What kind of processes can accountants automate?

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Business News & Tips

How can accountants add value for clients by using automation?

New technologies are helping accountants to automate previously time-consuming processes and use less resources on procedures rooted in compliance. So, how should they use this newly reclaimed time to best serve their clients?

It’s a great opportunity to start new conversations, improve relationships and move towards a model that includes business advisory services alongside the more traditional ones.

Why should accountants offer advisory services to the businesses they work with?

 

‘A lot of accountants are people that have been there, their own business are essentially start-ups, they’ve run small businesses themselves and sold them successfully, or they’ve been Finance Directors of small businesses. They’ve got practical business experience and they want to advise people’
Ray Newman, Practice Web

 

As well as shaking off that old image of an accountant sifting through piles of paper receipts, there are some great reasons to start offering business advisory services to your clients:

  • You have a wealth of expertise to share. Many accountants have practical experience of owning and running businesses themselves.
  • You’ll help the businesses you work with become more successful, which is great for them and for you.
  • You’ll spend less time looking at what’s already happened, and more time helping businesses look to and plan for the future.
  • You can move away from a “once a year” relationship with clients and increase the number of touchpoints you have with them.

Deciding to use your time wisely to offer these advisory services doesn’t mean you’re no longer there to help with data processing and compliance, just that you’ll need some software to take care of that side of the business.

What kind of processes can accountants automate?

 

‘Why would you want to go back to wading through piles of receipts and bank statements, and that kind of once-a-year relationship where the only value provided is a confirmation of the tax bill?’
Georgi Rollings, Starfish Accounting

 

What kind of processes can accountants automate? Happily, the kind of processes that can be automated are the ones that many accountants find most time-consuming and tedious to do manually. These include:

Payroll services. Payroll software can be used to automatically calculate wages, pension payments and other deductions. Employees can submit timesheets online and access payslips, too, with bank transfers being made automatically to their accounts.

Receipts & expenses. Applications like Dext Prepare and Expensify allow users to upload receipts for instant reconciliation. Real-time expenses reports can then be produced.

Invoicing. With automated invoicing, invoices can be produced, stored and shared at the touch of a button. Some tools can recognise invoices and process them straight into your cloud accounting package.

Forecasting. Past data can be analysed and reports produced that help you assess cash flow, profitability and growth. This leaves you well placed to help businesses prepare for the future without spending too much time looking to the past.

What technology do we need to use automation?

 

‘New technology will improve the relationship between accountants and their clients in some very interesting and positive ways. The infrastructure, as long as it's secure and reliable, and allows data to be managed in a safe way, will allow for an advisor relationship to grow.’
Sonia Blizzard, Beaming

 

Many of the software options available to automate accounting tasks rely on cloud technology, but you may choose to host applications on your own servers on site or at a data centre. Whichever you choose, you’ll need to have in place infrastructure that can support it. This means fast and reliable connectivity is a must.

You’ll be sending, receiving and storing a lot of data, and it’s not just any data, accountants are in possession of some very sensitive information, so you’ll also want to be sure that it travels and is stored securely.

Accountants taking advantage of automation

By automating many repetitive compliance processes, accountants have more time to review client data and build insights for advisory services. Using insights from data analytics lets accountants offer real value to clients and help them to make better strategic decisions.

For our recent video series and report, “How can accountants benefit from technological change?”, we interviewed technologists and accounting experts from firms that use technology to their and their clients’ advantage. Watch them speak about their experiences with automation below, or download the report for access to all six videos in the series along with transcripts and summaries.

What kind of processes can accountants automate? Watch accounting experts on digital transformation

 

Download the report: “How can accountants benefit from technological change?”

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How we help accountants

  • What is the next chapter in digital in the accounting sector?
  • How can advisory services add value for clients?
  • How will real-time data change accounting?
  • What’s next in accounting technology?
  • Do accountants need to work in the office?
  • How should accountants respond to cyber crime?

Download our report, “How can accountants benefit from technological change?” to find out.

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