Accounting Automation in 2022: The Ultimate Guide

Accounting Automation

How can Accounting teams be enabled enough to achieve success during remote work?

Here’s what Deloitte had to say about this problem:

“45% of business executives have begun to recognize how accounting automation is bringing about happier and more productive employees even with remote work.”

But as a business owner, you’d often wonder where do I begin? The first step here is to understand the importance of finance automation software. By thinning out the physical distance between your teams, automation tools seamlessly enable better collaboration for the timely completion of tasks. 

The following article will elaborate on everything you’d need to know about Accounting Automation – why you need it, how you can identify processes that need automation, and finally, what processes can be automated for you to reap maximum productivity. Let’s dig in!

 

Why do businesses need accounting automation?

Accounting and Finance employees are often under the common misconception that automation software is their enemy. They need to understand that the software isn’t coming after their jobs but to enable them to do their jobs better. 

For example, take any financial task that is mundane, time-consuming, and extremely laborious. Everyday tasks usually associated with these words are:

  • Manual data entry.

  • Back and forths with employees.

  • Data verification.

  • Secure storage of documents.

 

These low-priority tasks have little to no business impact. Yet, even then, your Accounting teams are often seen spending immense amounts of effort and time to maintain them.

This is precisely where an automation tool comes into the picture. Accounting teams can rely on these tools to do all the heavy lifting for them. This converts all of the previously described laborious tasks into single-click processes; thus, freeing up more time for your team, which they can dedicate to tasks that have high business impact.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, 37% of businesses have automated at least one critical business process. Out of this, 66% are planning to automate other critical processes to suit remote work better.” – Mckinsey

But then, how are they identifying these processes?

 

How can businesses identify which processes need to be automated?

  • Identify those processes that consume excessive amounts of time and labor but have no business impact.

  • Make a list of all the tasks which have become difficult for Accounting and Finance teams with remote work.

  • Identify processes where executives/managers lack insight and control.

  • Look into tasks where human intervention is causing a lack of accuracy.

 

The processes that you’ve noted down are probably the best start for your business. Additionally, now that you’ve learned how to identify broken processes, let’s look at the top accounting operations that would benefit from automation.

 

Primary accounting operations that can be improved from automation:

1. AP & AR Automation

  • Automating accounts payable and receivable dramatically reduces the dependence on human intervention while also freeing up cash flow.

  • All invoices can be generated, submitted, verified, approved, and paid within a single tool.

  • Finance teams don’t have to break their heads to find out whom they need to contact in case of pending payments, as the software will have the information readily available.

  • Managing documents becomes more straightforward, which makes audits an easy and compliant process.

  • With secure storage, Accountants can pull out all relevant material as and when requested by auditors. 

  • Limiting access to invoice approvals can protect your company from fraud by ensuring that only the right stakeholders involved in the process release payments.

 

2. Payroll Automation

  • Payroll automation takes over all the time-consuming tasks that were initially done by Finance teams.

  • Every type of employee payment – salaries, raises, commissions, overtime charges, bonuses, deductions, hourly wages, are all calculated in seconds by the software.

  • Its a rule of the IRS that all employment tax records need to be stored for up to 4 years. The software provides you with a secure means to achieve just that.

  • The software can automatically add and approve new employees to the payroll. Additionally, all approvers are notified personally when they are in need.


3. Expense Management automation

  • An expense management software allows your Accounting teams to seamlessly collaborate by giving them centralized control and access to all your expense data.

  • The software enables employees to effortlessly submit and track their business expenses from applications they use every day like Slack, G-Suite, Outlook, Whatsapp, etc.

  • An expense report software comes with Optical Character Recognition which lets employees take pictures of their receipts. The software then extracts all relevant data and auto-populates all relevant fields in expense reports; thus, eliminating human errors.

  • The real-time policy engine efficiently enforces compliance easily by automating pre-submission checks. This means your Accounting and Finance teams no longer need to spend endless hours verifying individual reports.

  • The expense software dashboard provides real-time information on data across the company regarding expenses, department-wise spends and policy violations. This provides business leaders with enough information to make better business decisions.

 

Conclusion

As an SME owner, if you’re looking to maximize your accounting and Finance team’s productivity, you can see how accounting automation can lead the way. Automation already does and will forever continue to play the most pivotal element in aiding you to make critical business decisions in your organization’s future. 

Akeela Zahair
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