Accounting Automation for Small Businesses
Wasting time on too many manual accounting processes? Struggling through inefficiencies and errors with even the most basic daily tasks? Add value to your business and save precious time by learning how to automate accounting.
If you spend way too much time mired in simple accounting functions, we recommend five essential adjustments to raise yourself out of the muck and gain an eagle’s-eye perspective of your processes. Trust us, the view from up here is way better.
1. Get the right accounting software
For businesses struggling with accounting, inadequate software is often at the root of the problem. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” accounting software – every organization has different needs. Important variables include your business size, financial complexity, and industry. If you are creating workarounds, doing a lot of consolidation or complex reporting in Excel, or using multiple instances of QuickBooks, you probably need new software. Given today’s technology, you should be able to see real-time metrics and have the power to make better decisions more quickly than the competition.
2. Utilize a credit card expense reporting tool
If you’ve ever had to deal with expense reports, you know that getting receipts from employees can be the grown-up equivalent of trying to get a pre-teen to clean their room. There’s good news, though! These days, there are many expense reporting tools available on the market that dramatically simplify the process by allowing receipts to be captured and submitted using the camera on your phone. These systems allow the submission, coding, and approval to all be done using a mobile app. This saves a lot of time and effort, and ensures transactions are correct and coded by the time they reach your accounting system.
3. Automate accounts payable
Just like getting a good expense reporting tool, finding the tools to automate your accounts payable will revolutionize the A/P process for your business. With modern A/P tools, invoices can be captured via email, scan, or camera, routed to the right approver, coded and approved, and then submitted for payment—with all of this being possible from your smartphone! Needless to say, this dramatically increases efficiency, eliminates the need to maintain paper copies, provides control to reduce the risk of theft or fraud, and creates an audit trail. It’s also pretty affordable, especially when you consider how much time and effort you’ll save.
4. Integrate your systems
Once you have the appropriate technologies, one simple and powerful way to improve your accounting system is to integrate all of your systems. Most growing companies tend to start with more basic software, then gradually add on a tool here and there. This tends to result in using a lot of different tools to learn, maintain and use, such as:
• Financial management/accounting
• Point of sale
• Inventory management
• Expense reporting
• Bill payment
• Budgeting and forecasting
Using too many disparate systems forces your staff to do a lot of manual data entry, create complex workarounds, and fix errors to make data match up. Speaking of data, all those systems lead to data silos so you can’t get a single source of the truth about your business.
Integrating your systems might take a bit of work, but in the long run it’s definitely worth it. You will drastically reduce time spent entering data, minimize your chances for screw-ups, ensure consistency of data across all systems, and allow for real-time insight.
5. Maintain the right accounting staff
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of this. If your accounting processes are inefficient or error-prone, it’s usually a combination of inadequate technologies and inadequate accounting staff. Do you have a bookkeeper trying to do controller-level work? Are you using the same accounting staff as when you were 1/10th the size? Accounting is more complex than many people realize, and it takes the right level of expertise to execute on a daily basis and get the results that you want.
When you’re growing your business, accounting becomes more time-consuming and complex. If you’re struggling, you might need to upgrade your accounting software, your accounting staff—or both. An experienced accounting team gives you a serious competitive advantage by giving you real-time insight to drive revenue and reduce costs.
Remember, good accounting doesn’t just help you get by – it improves your business by providing the information you need to get the best results. Spending money on better accounting technologies and staff is an investment for the future of your business.
Not sure where to start or what you need for your business? Our CPAs and accounting experts can give you a fresh perspective on how to automate accounting processes and build your accounting dream team. Get in touch for a FREE assessment of your business.