Automation has already had a significant impact on the accounting profession, and the speed of change is likely to further pick up pace. It involves using software to streamline essential finance, accounting and marketing tasks, without the need for human input or intervention. This could include anything from accounts reconciliation and updating financial records to creating financial statements and promoting advisory services on social media or via email.
Firms that embrace the possibilities will benefit from improved efficiency and a better bottom line. Introducing efficient processes will free up valuable time spent on repetitive, lower-value tasks, thereby allowing practitioners to pursue higher-value advisory work.
When manual data-entry tasks are automated, time savings can be significant. It means that more can be done with less and efforts can be focused elsewhere – potentially on attracting higher-value clients.
If a certain accounting task suddenly takes a fraction of the time it used to take, the flow-on effects can be dramatic. Clients are thrilled when they get a response sooner than expected and, nowadays, customer service is what differentiates one firm from another.
A firm that clings to manual processes and procedures is doomed to stagnate. Employees passing around Excel spreadsheets is unnecessarily time-consuming. Similarly, manual approvals that require sign-off from busy senior members of a team can eat into time that could be better spent on new projects. It underwhelms clients, too.
By automating something such as credit control, debtor tracking can be streamlined and the time spent on sending out chase-up emails is slashed to virtually zero.
When set up correctly, automation eliminates human error from data-entry transcription. Not only can accounting practitioners breathe easy, they no longer need to wade through accounting nightmares resulting from even a small mistake.
Moreover, the data can be obtained in real-time, which means the insights derived from it are more valuable. Manual financial-admin processes such as bookkeeping can be automated using smart scanning. This improves productivity without comprising accuracy, thereby allowing a firm to increase the number of clients each team member assists.
Expanded marketing activities
It isn’t only traditional accounting processes that can be automated: marketing can be, too.
Digital marketing tools such as Hootsuite and HubSpot can be used as a time-effective means of promoting your firm to both ‘bread and butter’ clients and high-value ones, through lead generation and long-term brand awareness campaigns.
Such campaigns can be published on social media channels at scheduled times, rather than having a dedicated person manually loading all the campaign elements. This can free up time for determining who the intended audience will be, and what share of the business they should comprise.