14 Jul The Big Shift from Manual to Automated Financials
Like most organizations using entry-level accounting software, you probably dedicate more time than you would like to manual processes. Entry-level accounting software can’t give you a single view of shared accounts, customers, and vendors across entities. Instead, your finance team jumps from one instance of the software to another. They manually track areas such as intercompany eliminations, revenue recognition, and allocations and accruals for expenses. Unsurprisingly, this invites errors and leads to even more time spent making corrections. In this guide, we discuss the big shift from manual to automated financials.
At the same time, managers have little visibility into their team’s workflow. All of this causes the workload to pile up, forcing finance teams to cut into their weekends to get it all done while preventing leaders from making an informed decision based on up-to-date financial data. And, if that’s not enough, it’s costing your business. Modern, cloud-based accounting and ERP software can change that. By automating repetitive tasks such as purchase order workflows, vendor payments, and bank reconciliations, your finance team can shift its focus toward strategy and helping the company meet its broader goals. Another piece of good news is that automating and centralizing information in your accounting solution can simplify your audits.
How can you tell if it’s time for a change?
Accounts Payable is a relatively straightforward process. An invoice is received and checked to ensure it is legitimate and the bill is accurate—perhaps using a two- or three-way match—then routed for approvals and payment. The invoice is then marked as paid and archived should it need to be retrieved. If you’re using entry-level accounting software, invoice capture is a manual process. With entry-level accounting software, you create a new bill and then input all the needed information. Entry-level accounting software organizes the data so you can see which vendors have been paid, the vendor detail, and an AP aging report. It does not automate the process from the time the invoice comes in until the invoice is archived.
Even though the invoice data is entered in entry-level accounting software, the invoice is manually routed for verification and payment, either via email or on paper. The biggest challenges are data entry, invoice-to-payment matching, and solving for lost and duplicate invoices. Instead, what if you could input the invoice using automated data capture and have the invoice automatically compared to the information in the accounting system? If it all looks good then it’s automatically routed to the right approvers, paid, and archived. If something doesn’t look right, say the quantity billed doesn’t match the quantity received or the unit price or tax is off, then an alert is generated, and the process is interrupted until you resolve the issue.