If you are curious about automating your accounts and bringing bookkeeping into the cloud, Kiera Feeley from AccountantOnline.ie answers the key questions.
We are living in a world with what seems like unlimited software capabilities.
For almost every business need or pain point, there is usually a software option to take care of that function.
“Automation will mean that your accounts will update in real time so you have more accurate timely information to allow you make strategic decisions for your business based on current data”
This is no different for the accounting and, in fact, it is a process that lends itself well to automation.
There are wide range of accounting software on the market to help the businesses manage their accounting needs. At Accountant Online, our accountants have dealt with countless different accounting software over the years and we would recommend Xero Premium as our first choice. Other common software tools include Quickbooks, Wave Sage 50 / Sage One and Kashflow.
It’s a user-friendly software which allows you to manage your day-to-day bookkeeping easily and more efficiently as it has a number of time saving features. Of course anything that saves you time, saves you money in business.
Here we answer some common questions from companies thinking of automating their accounts.
What are the benefits to me and my company?
The two main benefits of automating your accounts are time saving and a reduction of errors.
By automating manual, time consuming, non-value add tasks this allows for the business owner and their staff to focus their energy on tasks which require cognitive thinking such as product development.
Automation of a process involves the software following a set of rules. It is only when something falls outside of these rules that we need human interaction. By following a set of rules, the result will not fluctuate so this will reduce the number of errors that are output from the process.
Is my business too small to automate accounts?
Some companies might feel that they are too small to implement automation but there are software solutions for all business sizes.
And while your business might be small now, the goal is to grow and by implementing automation early you are setting up the structure by which your business can scale.
Can I do this myself or do I need an accountancy firm?
Yes, of course you can take on the implementation of automating accounts yourself but, with so much choice out there, it can be daunting for a business owner to know where to start.
A lot of accounting software has the same basic structure and each will have different additional functions which you might find useful depending on the nature of your business.
Some accounting software works closely with other software providers so if you find you like a specific accounting software, it’s a good idea to check if they integrate with your other software providers to allow your business to meet its full automation potential.
We always advise to shop around and enlist the help of an accounting firm to help you narrow down your search. We have seen businesses spend a lot of time and money setting up accounting software which didn’t work for them and they needed help to change. So the decision to go with one software provider over another does warrant careful consideration and time.
Will this be an extra cost for me?
Enlisting the help of your accountant to help identify the right software solution really depends on how much help you need.
When we meet with a new company, we have a discussion about accounting software which is part of the service and does not cost the client any additional fee.
However, if a client has a complicated accounting structure or needs help to set up a integration for them we would price this work on a case by case basis and is usually based on the time required to complete the work.
Will my clients feel they are losing a personal touch?
Not at all! A lot of accounting software allow for businesses to include their logo and contact information on their invoices and statements which gives a personalised and professional feel to your accounting correspondence with your clients.
We have found that having an automated process allows businesses to contact their clients on a regular basis which helps keep that personal touch.
How do I stay in control of my accounts if they are all automated?
Implementing automation usually means having more control over your accounting function as the manual time-consuming tasks can be taken care of allowing you time to look at the bigger financial picture of your business.
Also, automation will mean that your accounts will update in real time so you have more accurate timely information to allow you make strategic decisions for your business based on current data.
Is it secure?
Our experience has been that accounting software is very secure. The providers we work with keep secure backups of all accounting data so that if something goes wrong, they can access historical information for you. Access to your accounting software will be password protected and there are some providers who offer two-step authentication.
It is always good practice to change passwords regularly to keep your accounting software as secure as possible and you can enlist the help of a password manager application to keep your passwords secure.
Kiera McFeely is Cloud Services Team Manager at Accountant Online, Ireland’s largest online accountancy firm which is a Xero Platinum Partner and winner of Xero’s Partner of the Year award 2021.www.accountantonline.ie