Automation has been here for years and it has become a basic requirement for all (yes, all) bookkeepers. Those of us in the Late Majority bucket really need to get started, here's a few practical tips.
Remember your first smartphone? Were you the first person in your circle of friends to own one or were you one of the last? For those that fall into the "Late Majority" bucket, when you think back to your pre-smartphone days can you imagine how you functioned without it?
Adopting Automation will work in the same way for the Late Majority.
Good news! Robots and algorithms won’t be stealing your customers as they are designed to carry out individual tasks and elements of tasks. There is a lot more to bookkeeping than that! As a bookkeeper there are a myriad of tasks that you perform every day without thinking, these are the nuances that come with being a human being… that also“does” bookkeeping.
More good news! An opportunity presents itself. You have a wealth of knowledge. You have ideas that you would like to share with your customers but until now, the conversation has been restricted (by time) to trial balances etc. Automation will help you with the lower level tasks, like data entry for example, and this will free up valuable hours for you to present important information back to your customers.
It comes down to a simple juxtaposition… if your competitor doesn’t start utilizing automation as a tool in their bookkeeping,you win. Winning might take the form of having more time to do something more interesting. It might mean that you get to take on that bigger account that you felt you couldn’t handle. And if you are looking to grow, winning might mean that you win business away from the competition.
At it’s most basic level, automating tasks will save you a lot of time. When you look at automation through a more complex lens you will see the value-added benefits that it brings.
What would you do with the extra time? That depends on your motivations. You might go home early. You might spend that time working on other tasks, or you might try to make an appointment with a new client.
Traditionally, customers will turn up (about a week before a tax deadline) with what we call a “shoe box” of receipts and invoices. We don’t need to go on about the problems this causes and the stress that goes hand-in-hand with it.
We do, however, want to talk about the less talked about problem of real time data and how it’s absence will, in a lot of cases, lead to inefficient accounting. The very same algorithms that replace the routine tasks will gather unstructured data and make it available for analysis which can then be used to deliver business insights to clients.
Implementation is often perceived as the hard bit.Software providers spend a lot of time making their adoption into your practice as easy as possible. Below are our top three tips on how to make implementation as straight forward as possible.
Automation software must be easy to learn. If this software isn’t easy to work out how to use, you will more than likely try their competitor to see if THEIR software is easier to work with. It is in software providers interest to make it is easy to use, intuitive even. There will also be helpful articles and resources available because they want need you to be able to get up to speed easily and quickly and without ringing their support staff every five minutes.
Our suggestion is to start with a single process. Instead of jumping in at the deep end and trying to overhaul everything in one go, break it down into manageable pieces.
We would argue that the best place to start is... at the start of every bookkeepers business process… with your data. Getting your clients data into your accounting software is often seen as a job to be done manually by the ‘new guy’. This is crazy. Your data is probably the most important asset you have as a bookkeeper, and capturing that data quickly and accurately is wide open to human error. The good news is that AutoEntry was built for this very task.
This is the most obvious thing to do… asking a friend who’s in the business and has a reputation for working clever by adopting new technologies into their day-to-day. They will give you an unbiased view of the different tools that are out there, they will recommend one that suits you best, and they might even sit down with you and take you through it. You will probably pick up some their bad habits, but you will also learn from their mistakes and in a comfortable environment.
AutoEntry is famous for being easy to get started with. We get great reviews all the time on social media and in all of the appstores/marketplaces. We have a comprehensive help centre and we are always available on chat.
Get started with AutoEntry.