7 Signs You Should Automate Your Accounting Right Now
Whether or not you’re willing to admit it, you WILL BE IMPACTED BY AUTOMATION! It’s inevitable. Technology does not look backwards. It’s here to stay, so don’t delay you should start today.
Automation is transforming the business landscape, streamlining operations, reducing human error, and enhancing efficiency. Accounting, often marked by routine tasks and high levels of data processing, is an ideal field for automation.
Accounting automation in today’s world includes applying bots (aka robotics process automation “RPA”), leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning, and using the latest data analytics tools in your accounting cycle workflows. There is a high likelihood that some piece of your accounting processes can be automated or supported by these technologies. The question becomes how much time, money, and headache will it save you, your team, and your organization if you choose to automate?
By integrating cutting-edge technologies, companies can streamline several steps in their accounting cycles to support their team and free-up brain energy of their employees so they can focus on what really matters, like reviewing and analyzing financial data, identifying process improvements, and reporting financials faster with less risk of errors and deeper insights.
Here are 7 signs that your company can benefit from accounting automation today:
Overworked Staff. If your current staff is consistently working overtime, then you may benefit from accounting automation. Overwhelmed staff due to long hours over an extended period of time due to the volume of manual work leads to burnout, decreased productivity, and risk of errors. Implementing automation can relieve your employees of mundane and repetitive tasks, reducing the need for overtime and creating a healthier work environment. Moreover, with less mundane work to handle, employees can focus their true brain energy on tasks that require human ingenuity, critical thinking, judgement, and other human-based skills that technology is not ready to handle today. This fosters a more engaging and fulfilling work environment.
Manual Processing. If your staff is still downloading and reading vendor bills from an email, inputting data into an ERP or other accounting systems, and emailing back-and-forth with the vendor, then you can benefit from simple automation. For example, a backend bot can be used to open an email from a vendor, download the attachment, read the vendor bill (through OCR), input the bill information into the accounting system, and reply to the vendor in literally seconds (at least under a minute). This saves the human several minutes per bill processed, reduces the risk of manual errors, and the bot can run 24/7/365 (bots don’t need sleep!). Imagine your AP clerk logging on in the morning to find that all vendor bills have already been processed in the accounting system. Wouldn’t that be amazing? The AP clerk can focus on reviewing the outcomes of the bot rather than spending time manually inputting information. That’s powerful! The human becomes more useful as a reviewer of the data and can place their attention on more important matters like financial analysis, process improvements, and other company initiatives. By automating these transactions, you can drastically reduce processing time and enhance accuracy. RPA tools can also reconcile accounts much faster and with more precision than humans.
Growing Company. If your company is growing, then so are your accounting needs and you may benefit from accounting automation. Accounting automation technologies are scalable. A bot and A.I. can process thousands of standard, routine, repetitive transactions in minutes at relatively the same cost or at least a minimal increase in cost, whereas a team of humans typically takes days and can be expensive.
Frequent Errors. If you're frequently finding errors that need to be fixed before publishing financials, automation can be an effective solution. AI and ML algorithms can cross-verify data, detect anomalies, and flag potential errors in real time. This not only reduces the chances of publishing erroneous financial statements but also saves the time spent on error detection and correction.
Actively Recruiting. If you have job openings for accounting staff, instead of spending significant money and time on recruiting, onboarding, and the hope that the new hire turns out to be all you hope they would be through interviewing (because there are a lot of good interviewers and BS-ers out there!), consider accounting automation and repurposing your current staff with the time saved through automating manual tasks and processes. Automating routine tasks can often perform the work of several clerks or entry-level associates at the same time and all the time, leading to significant cost savings. It's important to note that automation doesn't necessarily lead to job loss for current employees; instead, it frees them up to work on more strategic and meaningful tasks that cannot be automated.
Human Heavy. If you are overstaffed and have “too many cooks in the kitchen”, then you may benefit from accounting automation. Although the fear for many is that automation will lead to job losses, some companies have simply over-hired or hired the wrong people because they looked good on paper.
Slow Reporting. If you are not getting your financial statements fast enough, then you may benefit from accounting automation. If you automate manual tasks and data entry, then your staff can spend their time reviewing and reconciling the data instead. Once the financial data is ready, you can apply data analytics tools to generate all insights (and even new ones) for financial reporting.
To summarize, signs of overworked staff, frequent errors, highly manual transaction volume, company growth, open job positions, overstaffing, and slow reporting are reasons to consider automating portions of your accounting cycles. With the advancements in technology, automation is becoming a necessity for modern accounting departments aiming for efficiency, accuracy, and strategic value.
If none of the signs above are happening at your company then that’s great! You likely have a well-oiled machine and would not benefit from accounting automation. If any of the issues above are happening at your company, then I strongly suggest getting an automation advisor.
Where do you begin? Start with discovery before committing to a full implementation. Get fast, affordable automation assessments from a technology expert and that’s where I come in to support at AutomationDiscovery.com or contact Vince LoRusso, a CPA with 15+ experiences, at firstname.lastname@example.org (not .com).