Why Automation Will Change the Way Your Firm Does Businessby
While your firm may experience some lost time due to entering and verifying information manually across multiple spreadsheets or accounts, so far, you've been able to handle it, right? Do you really need automation? The short answer is: Yes.
You must prepare for the future — today. Automation isn’t about replacing people with machines. It’s simply the next step in the accounting evolution. Automation is:
- Fast. It allows accountants to spend their time using data to create a value-focused firm.
- More accurate. No more transposition errors or other costly human errors. Automation is a cut-and-paste action rather than transposing.
- Reducing burnout. Less time spent on menial labor means getting home on time and putting your brainpower toward more rewarding problems.
- Being advisory. You don’t have to do day-to-day administrative tasks like recording entries, so you can focus on consulting with your clients.
- Scale. The ability to grow your firm without additional headcount just makes good business sense.
Automated solutions will make your valued team members happy. We’re not kidding. Automation will make your employees’ jobs easier so they can accomplish more every day.
Think about it like this: Would you expect your accountants to complete all their tasks without the aid of spreadsheets or calculators? Automation has become as essential to accounting as the abacus once was.
Applying Automation and Machine Learning (ML) in Accounting
Automation and ML can take on a number of the tasks currently handled by human beings, while simultaneously removing the inevitable human-error factor. The use of ML throughout the accounting industry has already demonstrated its potential to transform the way many accountants do business.
Customers already expect the benefits of automation from their accountants, including increased speed and accuracy, more customized recommendations and financial data analysis. They want these services and value them more than compliance, but how can you deliver if your accountants are too busy maintaining the GL?
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for accounting firms to be reliable and present for their clients in a digital, remote age. While some clients and firms have sprinted toward automation and the adoption of ML, those firms and clients that were dragging their feet, clinging to desktop QuickBooks aren’t anymore! They’ve all been pushed out of the nest and forced to modernize.
Right now, every CPA and accounting professional is poised to reap the benefits of automation and fundamental to this process is data validation. If you’re tired of squinting at spreadsheets and checking (and double-checking) to make sure that you’ve input the right numbers, it’s time to automate your data validation processes. Automation can go over information to make sure that it’s as accurate as possible, including:
- Ensuring sources of information match. Does the information in spreadsheet A match the information from Invoice B? Your system can check that information for you automatically, which means that your clients will always be working with accurate information.
- Checking sources against past reports. Is an invoice wildly different from the ones usually sent by that company? Does a payment fail to reflect the amount a specific company has paid in the past or the amount that the company usually pays for specific services?
- Confirming payments. From determining whether a client has made an important payment to checking on incoming payments, it can be tough to make sure nothing gets missed along the way. Automated bookkeeping software can keep up with payments and debits to all client accounts. The system can also automatically recalculate balances and keep track of expenses, making it easier to deliver insights into your clients’ spending and make suggestions that can improve their financial outcome.
- Augmenting manual tasks. Some tasks still require manual input, but that doesn’t mean you have to handle them entirely by yourself. Effective accounting and bookkeeping software can augment those processes, ensuring accuracy and speed.
Automation can’t replace all of the processes that accountants perform, and businesses are a long way away from being able to rely entirely on automation to take care of all those vital bookkeeping and accounting services. However, accountants are discovering that automation provides critical assistance to their business, reducing overall barriers to growth and preventing the likelihood of errors in their daily tasks.
While you have made it to 2020 without automation, the future of bookkeeping is now and it’s automated. Where are you in the accounting evolution?
Smart accountants are working now to figure out where automation fits in their practices. What seemed radical just a year ago will soon be commonplace in firms.
Stay tuned for more insights from Jody around automation, AI and bots in the accounting profession. Also, feel free to check out Botkeeper for Dummies, an introduction to the Botkeeper platform that outlines how CPAs and accounting firms can train a bot, learn examples of the kinds of opportunities they can uncover with bots and AI and how bots work with you.