Written by: Kevin Gardner
Accounting processes for businesses can be challenging and finding ways to efficiently improve them can involve a lot of research and innovation. There are trends currently on the market to help you with these improvements and you can use a combination of them to streamline your private accounting practice or company’s accounting department.
Cloud technology has made accounting for small business more accessible and easier to afford. Your cloud-based software can be automatically updated through the Point of Sale system, time clock and inventory management solutions as well as be accessible to both in-house teams and outsourced accounting services. This can eliminate the need for each department to submit the information and for the accountant to compare each data set to spot errors or inconsistencies.
Software Instead of Paper
Over the last decade, accountants have relied more on software than on paper because it can free up valuable time. You would have to type the information into a spreadsheet and print it out to distribute copies, whereas by using accounting software, you can link it to the necessary solutions in other departments to be automatically updated and send digital copies through email. This can reduce typing errors and streamline the process, especially if you have software solutions designed to import relevant information to invoices, pay stubs and taxes. Finding further ways to streamline accounting processes through embracing new software innovations can increase your efficiency and eliminate many repetitive tasks.
The workflow of your company can sometimes be complex to determine but putting in the effort to map it out can help you see where bottlenecks occur and streamline various departments. One way to do this is to make a value chain for each job description that shows where the work comes from and where it goes. You can then compare the value chains against the input and output of work for each department and determine which redundancies are necessary for workflow. For instance, if you have two people processing incoming clients, it is important to make sure that each one has adequate numbers of clients to deal with and are not either bored on the job or struggling to keep up.
Together with cloud-based solutions, Blockchain breakthroughs allow for the instantaneous collaboration, documentation and visualization of transactions for all parties involved. You can, through this technology, let your employees and investors see the books and update them in real-time as well as document the changes and have a digital record of transactions. Each year, more breakthroughs and uses for this tech are innovated by accountants and other business professionals, you can even find online courses and seminars to help you keep up with developments.
With all the ways to automate and streamline accounting processes, it is important to remember that human innovation and interaction are still needed. Technology is not coming for the jobs of certified accountants but enhancing them. The more administrative and mundane tasks you can automate, the more time you free up to provide clients and departments with insightful and innovative solutions for cash flow problems, easing working capital and much more.
One of the biggest problems facing accounting firms and small businesses alike is talent retention. The market is large and various forces may mean some of your best talent will be either forced to leave because of changing laws or enticed to leave through competitive offers. By embracing technology, you can offer a more flexible work environment through allowing more flex time, benefits beyond the traditional standard and a more diverse team. You can see which forces are affecting retention by talking to your employees about the best and worst part of their jobs, by looking at how pending legislation will affect them and by monitoring retention and recruitment efforts of competitors or even companies in other industries. For instance, looking at how US employees are pushing for higher wages can inspire you to research a good living wage in your area and work to meet or exceed that level for your workers.
Whether you have a small or large accounting department, an accounting firm or a private practice, there are ways to efficiently improve your processes through technology and innovation. Embracing technology alone is not enough, you have to see how your workflow will be impacted by these solutions and work to retain the best talent as you improve your company.