Using Big Data To Build A Modern Bookkeeping Practice

Early in the year last year we built a CRM for Digit. Why you ask? That's a great question. Although there are many great options around to track client information, there were particular relationships in our data that were valuable for us to understand, and no other system could manage how we wanted.

You see, early on in our business we placed a premium on being able to understand exactly what was going on in the business. The information we wanted to track couldn't be done easily within other systems, or required complex integrations, so we built one. Being able to collect information, and through it make informed decisions, we were able to grow organically to a team of 12 in 18 months.

"The world is one big data problem." - Andrew McAfee

That's what the trend towards big data is all about. Big data in business is about collecting all the information you can about every facet of business, interpreting it, and using that information to make better decisions. The same way in which the work we do as bookkeepers enables business owners fresh insights into their financial management (and hopefully inspires them to make better decisions). But not just from an accounting standpoint, but sales, marketing, communications, human resources, operations, and everything weird and wonderful in-between.

"Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a voice." - Stephen Few

For us to be effective in scaling a bookkeeping business - there were certain things we needed to know. Here are a few, and why.

  1. How long between milestones in the BAS lodgement process We track the individual times between the close of a period, the preparation of the BAS, the acceptance by the client, the lodgement, and payment to the ATO. Per team member. Why? It helps us identify sticking points in the process. If a client consistently takes 3 weeks after the end of a quarter to close the period, we know we need to start the process sooner with them (or manage them). If a team member consistently takes too long between acceptance and lodgement - we know there are internal issues to address. Depending on which way you slice the data, it gives us insights in what we need to manage, when and why.


  2. The average time spend between replies This is a fun one. Through an integration with Office365 I can tell you the average time it takes us to reply to a client, and for a client to reply to us. This one is handy for the same reasons as above - it enables us to make decisions on trends related to how a client behaves, or whether there is a flag internally that needs following up. As a service business, communication and completion are our leading KPIs.


  3. The average conversion rate (and CLV) per sales pipeline  It's not just about operational analytics. We have 12 different sources of business within Digit. For each source we have a dashboard that shows us the stage of that client in the onboarding process, along with the conversion rate. It helps us understand which channels to nurture, and which are a waste of time.


Building a modern practice is about practicing what we preach with business owners. Just as Xero empowers owners through fresh insights into their financial information - using the data we have available to us enables us to build more effective, efficient, and empowered businesses.

If you're interested in learning more about what we do, or joining Digit as part of our team get in touch

Do you want to automate your business?

We can help you find the right technology to streamline your business and be more profitable

Learn how
xero experts
Andrew Erkins

A passion for technology and people inspired Andrew to co-found Digit. With a background in information systems, he loves business strategy and figuring out what makes things tick (and how it could tick better)

learn more

Do you want to automate your business?

We can help you find the right technology to streamline your business and be more profitable

Learn how

Recent thoughts