How Automation Helps Bookkeeping Processes and Planning

For bookkeepers, ever-growing workloads and expectations are pushing the boundaries of what was once the ‘typical forty-hour week’. The question is – what can be done to reverse this trend? 

The answer, while far from revolutionary, is automation. Whichever software provider you look to, the core message will remain the same: accounting automation saves you and your firm time by helping you complete routine tasks much faster and more efficiently. That then leaves you with a little more breathing space, allowing you to allocate more time and energy to activities like billable advisory and planning. 

In this article, we’ll be assessing a handful of use cases where automation solves common problems for bookkeepers today. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of how automation can help your firm improve your current accounting workflow, rediscover more time for advisory work and free up your team for better planning. 

Problem: Spending too much time on manual data entry

Data entry is a slow, mundane task that eats up countless hours, particularly during tax season. There’s a whole load of information to sift through, then process, then check – and check again. To an outsider, manual data entry might seem a minor, somewhat straightforward task. In reality, though, it’s often a root cause of why bookkeepers and their teams end up working overtime. 

Solution: Automating data capture

There are a number of technological solutions that help accountants, bookkeepers and their clients automate this type of work. Dext Prepare allows clients to scan receipts and other financial paperwork using a mobile phone. Then, using Optical Recognition Technology (OCR), all the data you’d usually enter manually is extracted and processed within the platform, ready for you to use.

The accuracy of this technology also reduces the chance of error significantly, while removing the need for you to go over the data and check for anomalies. Again, this only saves you and your team hours of back-and-forth, manual admin, which you can then  redirect towards advisory work. 

Problem: Chasing clients to submit their financial data

Let’s face it, clients who submit their paperwork on time are a rare exception. As we’re sure you know, a lot of the time this can cause severe delays that affect how much work your team is able to carry out. It’s why so many bookkeepers spend a great deal of time chasing clients for documentation. That’s before they even think about how to categorise it. 

Solution: Automating client data collection

Again, automated accounting tools can free accountants and bookkeepers from this kind of  arduous work. By enabling clients to take pictures of their receipts, bills, invoices and more, these smart tools make everyone’s role much easier. 

Dext Commerce automatically collects client sales data from e-commerce and point-of-sale systems (POS). These types of solutions are ideal both for brick-and-mortar businesses and the ever-rising number of businesses that operate online. 

Once the data is extracted and loaded to cloud-based accounting software, it’s then categorised based on set routine behaviours. This not only simplifies otherwise complex processes, it also saves your team from going back and forth to ask clients for specific details.

As with all things automation, you can allocate the time you get back to more value-adding tasks. Many bookkeepers choose to focus on advisory work, while those who are managers will encourage their team to focus on their own development. It really is up to you and your firm. 

Problem: Repeating and re-checking work due to data errors

Duplicate invoices, overpayments and miscategorised expenses – there are many things that can go wrong with a company’s finances. With so many variables and potential errors, accuracy counts. That becomes all the more difficult when trying to check for those errors manually. And that’s before you even have to rework a tax filing or financial statement after finding an error. 

Solution: Using technology to do a pre-check before work begins

The good news is that cloud accounting capabilities stretch beyond that of automated financial data extraction alone. Dext Precision helps accountants and bookkeepers evaluate the quality of client data before any form of analysis and reporting. You can scan client data for duplicates and discrepancies, conflicting or missing categorisations, and other data errors. These can then be flagged for review and approval with the client. 

As you know, it’s essential that everything is correct and in order before you start this type of work. If it’s not, you risk wasting your own time and missing costly errors that have the potential to undermine both the work you deliver and your firm’s reputation.  

Catching errors in advance protects the client as well, as errors can attract the attention of auditors. And missing (or lost) expense receipts can result in companies missing out on deductions come tax season.

Do you need help implementing accounting automation in your firm? No problem – here’s a step-by-step guide with tips from cloud accounting specialists!

Seizing the benefits of bookkeeping automation

The benefits of automation for bookkeepers are far-reaching: fewer tedious tasks to manage, more time to spend on advisory work – and even greater client satisfaction. The bottom line, though, is this: time will always be a finite resource in bookkeeping. Anything that saves time or  creates more of it should be taken very seriously. 

Whether you’re chasing clients for paperwork, entering data or checking that data for errors, automation is a welcome, time-saving addition to a bookkeeper’s toolkit. Want to have more time to spend on generating revenue, building better client relationships or developing your team? The key to all of that is automation. 

If you’d like to find out more about this kind of technology, we’d love to hear from you. We have three products designed to help you automate routine tasks, across the pre-accounting cycle. Book a demo below to learn more. 

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