Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

Why do we take our car to the mechanic?

A car needs servicing every 10–15,000 kms. It needs to be kept safe and roadworthy…

When there is a noise in the engine we have a few options:

  1. we can Google troubleshooting tips for “noise in the engine”, read, interpret, try to fix, read again, try again…

    We can invest time and effort endeavouring to learn knowledge and skills that we don't normally have.


  2. we can engage with an expert who knows what to listen for, where to look, what to do, and how to fix it.

There are instructions from our mechanic that we should follow to ensure our car keeps running, and we don't cause more trouble than we should: water, petrol, air in the tyres. While we rely on the mechanic to be the expert, and to do the technical specialised things to the car, we have a role in keeping the car moving.

Why a Business Should Engage with a Bookkeeper

The mechanic – who is the expert in working with our car – is also the mechanic who needs expertise to keep their business healthy and compliant. The mechanic could endeavour to spend the extra time recording the sale, applying the right GST, issuing a compliant invoice and keeping the business records as required. Alternatively, they could work with a Business Systems expert (‘The Bookkeeper’) who helps implement and maintain an automated IT-based business system to conduct the business, record the sale, apply the GST, issue a compliant tax invoice, and maintain all the records in a form that helps all the respective compliance forms to be completed efficiently and effectively.

The mechanic has the choice of spending more time utilising their expertise being a mechanic, and therefore deriving more income using their chosen and preferred skills, or sacrificing that income and spending too much of their time performing tasks in which they aren't skilled.

The plumber knows where to tap.

Our challenge is to make a bookkeeper's expertise perceived or presented as adding value, akin to other trades or knowledge-based professions.

The stories and analogies abound like the mechanic who is called into a major factory to fix the machine in the production facility. The fee negotiated in advance was $10,000. The mechanic attends the factory, performs some preliminary observations and tests, takes out the hammer, taps one pipe and the problem is solved. When the owner complains, the mechanic's simple answer is that while it took only seconds to tap the pipe, it took years of experience and significant knowledge to know which pipe to tap with which hammer.

Similarly, a Bookkeeper has the experience, the knowledge, the product/solution expertise to assess and interpret the business circumstances, to recommend and implement an effective solution and then to manage and utilise the solutions to ensure the effective and compliant record keeping and reporting.

The Bookkeeper knows where to look and how to report

Building Relationships While Emphasising Your Value Contribution

Successful selling involves:

  • developing relationships with people
  • discovering their needs
  • matching your products and services to these needs
  • communicating the benefits of buying your products and services.

Skills such as effective communication and product knowledge give you confidence in your ability to sell, which will make your customers more likely to buy your products and services. Most importantly, you need to emphasize value contributions, and not just the cost of your service. How are you helping your client reduce their expenses in terms of compliance time? What is the benefit to them of being able to focus on business and not on their bookkeeping?


  • Updated: 27th August, 2018