The ICB Annual Survey is commissioned each year to gain insight into the bookkeeping industry and the successes and challenges that bookkeepers and the bookkeeping industry face – here’s an excerpt:
In line with prior year surveys (54%) of bookkeepers have 15 clients or less, however (24%) now have 30+ clients as compared to (21%) in 2009.
(82%) of respondents have remote access to their clients.
(87%) of respondents are using an engagement letter in some capacity, however less than half respondents (46%) are using them always. This leaves a significant number of bookkeepers at risk of being exposed in the event that there is a dispute over services and or fees.
Word of mouth referrals, particularly those from existing clients, are still the most effective method of attracting new clients. As is consistent with prior years, (14%) of respondents say that they attract new clients via software partner searches and partner programs.
Consistently (61%) of respondent still bill their clients offering 7 day payment terms, and consistent with last year (46%) of respondents say that hourly rate is still their preferred billing method, followed by a combination of fixed fees and hourly rates (28%).
(64%) of respondents are telling us that they are still taking on more clients. Interestingly of those respondents that are not taking on more clients (38%) have been in business for between 8-15 years, (83%) are happy with the financial return of their business, (64%) spend less than 5 hours on their own administration and (30%) have less than 5 clients.
Of those respondents that bill clients for their software subscriptions (44%) bill their clients monthly, however (35%) indicate that billing a client for software subscriptions is not part of their responsibility. Interestingly when it comes to utilising digital signing software (45%) of respondents are not using any at all. (40%) of respondents are using electronic signing in Xero, Adobe & GovReports.
When it comes to managing the business registration details of clients, (47%) of respondents don’t make or maintain updates and changes to ABN details. Of those respondents who do (98%) make the required updates within the regulatory 28 day period and 70% make them online.
We will be publishing further extracts from the survey in the following Newsletter editions, however you can see the full report here.