If there’s one thing that never changes about the modern industrial and informational age, it’s that everything changes all the time. While that may sound tongue-in-cheek, it’s an important principle that every business needs to pay attention to. Failing to adapt to changing conditions results in extinction. The profession and services surrounding bookkeeping are no exception. Many commentators talk about the impending technology-driven death of bookkeeping. But what does that actually mean?
The Pitfalls and Power of Specialization
In his book Time Enough for Love, a character created by author Robert D. Heinlein said this:
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
Frankly, we don’t know anyone that can do all that right now. But we also don’t know anyone who isn’t capable of learning each of those things to some degree. It’s a big list, but not impossible. We’re particularly interested in the part about balancing accounts. You can guess why.
Contrary to the claims of Heinlein’s character, though, our society depends on specialization. We began as rural hunter-gatherers. We each had to chip in everywhere to survive. Later we learned that we could increase the amount of food available by letting individuals focus on what they do best.
That led to cities full of specialists. Each perfected their trade and exchanged with others for what they needed. The industrial age of the past two-and-a-half centuries accelerated this prosperity. More people are now better off than ever before.
Is that enough now, though?
Tech Makes Life Simpler… Or Does It?
All the technology that powers modern life relies on intense human specialization to keep the lights on. In business, though, that specialization can be a huge cost.
In our profession, for example, cloud computing and new software have made it easy for businesses to do their own accounting, to a point. The day-to-day bookkeeping is increasingly automatic. If you don’t know how to use it, though, you have to hire someone else.
There are ways to reduce those costs. It’s something that we at SyncLedgers are experts at helping with. We provide outsourced bookkeeping services so you don’t have to worry about adding full-time in-house staff.
The Death of Bookkeeping? No Way!
This is also why the death of bookkeeping is not as close as some seem to think it is. A business owner may know how to balance the books, but not everyone has the time to do it. There are a million other things to worry about.
Even with smart automation of the accounting process, you still need a human to provide the software with the relevant data. And even the software won’t always know how to cut your tax burden!
We’re not worrying about some impending death of bookkeeping. We look forward to an exciting future where technology enables us to help more people, faster!