How new tech is changing the game for bookkeepers and clients
When bank feeds came along, they gave bookkeepers and their clients back their time and sanity – and we’re now on the verge of the next tech-led leap in efficiency.
Let’s face it, managing expenses and invoicing within a business has traditionally been a complete pain in the neck.
Having to track down paper receipts and match them up to electronic records of transactions was something that made expense management a complete quagmire.
It’s vital that you keep these records for your clients for at least five years, so if you’re not doing that electronically, then it’s the dreaded ‘shoebox’ method.
Then, once expenses have been managed, it becomes about invoices and getting them paid on time.
Confusion around expenses and not getting invoices paid on time is leading to a situation where, on average, it takes an SME 43 days to be paid.
That’s not good enough.
In fact, it’s creating such a cash flow issue that many businesses are going to the wall, unable to manage their cash flow.
But thanks to new processes in expense and invoice management revealed at Accountech Live, the amount of time to manage expenses and get paid is being reduced substantially.
Here’s how it works.
On the job
Take the standard plumber’s job as an example:
- They go out on site and get an idea of what they need to do to solve a problem for their client – in this situation, the client needs a bathroom renovation.
- With the MYOB invoices app, they can start to create a quote right there on their phone.
- They can start to put together a rough quote, based on the materials they need to buy and the amount of labour they need to use to get the job done.
- Once that draft quote is created, it’s automatically saved within MYOB AccountRight, ready for somebody back in the office to check.
- They can check that over, and then the quote gets sent to the client. Once the client approves the quote, the plumber then pops down to Reece to pick up the supplies they need to get the job done.
This is where the cool stuff comes in.
Because this plumber has a Reece Account, it’s easy to complete a purchase.
Because of MYOB’s direct integration with Reece, the invoice can be sent straight to AccountRight, so all they need to do is open MYOB and the invoice is there.
MYOB simply pulls the data from Reece’s invoice, line by line, and including the job number into a new transaction so all the office admin needs to do is check it’s right and record it!
Already, that’s a way more efficient process then needing to manually key in an invoice from a piece of paper stored in the glovebox of a ute.
When you consider that a busy trades business may have multiple jobs on the go at once (with multiple supplies needed), what may have taken half a day is now a lot simpler.
The office admin can then create an invoice to be sent to the client electronically, instead of on paper. You can also add the reimbursable items to the invoice, so the plumber isn’t out of pocket.
This is where the next phase of efficiency kicks in.
No more chasing invoices
Once the invoice is created, the plumber can track exactly what the client does with the invoice.
They can see whether the invoice has been emailed or opened. The invoice also comes with a nice big green ‘pay now’ button on it – which they can tap to start the payment process using credit card or BPAY.
If they don’t happen to pay immediately, you can send an invoice reminder to the client automatically three days before, one day after and two weeks after the due date.
Automated invoice reminders are already live in AccountRight and will be coming to MYOB Essentials soon.
Remember how we said that the average SME waits 43 days for an invoice to be paid? Well, thanks to invoice payments systems, that figure’s down to just 10 days or less.
Add to that all the time that was spent chasing down overdue invoices with unpleasant emails and phone calls.
Now, businesses and bookkeepers can have that time back.
You can start to see why we think expense and invoice management are the next big game-changers for bookkeepers and their clients.
Bank feeds came along and made transaction processing a whole lot easier, freeing up time for savvy bookkeepers and accountants to do things to provide more meaningful value to their clients.
With key supplier integrations, we’re starting to see the same sort of efficiency gains for bookkeepers.
With better invoice management, we’re seeing a real impact on the cash flow of clients.
This sort of tech is making it an exciting time for bookkeepers.
If there’s one thing I observed during Accountech Live, it’s that bookkeepers and accountants want to free themselves up to move into higher-value advisory work – and the tech is allowing them to do just that.