sent a picture to your family?’, and they say yes. ‘Well, then you have no excuse not to use Dext’. And they do.” – Alice Mason, Founder and Managing Director of Biking Bookkeeper Ltd

Ongoing support such as running software updates, evaluating and implementing new features and even training for new employees can also be arranged. Extra tools can be recommended if and when necessary, based on the changes in their accounts and concerns. Such services can of course be chargeable either as one-offs or recurring, opening up a new revenue stream. We recently published an article with more information on how bookkeeping automation can help you generate revenue.

“As businesses increasingly adopt cloud technology, they will need ongoing support to navigate this transition – bookkeepers can assist these businesses by helping them build their app stacks and streamline their processes. Offer setup services, training, and ongoing support, charging for these services as needed.” – Paul Lodder, VP of Accounting & Product Strategy at Dext

But it doesn’t end there. With technology and automation to increase efficiency both business owners and bookkeepers have more time to focus on important conversations that add more value to the business. In this sense, the cloud specialist is also an enabler of better communication and stronger relationships – essential for any bookkeeping practice’s reputation and growth. The compliance work won’t disappear, but it will take less time to complete because software is making it easier.

The Bookkeeper of the Future

Embracing the digital evolution in bookkeeping

The evolution of bookkeeping through cloud technology marks a significant shift from traditional methods, offering a range of benefits that are transforming the industry. The role of the cloud technology specialist is emerging as a crucial element in this transformation, combining expertise in both finance and technology to enhance efficiency, collaboration and scalability within bookkeeping practices. These specialists not only streamline processes but also provide valuable insights and guidance, ensuring that bookkeeping practices of any size remain competitive and can effectively manage their clients’ needs.

By developing technical skills, networking, and proactively engaging with both their practices and clients, bookkeepers who embrace technology can expand their roles into cloud specialist professionals. These specialists play a pivotal role in identifying and implementing the most suitable technological solutions, facilitating smoother client onboarding and even providing ongoing support and training. This not only enhances operational efficiency but also opens up new revenue streams.

“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.” – Denise Twigger, Founder of Bas & Balances

Here are some more reasons why bookkeeping automation won’t replace bookkeepers.

Ultimately, cloud technology specialists are reshaping the future of bookkeeping. They enable more meaningful interactions with clients, foster better communication, and build stronger relationships, which are essential for the growth and reputation of any bookkeeping practice. As automation reduces the time required for compliance tasks, bookkeepers can focus on more strategic and value-added activities, making the role of the cloud technology specialist indispensable in the modern financial landscape.

Do you need help implementing bookkeeping automation in your firm? No problem: we’re preparing a step-by-step guide with tips from experts themselves – stay tuned!


Dext helps you deliver consistent, quality bookkeeping work that’s always in line with compliance, so you can stay ahead of client deadlines and have more time to provide business-changing advice. Find out more here.

Ready to make a move? Start a free trial today!

Related posts