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Where Do I Start With Automating My Accounting Processes?

Written on May 18, 2022

Automating Accounting Processes

                               (StockSnap / pixabay)

Automating your accounting processes is one of the best decisions you can make. With accountants in short supply, you might find yourself busier than ever at work. To get back on solid footing, you need to offload routine tasks and devote more time to jobs that require increased focus and critical thinking. Automation can do that for you. Plus, automation cuts the risk of human error, and the technology has never been more economical than it is right now–it’s no longer only for large corporations.

Motivated to embrace automation? Here’s where to start:

Risk vs. Reward

Think about the routine tasks you or your employees perform daily, weekly, and monthly. What technology would allow you and your team to transcend the demands of mundane tasks and soar to new heights? What jobs are you comfortable letting artificial intelligence take over? How would you control the software? Where would it make sense to have a bot complete these tasks versus hiring additional help?

As you would with any investment, consider the benefits compared to the risks of automating parts of your business. A poorly constructed and implemented plan for robotic process automation (RPA) will cost you money, time, and morale. So, before you jump in feet first, think of small ways to automate and then build on to that once you and your employees have mastered the former.

9 Key Automation Areas

Wondering what to automate in your accounting processes? We have recommendations! The ideas below are based on available technology and what other businesses are doing to integrate automation.

Expenses/Accounts Payable/Payroll/Bills

If you have to pay for it, software exists to help you handle it.

Make manual entry a thing of the past. Easily create expense reports by taking a picture of receipts or emailing electronic copies and uploading them to a cloud-based app..

You can also automatically deduct and submit taxes without manually figuring out net income and proper tax payments, and set up your software to cut checks for you.

General Ledger

Cloud accounting software (that is, software that runs via the internet instead of being installed on a personal computer) will allow you a more seamless transition into automated accounting. You will be able to plug data from your cloud ledger into other accounting software effortlessly for collaborative ease.

Advisory Services

Scale your advisory services with technology that allows employees at any level to perform these tasks without heavily relying on senior-level staff.

Month-End Closing

Periodically scanning the books for unreconciled or duplicate entries is time-consuming and prone to human error. Have software complete the task faster, more accurately, and more often.

Journal Entry Adjustments

The variety of schedules and adjustments produced for loans, accruals, deferred revenue, prepayments, fixed assets, and depreciation can be automated with ease and save you and your employees time.

Cash Flow Projections

Break free from manually producing cash flow forecasts via Excel spreadsheets with software that can complete the process for short-term (90 days) models.

Financial Models

Need data on past financial reports, upcoming sales, or salary information? Check out artificial intelligence (AI) that can instantly give you the information you’re looking for.

Risk Management

With technology on your side, you can analyze large amounts of data points instead of sampling. This allows you to efficiently and accurately spot potential issues.

Predict Taxes

Protect yourself or your clients in ambiguous tax law cases with automation. You can do this by relying on software that helps you make the best decision when determining what to pay is not so obvious.

Key Automation Software

Now that you have an idea of how to make AI work for you, you might be left wondering, “What’s the best software?”

And you probably expected this very general, legally-unbound answer: “Every situation is unique. Use what’s best for you.”

Well, you weren’t wrong. BUT, we do have some recommendations. Here’s a list of well-reviewed software options for accountants. As always, do your research before jumping into anything.

Automation Software for Accountants

  • QuickBooks Online
  • Xero
  • Wave (free)
  • FreshBooks
  • Hubdoc
  • Dext
  • Gusto
  • Rippling
  • OnPay
  • Payroll4Free
  • Bill.com
  • CorpayOne
  • Routable
  • Workiva
  • OneStream Platform
  • Facta
  • Fathom
  • Float
  • Helm/Veem
  • Clarity
  • Jirav
  • MindBridge
  • BlueJLegal
  •  
  • Automation to Innovation

    Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an accounting trend that can catapult your firm or career to the next level. When you integrate RPA into your daily routines, you’ll have more time to focus on tasks involving critical thinking, creativity, and innovation instead of mundane duties.

    RPA can also give you greater freedom to pursue additional education and develop skills that make you more valuable to your team. Want to keep up with best practices and accounting trends–including the latest in accounting automation? Visit The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA) to take advantage of continuing education accounting courses on this topic and more.