Being a great bookkeeper isn’t solely about being focused on numbers, data, and details.
While these are all crucial, you’ll also likely need to become knowledgeable about the industries you serve. This could be a single industry where you might be an expert or a handful where you’ll have a decent understanding of each of them.
One industry that is surprisingly underserved by bookkeepers is manufacturing. While it is inarguably one of the most important industries in the world, there are fewer manufacturing-specialized bookkeepers than you might expect. And with the growing wave of industries moving their data and operations into cloud-based systems, there is an opportunity for bookkeepers to step in and offer their services and expertise at a moment when they are needed.
Here, then, are five potential benefits of having a manufacturing niche as a bookkeeper:
Increase your billable rate and hours
If knowledge is power, in this case, power converts into money. Bringing insight into your client’s industry immediately makes you an asset. If you also have a good understanding of the tools and software they already use then there’s no time wasted on training yourself before getting into the work.
Modern manufacturers will likely use software internally for material and inventory tracking, task assignments, stocktakes, and other necessary process-related functions. However, if they’re not using a cumbersome ‘business suite’, they’ll likely have separate software for accounting and bookkeeping, and this is where you’ll come in.
A good knowledge of the most popular software on the market – QuickBooks and Xero, will stand you in good stead, but also a knowledge of how these integrate with various manufacturing providers will be a big bonus. And if you can help with implementation, you’re immediately more valuable to your client.
Build stronger client relationships
Another major impact of industry expertise is increased understanding between yourself and a client, building trust through a shared appreciation of the daily challenges they can face. There’s a lot of online material about the high-level processes involved in manufacturing and these should give you a good start if you’re seeking to learn about the industry and how products are made.
If you come into a meeting with a potential manufacturing client and you already understand the industry terminology, you’re starting off on the right foot and putting yourself in a great position to be a trusted partner.
Beyond industry terminology and information, there are also articles providing insight specifically into the differences of accounting for manufacturers and more garden-variety companies. This example from Katana gives a glimpse into the topics you can delve deeper into if you’re interested, including cost accounting, job costing, and inventory valuation.
Become an expert
Building your knowledge of manufacturing and ultimately working for clients within the field will raise your own personal expertise, and this is a valued commodity. This allows you to expand your manufacturing client base and advertise your services in a more targeted way to the industry.
For growing manufacturers, having access to advice from a trusted industry expert, particularly in financial matters, could help maintain the correct trajectory and find opportunities for cost optimization within their production process.
And at the other end of the scale, for already established companies and factories, you become an attractive option if they look to hire someone to assist with their books or replace an existing bookkeeper.
Add value to your client’s business
This value can be both metaphorical and real. Being a positive presence within a company is always welcome, but with financial know-how and knowledge about the industry itself you can help advise your clients on how to work smarter.
There’s usually a massive opportunity to bring more automation into manufacturing processes through software and potentially using physical technology. In a company’s early days, they may rely on spreadsheets and handwritten records, but as they grow, specialist tools can help relieve the burden on team members to do everything themselves.
Subscribing or paying for an ERP or a specialist manufacturing software can bring clarity to company data, including raw material and product inventory, making daily operations far simpler. It can also help manufacturers synchronize between their production, accounting, and sales providers, so their numbers stay up-to-date and there’s a lower risk of late orders or stock-outs.
With optimization comes saving, as automation may mean products are made faster, and there’s no risk of over-ordering materials, or ordering raw materials when the average cost becomes too high. It all ultimately leads to keeping your client in good financial health for the foreseeable future.
Earn recurring revenue
Bringing us back around to our first point, there’s also an opportunity for you to earn additional monthly income beyond the regular bookkeeping services you offer to manufacturers.
If your potential client is using manufacturing software, or even better, on the lookout for an option to replace spreadsheets and manual work, you can put forward the combined solution of Katana Cloud Manufacturing and QuickBooks Online.
On top of built-in inventory, production, and reporting features, Katana’s cloud manufacturing platform connects with the services manufacturers require, offering an end-to-end manufacturing solution without the bulk. It also integrates seamlessly and directly with QuickBooks Online, so production and financial data always remain in sync and details can never be overlooked.
And if you become a partner of Katana, you’ll earn additional monthly income as part of the revenue share deal we offer.