Automation is the delegation of the human control function to a machine and in accounting, automation is the delegation of human control function software.
With this definition in mind, let us look at how to identify automation opportunities in your accounting practice.
It's Not Just About the Software
One of the myths around automation in accounting is that automation originates from the software. Yes, automation does get facilitated by software. But it does not necessarily always originate from the software. It is more about your work processes, both internal and external and combining those with the software defines the levels of automation at your end.
Review your work processes to identify the process steps handled by humans. Then find out whether such steps involve data/information or physical things e.g. paper. If it involves data/information, you have opportunities to automate further.
If Your Staff Enter Data, You Have Automation Opportunities
Cloud, internet technologies, and the accounting software have evolved tremendously over the years. Efficiency gains possible now were hard to even imagine a decade ago. “Computerization” or “digitization” of your accounting processes may have made you feel like the firm of the future. But that is just not enough anymore.
If your staff enters data in any process steps, you have automation opportunities. To find these automation opportunities, figure out the following:
1. Does my staff take information from a source document in paper / electronic (pdf/email) form and enter it into a software?
2. Is my staff entering data to enrich/add to the part of the transaction data already created, either by some other staff of the firm or by someone else (client, a vendor of the client, customer of the client, bank, etc.)?
3. Is my staff downloading the data from somewhere to restructure/reformat it, and then importing into a software?