Remember The Jetsons? George Jetson’s job consisted of sitting behind a desk and pushing a single button while his computer handled the rest. Automation – It seemed so out there at the time.
Welcome to 2020, where you can automate a lot of administrative small business tasks that weren’t possible even ten years ago. The less manual administration you do, the more time you have to spend on the things that matter to you as a business owner, like growing your business.
Rapidly advancing technology and automation capabilities in cloud ecosystems have all but eliminated the manual data entry required of bookkeepers. Yet, even with all these changes in technology and the way organizations can approach various processes, some of the most essential operations in the business world continue as they have always been. And so many people are still behind the times.
Maintaining focus on the competitive edge of an organization is still key to sustainable growth and profitability. Upgrading or changing the technology used within the organization is a way to differentiate, yet has no advantage if the changes do not create real value for the enterprise. To create this value, and become future-ready, there is one important thing we advise our clients; in the move from paper to platform, not every platform that seems or says it’s plug-and-play actually is.
Automation That Removes Work, Takes Work
One of the key components to making daily bookkeeping automation successful is having access to skillful IT expertise and ingenuity to connect the platforms so that when an occasion calls for platforms to talk to each other, they can line up precisely. Coordinating multiple financial platforms often requires that 1+1 equals 3.
Today, there are a host of platforms in the marketplace that eliminate the need for data entry creating greater accuracy and efficiency, saving our clients time and money. SaaS platforms like Gusto, TSheets, Melio, and Receipt Bank (a few of our favorites!) are all powerful tools for automating necessary payroll and bookkeeping tasks.
As with many entrepreneurs, the “do-it-yourself” bug will bite, and the attempt to deploy these platforms without professional IT assistance will surge. A word of warning, setting these platforms up individually for enterprise use, will not be seamless. A piece of advice, don’t waste your time attempting this unless you happen to be an IT specialist, and bookkeeping happens to be your area of expertise.
Seamless integration of bookkeeping and financial software is possible if it’s set up correctly at the front end. Again, it frequently requires someone with extensive software integration experience to create workarounds and migrate data from one platform to another, while making sure the data lines up accurately in the receiving system. Tools such as Zapier and PowerMates by Microsoft are there to assist with the migration process.
Let’s make this a bit more simple to follow. Here are some examples of processes where automation creates speed, accuracy, and repeatability, and pushes data to you vs. you manually running reports:
#1 E-Commerce POS System
Connecting your ecommerce platform to your bookkeeping system is a huge leap for productivity – if it works properly. Many Point of Sale (POS) and ecommerce systems run through middleware (3rd part software) before getting to a bookkeeping software like QuickBooks. The more connections your information passes through, the greater the complexity of ensuring all the data flows to the right place in your accounting package. It takes some work on the front-end to make sure data lines up where it should on your general ledger.
#2 Connecting your Bank
Clients often have bookkeeping or other financial software in place for a while, but their bank has not been part of the greater ecosystem. This creates the need for manual handling of bills and busy work typically associated with bookkeeping that drives up fees and creates many opportunities for human error to corrupt data.
Directly connecting transaction feeds from banks and credit cards increases the speed and accuracy of information flowing to the accounting system by removing the human factor and data entry time. Adding in a layer to also capture and enter expenses further reduces the time and data entry errors that occur when loading information to your accounting system.
#3 Push Notifications
Keeping on top of the status of all critical performance indicators has traditionally been done with extensive reporting and analysis. This often results in a delay in understanding when key metrics change. Utilization of modern analytics, where the systems monitor for certain events to trigger push notifications to key personnel, can allow your business to react in real-time and take advantage of situations as opposed to being a passive observer.
What’s required to make the bold technology leap?
Commitment to Change
To make a change, you must commit to leveraging technology that automates manual data entry and rote tasks. It will allow your firm to work on a deeper, more satisfying level with your clients, and will free you up to think big and strategize.
These are challenging times for small businesses, and disruption due to automation, machine learning, blockchain, and artificial intelligence makes running your business that much more complex. These and other emerging technologies are expected to eliminate more than 40% of manual business financial work by the end of this year. It takes courage to step into the new ways of managing your business and finances and courage to balance all of it while navigating uncertain times. We have found that businesses that find that courage out-perform and grow more quickly than those that don’t.
How do we take what we do and make it more profitable for you?
Our firm has found that, as a comprehensive advisory practice, we can handle a wide variety of back-office activities for our clients efficiently as a result of automation. Integrating software allows us to cut out the manual data entry aspects of the relationship, leaving us free to analyze data instead. We can create opportunities for our clients’ business without big hourly fees.
By automating any repetitive tasks like monthly bill pay, payroll, and expense reporting and coding effectively, we can focus on the levers that move our clients’ businesses forward like cash flow, banking relationships, workplace culture, and core values. Consequently, it allows for significantly more collaboration with our clients and enables a true partnership focused on growth and success.
At HireEffect™, we have adopted a technology-forward approach to the way we work with our clients. What this means is that we make the effort to research, recommend, and implement appropriate systems and platforms to help drive increased productivity. It is essential to know what technology will work best for the specific needs and goals of an organization. Through practical examination, planning, and execution, our team has been able to work with clients across multiple industries to implement new, modernized systems that support their continued success. To find out more about our technology forward process, go to https://hireeffect.com/technology-forward/.