Every single piece of new technology that comes out leaves company facing new challenges and changes. Automation is shaking up almost every process and department within companies, accounting included. As a business executive, you need to keep on top of all new technological developments and be aware of their possibilities and the impact they can have on your operations.
But how exactly do automation and artificial intelligence (AI) come into play in a company’s accounting processes? Are the benefits of implementing such a momentous, and often expensive, change really worth it? And most importantly, do we need to reexamine the relevance of the accounting profession with the rise of this new technology?
Why You Should Automate Your Accounting?
Automation is an approach that limits the number of manual processes in a company’s usual operations. And that’s exactly what automated accounting does.
Every single company—from freelancers and small businesses to multinationals—has to keep accurate accounts that meet the requirements of the law in every respect. So, you are automatically affected by the automation of accounting from the minute you launch a business and can benefit from it.
But what can automation and AI specifically handle to optimize our business processes? Well, it seems they can handle quite a lot, actually. From purchases, to suppliers, to budget management.
1. Automate your Buying Process From Suppliers
Many activities are subject to stringent record keeping and monitoring in terms of buying services and goods from your suppliers. Automation can handle many of these activities while taking care of follow-ups and record keeping. For example, automation can:
- Generate purchase orders in accordance with stock levels and customer purchases;
- Record the receipt of ordered products and adjust stock levels accordingly;
- Transform purchase orders into invoices;
- Automatically integrate invoices and associated data into the accounting software used;
- Manage taxes paid.
2. Automate your Sales Process
Your sales team also has to handle some accounting-related activities. Your team needs to be efficient in order to handle the requirements of a thorough follow-up and to better devote time to your customers. Automated accounting can be used to:
- Create estimates and proposals;
- Transform estimates and proposals into purchase orders;
- Transform purchase orders into customer invoices;
- Automatically integrate invoices and associated data into the accounting software used;
- Guarantee legal conformity for the digitization of invoices;
- Manage taxes collected.
3. Simplify and Automate Your Payroll Management
Payroll is an unavoidable, recurrent activity. As payroll often uses the same settings, only making minimal changes for a longer or shorter period of time, for the departure or arrival of employees, or for adjustments made to deductions, automating it could be highly beneficial for your company. Automated payroll can be used to:
- Save the details of pay processing in the right accounting record;
- Calculate gross pay;
- Calculate deductions at source;
- Calculate the worker’s net pay;
- Update amounts tied to accrued wages and deductions at source.
4. Set and Automatically Track your Budget
Whether you have one budget type or have adopted a three-budget model (operations, improvements, and projects), automating accounting can support your financial activities in several ways, for example:
- Automatically integrate bank transfers into the linked expense or income records;
- Monitor cash flow in real time.
You can easily monitor your budget compare to your income statement.
What are the benefits of accounting automation ?
Obviously, there are many reasons why companies hesitate to implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software packages to manage their accounting and financial processes. In particular, companies hesitate due to the potential security risks of using this type of software, and because they have yet to be shown the advantages. The costs related to integrating an ERP program are also a barrier for many managers. It’s therefore important that you explore the benefits and the ins and outs of automating your accounting and financial processes.
Benefits of accounting automation #1 : Limit Mistakes
No one is perfect. All humans make mistakes, and all processes have their flaws. Automating tasks eliminates the risk tied to multiple entries and duplicates created through manual management. It therefore ensures the quality and integrity of data included in customized reports that are presented to decision makers.
Benefits of accounting automation #2: Gain Time
We can’t say it often enough, time is money. But it’s also a great way to motivate your teams. Avoid giving them repetitive tasks to do and instead assign them an advisory or direct delivery role that will be more interesting, and that will enable them to handle important tasks that cannot be managed by AI or automation. Re-prioritizing your colleagues’ tasks can bring added value to your company, which can then profit from your employees’ skills and knowledge more frequently.
Benefits of accounting automation #3: Centralize Data
Once you’ve eliminated multiple data entries in several databases by automating data integration and storage management, you’ll have direct access to a precise and complete overview of your data. An ERP’s ability to process data and generate relevant and accurate information in customized reports that are adjusted to the user’s circumstances and needs can help empower decision-making.
Benefits of accounting automation #4: Improve Collaboration
Stakeholders and teams need to be able to communicate in order to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of a company. Automation and adopting an ERP can foster improved collaboration by providing several different ways for individuals and teams to interact. Working in isolation is never profitable, and being able to draw on a free flow of information is beneficial for all aspects of business management. What’s more, users will be able to follow up on their assigned accounts in real time, significantly limiting the amount of time wasted going back and forth between colleagues and different departments. The software package also enables you to attribute an access profile to each person that responds to their needs and guarantees data security. Additionally, you can also add on a mobile application that follows the user wherever they go.
Benefits of accounting automation #5: Optimize Business Processes
Business processes, or value chains, must meet the needs and requirements of the users. In this respect, automation and adopting an ERP opens you up to improving business processes. Automation can handle payments, thereby guaranteeing that payments are made on time and in accordance with the rules in effect. Electronic invoices and quick payments lead to increased visibility from suppliers, guaranteeing improved financial management, and moreover, improved operation budget management.
Benefits of accounting automation #6: Reduce Costs
Reducing costs is the most convincing reason why you should automate your accounting processes, although reduced costs do come hand in hand with the other advantages we’ve mentioned above. In fact, it’s completely normal that your expenses will be reduced when processes are optimized: when teams collaborate efficiently, when you can guarantee legal compliance, and when errors can be resolved quickly. Accounting functions will be accelerated and optimized, reducing the administrative costs linked to manually handling these activities.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for automate your accounting
There is no denying that Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an effective ERP for managing your company’s accounting function. You will like the fact that several modules make up this great program, allowing you to:
- Manage and track all your financial data with ease
- Optimize and streamline customer service
- trategically organize your supply chain, warehouse, and human resources
To help you choose, we have written an article: What is the best accounting software? Don't hesitate to read it to make your choice !
Reassure your Accountants by opting for automated accounting!
In the digital transformation age, we have to expect that professions will evolve towards newer models. However, an ERP that can automate processes and integrate AI into a company is by no means synonymous with the end of the accounting profession.
Quite the opposite in fact, accountants will be able to equip themselves with new skills empowering them to make better decisions using the time freed up by automation and customized reports. They’ll be able to concentrate on analysis and delivering precious advice. Accountants are definitely not a thing of the past! They’re simply evolving, and that is a great thing. Accountants will continue to be an essential asset for all intelligent companies who are concerned about the quality of their financial management.
Need help with your ERP software implementation? Chat with one of our experts.