3 Solutions to Automate Your Accounting Workflow (…and Save Millions)!
Back in 2012, two senior finance staff at the Utah Education department were asked to resign. The reason? An incorrect referencing on an Excel spreadsheet which cost the Education department $25 million!! This put the funding of several schools in jeopardy. How’s that for an Excel error? Or perhaps Fannie Mae making a Billion Dollar Error by overstating gains and calling it an“honest mistake” made in Excel.
Needless to say, we all dislike the repetitive tasks we do as part of our daily work routine, knowing well that that’s not what sparks interest in our work or adds value to our customers. However, we accept it as a necessary evil that we can’t do much about. For example, the inefficient linking between spreadsheets; manual data entry; the chores of downloading bank statements and manually reconciling in accounting systems; the horrors of tracking time-sheet for projects; and the frustration of submitting paper receipts for expense reports.
The technology is here, and with more on the way that automates the mundane and allows us to instead focus on the adding value part of our jobs. Technology is especially overhauling the accounting industry and changing the way accountants go about doing their daily tasks.
The three tools below are especially useful in automating the mundane aspects of the accounting workflow. After reading these reviews and you decide you need something more powerful or more customized for your Calgary business, call or email us and we will make sure you get the solution you need.
Receipt Bank is an industry leading solution that extracts key information from your bills, receipts and invoices, removing the need for manual data entry. Receipt Bank can then publish the data to your accounting software or it can be downloaded as a spreadsheet or used to create expense reports. This saves hours of effort on the part of your EA to manually sort and organize the paper documentation, and then for your accountant to enter the data in the accounting system, code it, and create expense reports.
Another alternative solution is Hubdoc, which converts scanned documents into searchable data which is ready to be integrated into your accounting system. The software can automatically download daily activity in your bank accounts and integrate right within your accounting statement – making the reconciliation process super streamlined, if not fully automated.
Imagine a scenario where you prepare your consolidations in Excel, ensure everything balances and finish preparing your financial statements in Microsoft Word with all the final numbers typed in and all the numbers down and cross added. The CFO come and asks you to record an “adjusting entry”. You immediately break a sweat visualizing all the manual steps you would need to run through to update the statements in Word. This, by the way, is precisely why clerical errors happen which we encountered at the beginning of the article. In the words of Mr. Newton, one of the staff who was asked to resign at Utah Education department, said “we did not have systems in place to be able to catch this kind of error.”
Workiva is a cloud based financial software which integrates cloud based word and spreadsheets. Think of it like google docs and sheets, except better and customized for preparing financial statements. You make a change in the spreadsheet and all the tables and numbers in the Word financials update automatically!
We believe that the accounting industry is ripe for disruption by technology and the tools above are just an indication of advances that we expect to see in the future. We encourage you to reach out to us about how we can help you automate your business process so you can focus on delivering the highest value to your customers, reduce errors and who knows, perhaps you might save millions along the way!
Matterhorn Business Solutions is located in Calgary, Alberta. We provide I.T. support and custom application development for process automation and data integration.