I started Ignite Spot ten years ago. I can't believe how many things have changed in this industry since then. I thought it would be fun to take a look back at 7 of the biggest shifts I've seen in outsourced bookkeeping services since then.
#1 - QuickBooks and the Accountant's Copy
When I first started this company, I remember having to install QuickBooks Desktop everywhere I went, and then asking all of my clients for an Accountant's Copy or a backup of their files.
I also spent a lot of time driving to my client's offices in order to get their accounting work done.
I remember going to office supply stores to buy copies of QuickBooks for my clients. Now, almost everyone is using QuickBooks Online which has made life so much easier.
#2 - 3 Firms to 6,000 Firms
There wasn't a lot of competition when I started Ignite Spot. Accountants were still working in their brick and mortar locations. When I left the CPA firm I was working for to start this company, the partners all thought I was nuts to try and be an outsourced firm.
During the first few years, there were only three other firms that showed up consistently in online searches for outsourced bookkeeping services.
That's not the case today. I recently went to QuickBooks Connect, Intuit's annual conference for Accountants and there were over 6,000 outsourced accountants in attendance. The competitive landscape has grown.
#3 - Software Designers
In the beginning, we were hired for our accounting expertise only. Now we're also hired to help clients make sense of all the software options available to them.
We have to be experts on the QuickBooks platform as well as Bill.com, T-Sheets, Gusto, and more. Sometimes it feels like we're software engineers.
#4 - Video Conferencing
Video conferencing did exist ten years ago, but it was expensive and unreliable. Today, we meet with all of our clients using face-to-face video conferencing and it's amazing. Tools like Zoom make it cheep and easy to have virtual relationships.
#5 - Automated Intelligence
The robots are on the way. Over the past two years, I've seen a huge push towards the use of automated intelligence in outsourced bookkeeping services.
I've meet with core developers behind these tools and am amazed at how efficient they're becoming. The world of accounting is about to change. You as the client will not be paying for your accountants to enter transactions, but instead to teach you on how to get more profitable.
#6 - The Fall of Big Firms
Large firms are beginning to enter the space of outsourced bookkeeping services which I find interesting. For example, KPMG is now in the game. I never thought firms of that size would try and enter this market, but they are.
#7 - Snail Mail
We used to use the mail for everything. Clients would send us their documents, we would enter them, and then we would mail them back with pre-paid envelopes. It used to look like a post office in here.
Now we see very little paper at Ignite Spot. The world of outsourced bookkeeping services has streamlined with tools like bill.com that make accounts payable and other paper-heavy processes 100% online.
So that's it. There have been some huge changes to the accounting industry over the past ten years. It's been an honor to be a part of it, and I'm excited to take Ignite Spot into the next ten years of growth and service.