Business July 12, 2019 Last updated July 11th, 2019 179 Reads share

Follow These 7 Steps to Automate your Accounting Process

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Companies, who wish to stay competitive in the global platform, should not rely anymore on half-formed solutions for their accounting software. Accounting automation is a pivotal step for many companies and its broad impact can’t be underestimated. Accounting automation removes errors and redundancies, tackles inefficiency of paper and poor software systems, helps teams, save time & money, and opens up a door to a better and broader financial data.

This article will show you how you can adopt accounting automation without affecting your company’s financial processes.

These seven steps would give a boost to your current financial processes.

Step#1: Take Stocks of Contemporary Accounting Tools and Processes

Pain Points: Not just your accountants, but get in touch with every individual who is using your accounting software. A short survey is a quick and most effective way to track what is working and what is not. Thus, anyone who submits an expense report or uses the company’s card should pass true feedback on one’s own experience. Now, collect the surveys and sort them into various groups of similar issues, then save that list. And when you assess what additional automation functions your team would benefit from, this list would help you incredibly.

Tools: Secondly, create a list of every tool that brings a deep impact on your financial process. Your core system should come first, but any peripheral tool or software that you use should also be counted here. For instance, if you are using a ticketing software that is central to the way you process payments and needs to feed information into your ledger, note it. Separate tools that you could exchange, as well as those secondary tools that are important but impossible to be changed for the sake of accounting automation.

Process: And finally, to assess what is working and what could be improved, chart the process for how your accounting gets done. How basic daily decisions are taken? How an annual report is generated? What about recurring purchases? Building the path for your most-used processes will quickly surface where you find a good space and option for automation.

Step#2: Adopt a Core Accounting Software

For complete accounting automation, instead of Excel, you need to adopt a dedicated core software for accounting. Older versions of Excel are limiting collaboration, and the software isn’t cut out for the robust storage and team manipulation that finance professionals use. A number of corporations are moving away from Excel because employees spend more time trying to work on the data than analyzing insights.

A dedicated and accomplished accounting system makes it possible to upgrade your automation immediately. For instance, you can set up/re-set recurring invoices or expenses, you get more robust reporting options, and you can associate a fixed cost with a certain vendor purchase.

Analysis of Software

There are several crucial parameters that need to be considered while selecting from core accounting software:

  • Most software comes with similar basic features, but it is always worth looking at specific features where companies are more likely to differentiate.
  • The cost has always been an important question, and you need to search for something that fits your budget. The operating system of most software work on a scale system where you will be charged more depending upon the members in your team or specific features of the software.
  • Deep research on security features should be at a high priority. While it’s reasonable to expect that today’s most advanced accounting software is up to snuff, look for accreditations, read the fine print, and aim for multifactor authentication (MFA) options.
  • Look at potential automation integrations while you are poking around their website. Since the goal is to fully automate your processes, knowing that your core software will support APIs and other integrations is a considerable factor to make up-front.
  • Going through the reviews pertain to ‘user experience’ is the last major thing to investigate. If the software provides a trial version, grab this advantage but your own investigations are quite unavoidable as well. Ask for a rep to demonstrate the features or search out on YouTube tutorials to get a perfect idea for how the product truly performs when you have to do more than just entering data.

Step#3:   Let the Software go for an Adjustment Period after Migrating Your Data

Moving

Once you purchase a software that suits your budget and requirement the best, you need to transfer your data. Some accounting software offer services for the safest and quickest migration of your data, so don’t forget to check it or just ask for what options are available, instead of going about everything yourself. Then, outline a plan to determine what data is really important and how you would get them further.

Adjustment

Before moving towards further automation, you need to ensure that your finance team is fully ready to adjust with the core software. If you don’t set aside enough time to let your finance team know in-depth about this new platform, whereas, adding extra integrations for further automation may end in frustration and chaos.

The initial step is to formally onboard all the team members. Usually, SaaS companies will provide good support in switching over to a new system and a robust help library. Your software provider always wants you to be satisfied with their product, so reach out if you need any sort of additional support.

Then, let everyone take the time to get acquainted with the new system. Wait and watch for a few weeks before you add any additional software, integrations or processes into the mix. Your core team should feel confident while executing basic functions and problem-solving in the software before you decide to continue with it further.

Step#4:  Additional Automation should be Identified

The core software you choose is your base and it will allow you to utilize the best opportunities to build out an accounting automation suite for yourself. For this, you need to identify those opportunities that you have and can be used to additional pieces of software to remove your remaining major pain points.

Maybe for your accountants, difficulty with recurring expenses was a huge problem — one that you solved with your core software. But purchasing approval is driving your manager’s nuts, even with your new software. That’s the type of thing that you can further automate with additional tools.

Find out Additional Software

The most perfect place to begin the investigation for integrations is your core platform’s website. They are likely to have a list of applications that they integrate with. This will be a good option to get a feel for the offerings that are available.

Thereafter, you can branch out for looking at other tools on the basis of your special concerns.

  • Slack’s suite of finance apps would be preferred by teams who rely on Slack software.
  • Teamplay software would be preferred by teams who want to simplify expenses.
  • Klipfolio software would be the first choice for teams who want to integrate their finances with other major systems, such as, Google Analytics.
  • Zapier may be preferred by teams who want to create automation between two core platforms like Stripe and QuickBooks.

For additional automation that you are thinking to put into place, you need to investigate and consider many of such factors that may affect your core platform choice, like – price, users’ experience, and compatibility.

Step#5: Integrate and Test Additional Automation

When you identify more options for additional automation, you are required to integrate them and observe how efficiently they work. Block out a period of 15 days at least to have those in charge of the processes you are automating before rolling them out to the entire team.

In the testing process, you may see that some tools are not working as well as you thought or are not quite what you were looking for. This is also a great probability to pull/replace tools before the entire company or a department get adjusted to them.

Step#6: Changes Required for Communication Process

Even the most advanced and automated accounting software requires some human activities – usually spend the money. So, if your team is not using these tools properly, it is nothing more than the wastage of your precious money on software.

Set aside time to brief the whole organization on what has been changed and how does it affect them. Bring out a summarized overview of the tools and ensure that you are identifying where people can go to get answers for their questions — is a person in charge? Or, is there any help library?

Encourage your team to ask more questions publicly as they start to use your new tools. This will help everyone habituated of it and will minimize the number of questions on those in charge of the transition.

Step#7: Invigilate and Bloom

Now, when you have already set everything in the right place, it’s the time to let your tools roll. The catch is that prospering is not mandatorily a given. All you need to do is keeping a close eye on the following points –

  • How do your employees feel about the new system — do they see less of the pain points you identified in the first step?
  • The efficiency of your team — i.e., the duration that your finance team is spending on completing basic tasks V/s the duration that they are spending while doing more complex analysis.
  • Shifts in the quality of your data and the amount of time you spend fixing errors. For Instance – the quality should be going upwards, whereas, errors should be going downward.
  • Finding out of financial redundancies or inappropriate expenses.

Conclusion

Some benefits of accounting automation will appear immediately, but others may take time. It might not be reflected instantly as to how easier your quarterly report is going to be. Don’t jump to conclusions about your new software but undertake continuous monitoring to ensure that you’re reaping ample benefits out of your new system. Henceforth, following the above 7 steps will definitely help you automate your accounting process easily and effectively.

 

Kapil RANA

Kapil RANA

An entrepreneur, Kapil is a qualified CPA and Fellow Chartered Accountant, a first class management and law graduate, advance qualification in information systems. He is a kind of personality who keep on kindling and challenging the fire of knowledge, so that it does never vanish. Pursuing the same trait, Mr. Rana is all set for his new venture, ‘Doctorate in Business Administration. He is the founder of HostBooks, along with experience on strategic management, corporate development & structuring of multinational organizations. He resides in California (Bay Area) and spends his time off playing squash and debating service innovation, politics, sports and of course, corporate.

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