Bookkeeping is often under-rated as a career choice; with the image of somebody sitting at a desk, mulling over numbers with a coffee on the desk to keep them company. Fortunately, cloud technology entered our industry several years ago and my bookkeeper friends and I smuggly enjoy a life that escapes so many purely because of our opportunity to embrace emerging technology.
Bookkeepers these days, not all, but many, live in the cloud, work their chosen hours and do this from anywhere. We are, location independent, occasional digital nomads and, quite frankly, we are living the good life! Reflecting on my past twelve months I’ve worked from my office on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, as well as Waikiki, New Zealand, Tasmania, Sydney a couple of times, Hamilton Island and as I write this, Vanuatu. My office can be a balcony on a cruise ship or a veranda overlooking the beach. My clients continue to have all their work processed, wages paid, BAS lodged, payroll tax completed and Workcover reconciled.
Of course, as with most things, this doesn’t come without a lot of planning, but if this is your thing (and for most of us bookkeepers, it is) then you can run a successful bookkeeping business as you travel.
I have a few key things in place to allow me to work and travel. First up, client communication is vital. I use a “virtual receptionist” to take care of incoming phone calls, although there’s nothing virtual about the live person who answers my phone calls. I forward my calls to the Turnkey Receptionist when I’m cruising, on flights, out of the country or just too busy in my office. They are able to answer questions and email me the details of the calls thanks to some pre-set information I’ve given them. So, as I sit in Vanuatu working and overlooking the lagoon, I am receiving emails with details of each phone call, all handled with care, which I can respond to with a follow up email or phone call.
I also rely on cloud software to allow me to complete my work from any location. We use Xero accounting software for our clients. It’s perfect for any size business and allows me to stay on top of as aspects of my client’s business including payroll and single touch payroll. For document retrieval and storage, I can’t go past HubDoc. My clients snap photos with their phones, or forward bills by email. HubDoc also auto fetches from some suppliers. Teamed with Xero, it makes travelling a dream for both myself and, if they choose, my clients. Of course, I also use programs for for workflow management, digital signatures and time tracking.
With my receptionist in place to stay on top of the personal contact with clients, and cloud software being used across the business, we are truly able to operate from anywhere! Next stop is a cruise around New Zealand and in 2020 I'm spending time in Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Montenegro!