Go to any accounting industry conference (like Sage Summit at the end of this month!) and a common term and theme you will hear is Automation. Nowadays accountants are told to automate everything, and for good reason. Automation does several things: one, it saves time, reducing manual and duplicate data inputs; two, it reduces errors due to manual processes; and three, it frees resources to focus on other parts of the business.
Let’s look at a few examples.
By using an expense management system, like Expensify, you no longer have to collect and input by hand every receipt you collect on a business trip. Instead, by taking a photo of the receipt with your mobile app, it will read, archive, and enter the expenses in your QuickBooks (or whichever accounting software you use).
Or what about time tracking? There are all kinds of apps out there, like TSheets, to help your business or your client’s business manage employee time. With a mobile app, employee time can easily be tracked, invoiced, and emailed for payment. All of this is without human data input.
Accounting automation can also be found in document distribution. When you sell a product or service to another business, you must invoice them. The problem is that often clients don’t want all invoices sent the same way. Some want them emailed, while others want them mailed. With PrintBoss, an invoice created in QuickBooks can be sent to PrintBoss, and emailed and/or printed for mailing automatically. But that is not where the process ends. Invoices need to be archived. Simultaneously while PrintBoss is emailing and printing mail copies, it can also automatically save a PDF version to a designated location on a computer or server, or print an archive copy. All of this happens by simply clicking print in QuickBooks.
Accounting automation is the future. With more cloud apps available, it becomes easier and easier to connect business functions. Companies like Intuit are encouraging this ecosystem by creating cloud accounting systems like QuickBooks Online. It is not enough anymore to have a standalone product with a standalone feature. Now, applications must speak to one another and be able to perform tasks automatically.
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