Automation in digital bookkeeping will be the biggest trend in business this new financial year, according to the head of the Australia’s largest bookkeeping franchise, First Class Accounts.

Clive Barrett, Executive Chairman of First Class AccountsClive Barrett, Executive Chairman of First Class Accounts, said his franchise had experienced 12 per cent growth in the past financial year, due in part to the company’s focus on new accounting technologies available on the market.

“The future of small business management lies in automation,” Clive said. “Our franchisees have embraced this new direction for bookkeeping and are encouraging clients to switch to automation as soon as they can. And their clients are rapidly reaping the benefits.”

While it may seem counter-intuitive for a bookkeeper to recommend technology that does their job, Clive believes it’s the way of the future.

“I see bookkeeping, as a profession, transitioning away from the traditional grunt work and focussing on more important aspects of the business like reporting and cash flow – things that can really make or break a business.”

Clive said the time-saving benefits of automation far outweigh the initial start-up costs, and allowed business managers to be more analytical with their finances and less process-driven.

“I see the bookkeepers of the future spending more time working on the business, and less time working in it,” Clive said. “They can devote more of their time on financial strategy, identifying ways to rein in costs and improve profitability.”

“Prospective franchisees understand the sense of this and they get excited about what the future holds for the industry. This enthusiasm positions a First Class Accounts franchise in a very positive light.”

According to Clive, new and prospective franchisees have been impressed with the company’s pro-active approach to new technologies and were readily embracing the future-forward ethos. He believes this has helped First Class Accounts attract new recruits.

“We indoctrinate our new franchisees into the benefits of a cloud-based digital environment right from the start by delivering training and support online,” Clive said. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback about our training webinars; you can log on anytime to access training which suits our strapped-for-time new business owners.”

This past financial year’s internal satisfaction survey conducted by First Class Accounts reported a very high satisfaction rate – between 70-80% – in areas such as training and technical support, marketing, business development and willingness to recommend; a result Clive finds very gratifying.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into creating a positive culture at First Class Accounts,” Clive said, “We’re very focussed on providing a highly supportive environment and building a strong brand that franchisees can hang their hat on. So it’s encouraging seeing that work delivering tangible results at a grass roots level.”

In the past financial year First Class Accounts, based on the Gold Coast, welcomed 30 new franchisees to the fold, surpassing their target of 28. The company now boasts over 180 franchises across the country.

“Most of our new franchisees come from metro locations however for the first time we’ve recruited in regions like Bathurst in New South Wales and Launceston in Tasmania,” Clive said, “Our strongholds are still the eastern states – Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria – however Western Australia is proving an area of strong growth for us.”

First Class Accounts is Australia’s largest financial support services franchise providing bookkeeping, finance and tax services. Visit  to find out more.