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Why Automation is the Future of Small Business Accounting

Automation.

Maybe it makes you nervous. Maybe you’re a bit skeptical. Maybe you use some automation in your business, but you haven’t explored it for your accounting yet.

Nevertheless, automation is here to stay. But the good news is that you can make automation work for you – especially with business finances.

 

Why Automation?

Many small business owners find themselves wearing “all the hats” when it comes to running their day-to-day operations.  The unfortunate reality is that many business duties take greater priority over the company’s accounting.

Often, small business owners tend to run their business accounting from their bank account app on their smartphone and not from what’s in their accounting software. And the software, unfortunately, tends to be not as updated.

The problem with this is that often, the bank balance does not show the real financial picture.  For example, a company may have outstanding checks or payments that have yet to clear the bank account.

Thankfully, through today’s accounting technology, we have come a long way. Through automation, we can now record accounting transactions much more efficiently, in real time.  The best part is this can all be done securely in the Cloud.

Automation can help you not only have a true picture of your business finances, but also eliminate mundane or repetitive tasks from the daily workflow. This thus frees up your employees’ time so they can focus more important aspects of their jobs.

KPMG Principal Claudia Saran explains it best in an article by Accounting Today’s Ranica Arrowsmith when she states:

“Smart organizations are working with employees to alter their perception of technology — to think of it as a colleague that allows you to focus on more interesting and value-added work…. You can do more, you can be more productive, and you can use the power of these technologies to get a jump on the competition.”

 

How Automation Helps Small Businesses with their Accounting: 2 Tools   

Many banks today have the capability to automatically download transactions right into their accounting software.  As the transactions are posted, the software will assign the proper income or expense account based on how the previous transactions were entered.

Like this banking technology, credit card companies also have automated entering of transactions into accounting software.

Expensify

At APTUS, for example, we use Expensify, a software suite that automates every step of the expense reporting process. With Expensify, we manage our clients’ expenses that primarily consist of credit card transactions.

Expensify translates all of those transactions and receipts into a paperless format which captures all relevant data.

After uploading a photo of a credit card receipt, Expensify’s Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology scans the receipt and automatically prefills in information for you.

The time this process saves is exponential. Think of the past, when you had stacks of receipts, had to input them onto a spreadsheet or a form, and then turn them into someone to get reimbursed….

It’s almost laughable how easy Expensify makes the whole process.

Bill.com

When it comes to paying the bills, there have also been technology advances.  Bills can be electronically scanned or brought over from an email received and integrated with the accounting software.

Some bill payment software options can read the receipt or bill and automatically enter the information into an accounting system.

Here’s where another great tool in our toolbox comes into play: Bill.com. We use this smart technology specifically to simply our clients’ business payments.

Our clients upload their bills into this software, and this information is then sent to us.  We receive a real-time notification stating that all of the bills have been uploaded. Akin to Expensify, our clients save valuable time, money, and resources with Bill.com.

Like Expensify, everything is completely paperless. No more headaches. No more checks. No more manual processes.

Their vendors can be paid electronically through that system if the client chooses to, or Bill.com will cut checks and send checks to that vendor in the mail if they want to.

All bills are paid on time. You don’t have to worry about how long the mail will take. In fact, our clients can literally pay their bills from the beach if they wanted to just by using their smartphone.

These and other solutions speed up the accounting process and allow companies to see their total financial picture far more quickly than before.

 

Conclusion

Since many business transactions are processed electronically, money is moving faster than ever. Consequently, managing the business cash flow has become much more challenging.

Therefore, having accounting transactions recorded in real time can help you better understand your cash flow and in turn, make better financial business decisions.

While it certainly helps to see the bank balance online, businesses should leverage the accounting technology and capabilities we have today to get better financial information and to better manage cash flow.

Because in today’s world, it’s all about cash.