Bookkeepers are the SMB CIO (Chief Information Officer)
Chief Information Officer sounds like a big title. The definition of this important role is an essential part of any business that utilizes technology and data. Most small businesses I know rely on these two key roles.
However, they never equate the CIO = Bookkeeper. The positions seem worlds apart but are they?
In the past the bookkeeper had the job of recommending, installing and training the small business on the newest desktop software. Two key factors were to help the business owner maintain the financial functions of the day to day operations, receiving income and tracking expenses. Software selection was as easy as a new version of the old system was updated and now needed to be recommended, installed and train the staff.
Today's bookkeeper is similar in the role of advising the software, no installation required (cloud based) and educating the business owners. The difference now is that data; software updates move at lightening paces. Months and sometimes weeks of latest updates are happening to make the training position a pivotal role in the bookkeeper lives.
I recently read an article about Intuit CIO Atticus Tysen and how he revamped the IT department withing Intuit. The article talked about the difficulty in moving from legacy software to scaling in new software while still supporting the primary business functions. If we shift this mindset to a small business owner, then you can see how disrupting business for one day is detrimental.
The biggest takeaway from this article is that keeping in mind the business aspect (money and KPI's ) and viewing the benefits of the IT implementation to create a competitive advantage with minimal disruption.
In a large company, this is difficult as there are many people involved and most IT individuals do not have a business background. Bookkeepers EXCEL in this position! Most bookkeepers have the business experience and understand the financials. Additionally, bookkeepers deal with technology every day and have the oversight to figure out if the software will benefit or harm the company. A huge win for bookkeepers because we have the ability to see the impact faster and understand the implications for the small business.
The bookkeeper is on the ground creating goals and plans with the firm owner. What a perfect way to integrate the purposes of the technology to meet the aims of the business. Additionally, the ability to set in KPI's, budget and feedback to determine if the goals are being met by the changes.
When the company believes that part of the outcome is to incorporate technology and data as a part of the daily routine, the bookkeeper becomes a more relevant piece of that business. Collaboration becomes stronger for the business owner and the bookkeeper to work on setting goals and choose visions that will generate a future successful small business.
Next time you sit down to evaluate your engagement letter or your role within a small business thinks about the value you bring as the CIO to that small business. I believe your championing of this position will impact a positive value for you and the small business.