For the most part, the role of the accountant to any business, whether in-house or in practice, has remained unchanged for as long as anyone can remember.
However, the last few years have seen technology firmly making its way into many accounting teams, making those working with entirely manual paper processes now the exception, and not the rule.
When you look at some of the innovative technology being used by accountants and finance professionals today, it's easy to see why technology has been introduced. But there are some that would argue that if pen and paper have worked so well up to this point, why would they need to introduce a change to their processes; the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” argument.
But there are five key areas that I feel blow manual processes out of the water. You simply cannot argue with the value they deliver versus your old manual system.
1. Cloud-based systems
Like most services today, getting access to information on-demand and on-the-go is vastly becoming the norm, and the same can now be said of your accounts. Being able to view all the information in your accounting system from anywhere and on any device is worlds away from the spreadsheets most accountants are used to. All you need is an internet connection.
2. Real-time reporting
Month-end reports are just one of the standard reports most accountants and finance teams put together for a business, but they also come with a common issue; they don’t give an accurate depiction of the company’s financial health. The fact of the matter is that these types of reports end up being days to weeks out of date, meaning it’s not helpful if you want to use the data to make more informed decisions. This is why real-time reporting is such a game-changer for your reporting capabilities.
3. Approval automation
Ask any finance professional if they could speed up any aspect of their accounting process, what would it be? I can guarantee almost all of them would say the approvals process. The ability to automate approval processes means less time is spent chasing approvers, causing delays in payments and lessening the risk of errors and duplication.
4. Paperless processing
This one is for those I mentioned earlier who are quite happy to stick with paper! Paper purchase orders, receipts and invoices don’t just cost money to produce and store, they also require a lot of time to manage, are prone to errors and easy to lose. Unlike my earlier points, they can’t provide real-time information and they can’t be accessed anywhere, at any time. So, what reason do you have left to stick with paper?
5. Accounting software integrations
My last point is one of the most exciting advantages of accounting technology. With so many solutions available for every accounting pain point out there, it can feel overwhelming trying to find the exact one for your specific needs. But if you find a solution that integrates with your existing software, then you’re onto a winner! So even if you’ve made the move to technology a while ago, it’s still possible to try new solutions.
AP clerks shouldn't be so quick to disregard AP automation over their existing manual systems. Still not convinced? Download our guide reasons why you should automate and digitize your AP process.