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How to automate your bookkeeping (successfully)

How to automate your bookkeeping (successfully)

Synopsis
4 Minute Read

Is there an easy way to automate your finances? Take it one step at a time, Shayne Dueck, National Leader, ease, says in this latest insight.

Partner and Business Advisor

Your business is growing and automating your accounting processes looks like a great option to boost your efficiency. A cloud-based, bookkeeping system can open up the time you need to move forward, while making sure you don’t fall behind on every-day tasks.

But where do you start? There are so many accounting points to consider, the process to automate them can be overwhelming.

Start simple

As with any project, the key to automating your finances is to tackle one thing at a time and build on your success. Automate one function first, rather than trying to automate your entire bookkeeping and accounting system at once.

The easiest place to start is by connecting your bank account feed to your accounting program. That way you can automate the entry of transactions going through your bank account, deposits and withdrawals or payments.

Step two is to create pre-determined rules so the program automatically codes transactions and the information flows automatically into your ledgers. Include rules that capture information such as sales taxes, instead of potentially backing into calculations for them.

Anything that happens on a regular basis can have rules created so the program learns to do the coding for you. Start with the transactions that are repetitive and always have the same outcome, such as rent, utilities, debt payments, and bank charges. The coding will start to push the information effectively into your payables module so you can start tying payments into your bank statement.

Build onto what’s happening in your bank statement when you start paying off those bills and watch the machine learning built into the automation program take charge. A good, well-set program will suggest what you should be coding for, based on habits of where you put data in the past.

Automation is all about creating data flow

With automation, transactional data starts flowing through the entire bookkeeping and accounting program as soon as it hits the system. So, instead of keying in repetitive transactions every time, the information is input automatically to a ledger, and linked into sub-ledgers.

An example would be when an automated bank statement lands in the system. It is then matched to the correct outstanding customer invoice, ensuring the payment is recognized and avoiding double billing or calling someone who has paid an invoice that wasn’t properly entered. This eliminates the need to manually cross reference the invoice to the payment in separate ledgers, because all that effectively happens within the programs.

MNP’s ease cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping system uses an approved, secure applications to flow in data to both your accounts payable and receivable programs. By working within the programs instead of having separate ones that don’t necessarily communicate, data moves smoothly between the systems, enabling templates to be set up correctly. Since ease is cloud-based, you can access the information real-time, when you need to, and from wherever you are.

Volume vs complexity

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to automating your financial tasks, complexity does. If your business has a small product offering but sells large volumes, an automated AP / AR system would free up time – a business owner’s most valuable commodity.

An automated system also can scale up – or down – easily, so you can liberate a finance team from mundane tasks to focus on more profitable ones, or work with a smaller team.

However, if you have many different or complex transactions that require some form of judgement, or the result of a transaction isn’t pre-determined, like a standing order, it is more difficult to automate. For example, if an invoice is expensed 50 percent of the time, but capitalized the other half, it’s not a good candidate for automation.

Be open to change

Part of the process involved in automating your financials is being open and willing to evaluate your current process. This includes reviewing how the bookkeeping and accounting is done, who the information is sent to and when, to make sure it’s efficient and effective.

If your process is inefficient, automating won’t solve your problems. Technology can speed up a process by reducing the time-investment factor and works best when it is applied to a good process.

You can set up an automation program on your own. However, knowing if it can be set up on your system and / or setting one up correctly requires a certain level of expertise and experience. A reputable third party can bring the knowledge and time commitment needed to align processes and set up a system in a way that works for your business.

Saving time takes time

Because no two businesses run the same, it takes time to adjust items within a business’ accounting and bookkeeping processes or tweak them. Managing change, setting up rules for coding and getting the program to learn the codes takes three to six months for automation to become fully functional.

But the bottom line is time is valuable. For most business owners, it is the most valuable commodity you have. The whole purpose of automating processes is to give you more time to focus on things that can’t be automated, like building your business, or spending more time doing other things you love.

Contact us

For more information, contact Shayne Dueck, National Leader, Client Accounting and Bookkeeping Services, at 306.664.8315 or [email protected]

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