Accounting is a fundamental part of any business. Without accurate and efficient accounting, businesses may struggle to pay bills on time, manage cash flow, and accurately report their financial status. This is often the case for finance teams that are bogged down with tedious paperwork and time-consuming manual data entry.
Fortunately, cutting-edge enterprise software can automate accounting tasks, which can save businesses considerable time and money. Here are seven accounting processes that companies should automate with technology:
1. Accounts payable
The accounts payable process involves managing and recording outgoing payments to vendors and suppliers. To do this process efficiently, finance teams need to create purchase orders, inspect goods, capture vendor invoices into the system, forward invoices to the appropriate approval chains, and make the payment. If all of this is done on paper, mistakes and miscommunications are inevitable. Several purchase orders and invoices can get lost in the clutter without proper filing systems and documents may go to the wrong people.
Cloud accounting software with workflow automation features like QuickBooks and even Microsoft Dynamics 365 can dramatically reduce the manual data entry and document handoffs needed to complete the accounts payable process. Automated systems can be programmed to record purchase order and invoice documents directly into the company’s accounting database. From there, accounts payable workflows can instantly match purchase orders with receipts, route documents to the right approval managers, and initiate payments with minimal human intervention.
2. Accounts receivable
Automating the accounts receivable process can significantly enhance cash flow management. With automated tools, companies can generate and send invoices electronically, set up automated payment reminders, and integrate with payment gateways to facilitate faster and more secure customer payments. This automation minimizes delays in payment collection, reduces the need for manual follow-ups, and improves overall cash flow efficiency.
Similar to other accounting processes, there are several stages involved in procuring goods and services for the company. Businesses must recognize the need to purchase a certain item or service, review the budget, issue a request for quotation, evaluate supplier responses, negotiate contracts, and finally approve the purchase order.
Using an automated procurement system, businesses can link their purchase orders to their budgets and quickly generate accurate reports that provide a clear picture of spending. Automated procurement systems can also help companies streamline their bidding and contracting processes, reduce turnaround times, and improve price negotiations.
4. Sales order processing
Automating the sales order process improves order accuracy, accelerates order fulfillment, and enhances customer satisfaction. By integrating order management systems with customer relationship management and inventory databases, companies can automate order entry, track inventory availability in real time, and generate invoices and shipping labels automatically. This streamlines the entire order-to-cash process, minimizes errors, and enables faster order processing and delivery.
Payroll processing involves multiple steps: calculating employee wages, withholding taxes and other deductions, issuing paychecks or depositing direct deposits into employees’ bank accounts, and maintaining accurate records of all payments. By leveraging automated payroll systems like Gusto, businesses can automate the entire payroll process, from time tracking and attendance to calculating salaries, tax deductions, and generating payslips. Automation ensures accuracy, minimizes the potential for errors, and saves significant time for HR and finance teams.
6. Expense reports
Managing employee expense reports can be a hassle when finance teams have to keep track of and file all the receipts, invoices, and supporting documents. To make the process more efficient, companies should create expense reporting portals that can automatically generate reports based on the submitted expenses. With this automated system, employees only have to fill out an electronic form and attach their invoices electronically. The system can then validate expenses against company policies, route for approvals, and integrate with accounting systems for reimbursement.
7. Month-end financial close
One of the most overwhelming tasks for finance teams is the month-end financial close process. This process requires examining all accounts, transactions, and activities to ensure that the books are balanced at the end of each month. But given the time-sensitive nature of this process, finance teams often rush to reconcile discrepancies and submit financial statements, which only leads to more mistakes.
Thankfully, solutions like Dynamics 365 can compile complex data from different sources, reconcile discrepancies, and generate financial statements quickly with just a few clicks. This not only shortens the effort required during the closing cycle, but it also allows finance teams to do more accurate financial reporting and more informed decision-making.
Accounting processes can be a cinch when you implement the right automation tools. From procurement to month-end close, automation streamlines processes and helps companies stay efficient while gaining insights into their financials. If you need more ideas on how to increase operational efficiency with technology, In-Touch Computer Services can give you some valuable advice. Our consultants can evaluate your processes and recommend solutions that will give your business a leg up on the competition. Schedule a free consultation with us to get started!