A beginners’ guide to automated accounting
Accounting has well and truly gone digital. The days of laboriously entering figures into a leather-bound book, or stuffing hundreds of tatty receipts into a plastic bag, ready to hand straight over to the accountant have disappeared in favour of a more streamlined, online approach. Automated accountancy offers many advantages in this fast-paced world, including increased accuracy, easier administration and access to real-time information and analysis.
Automated accounting offers particular benefits when it comes to the accounts payable process and the end of year tax assessment period. Accountants can lay their hands on the figures they need almost instantly and the tatty paper receipts can be replaced with electronic records, scanned in, organised and ready to be submitted.
Receipt and financial paperwork scanning software, such as Receipt Bank for small businesses, helps simplify the process further, as it has the capability to identify the relevant information on the receipts that have been scanned in, extract it and then present it in a user-friendly way that makes it much easier to work with.
Why choose automated accounting?
Quite apart from the easier access that digital receipt storage can offer, opting for an automated accountancy approach makes the whole process quicker, more efficient and offers a higher degree of accuracy, thanks to automatic calculating tools that replace the user’s own mental maths abilities. While there is still much work to be done to turn the entire accountancy sector digital, those firms that are leading the way are seeing huge benefits when it comes to working with HMRC and being able to offer full visibility and accountability to their clients and senior management.
Fans of automation are positioning themselves as leaders in the field and innovators who are not afraid to grasp hold of the latest developments in online technology. After all, accountancy as a profession is very process-driven, so any firm that can find ways of delegating the more time-consuming processes to a machine can free up time to plan their future and grow.
How can you automate your accounting function?
There are many ways to automate your accounting processes, no matter what size your business may be. There are many accountancy software programmes out there that let you record income and expenditure, make financial forecasts, make, track and update budget targets and calculate your likely tax obligations.
However, the automation needn’t stop there. Scanning software like Receipt Bank for small businesses helps to keep all your receipts in one place so that they don’t go missing when you need to submit them, can be organised automatically for easy analysis and accessed remotely by whoever needs to use them. Other areas include linking credit cards and supplier account details directly to your own bank accounts for easier transactions, as well as tracking payments online and uploading PDF versions of suppliers’ bills to your accounting package to remove the need to keep endless hard copies in dust-gathering folders on your desk.
Will automation replace human accountants?
While the so-called ‘rise of the machine’ is causing alarm in some areas of commerce, it is highly unlikely that automation will fully replace the human accountant. For one thing, it can take over the more monotonous areas of the job, such as data entry or complicated tax calculations, leaving people free to think more imaginatively about their work and create opportunities for new business, company growth and personal development.
As tax compliance and regulation evolves and changes over time in response to world affairs, there will always be the need for human brains to realign the automated algorithms to keep track. Plus, we still need to have access to the brains behind the automation for when things inevitably go wrong.
Automated accounting in the future
Automation is increasing across most commercial sectors. A shift in the way we work reflects this new focus, for example in the numbers of people who work remotely, using laptops and cloud-based software to keep in touch with their team and report back the results of their work to their bosses. We are no longer chained to our desks, and automated accounting helps free us up even further.
A busier lifestyle means that we have less time to carry out complicated admin too, for example retaining and filing receipts for expense claims and tax purposes. Scanning software like Receipt Bank is easy to access on our smart phones when we are out and about. In addition, it is far more convenient to ‘bank’ our receipts electronically by scanning them in as soon as they are handed over to us. As people grow more comfortable with the heightened presence of automation in their lives, the sky really can be the limit when it comes to ways of speeding up laborious jobs such as data entry and freeing up our minds to work towards more meaningful business goals. Electronic storage allows almost limitless ‘paper trails’ that will help us keep track of our business activity far more effectively and to retrieve the data we need more efficiently with far less hassle all round.