Businesses spend a lot of time managing expenses, invoicing, preparing reports, and performing other routine tasks. But what if you entrust all these operations to software? Your accounting department will be able to solve more important issues, doing more in less time. We will tell you how to incorporate automated accounting software into your company to track financial performance in real time and get other valuable benefits.
Accounting automation vs. manual accounting
Accounting automation means that software takes over part of the accounting tasks. A program calculates taxes, creates financial reports, stores data, fills in receipts and invoices, and performs other operations.
When operations like filling in invoices are automated, the program automatically takes data from an invoice and enters it into your accounting software. After the payment is made, the program automatically sends a confirmation to the counterparty.
Automated accounting software improves the bookkeeping of a company and gives it a number of advantages.
- Experts quickly find the information they need. The accounting program stores all information about your counterparties and payments. This program makes it easier to classify and store documents and ledger items; also, it integrates with other platforms and tools of the company.
- The company saves time and optimizes costs. Automation accelerates the fulfillment of tasks. Accounting software links each transaction to a ledger record. As a result, records are automatically uploaded, combined, and entered into certain fields. All this saves the company money because specialists complete more tasks in less time.
- The number of human errors is reduced. The programs accurately generate hundreds of ledger records and validate the data.
- The company enters international markets. When a business feels ready to enter international markets, it needs modern solutions for managing accounting, personnel, and resources. With them, the company will be able to comply with different countries’ regulatory requirements, receive multilingual support, be able to maintain accounts in its foreign branches and process multi-currency transactions.
The main functions that accounting software automates are:
- Accounting record-keeping;
- Payroll calculation, taking into account the bonuses for specialists;
- Reconciliation of data from different sources: account statements, tables, accounting systems, and so on.
Custom software vs. ready-made solutions
Accounting automation requires a whole range of actions from businesses. When developing custom automated accounting software, IT companies equip the program with all the functions that a particular business needs, configure the system, train the customer’s employees, and offer product support.
An off-the-shelf solution doesn’t always match the business needs of a company that purchased it. Created for a wide range of clients, such a program has a standard design and functionality. You’ll have to hire a dedicated team to customize the software according to your business requirements.
The choice is up to the business owner. You can experiment with trial versions of ready-made programs or order the development of custom software for your business.
Key features of accounting software
When a company is going to automate its accounting, it needs to know which functionality to choose. Robust automated accounting software usually includes:
- user-friendly interface;
- possibility to connect cloud services;
- integration with third-party apps;
- multi-user access;
- time tracking;
- automatic sorting of sales, expenses, taxes, etc.;
- invoice processing;
- cash flow management;
- stock monitoring;
- APIs, etc.
It is possible to extend the functionality. A custom software development company will take managers’ desires and the business’s needs into account in order to make the program as convenient and useful as possible.
How to switch to an automated accounting system
Whether you opt for ready-made accounting management solutions or plan to order the development of custom software, the stages of introducing automation are almost the same.
Stage 1. Gathering information about accounting operations
To understand what kind of accounting automation software you need, you should delve into the specifics of accounting in your organization. Explore the accounting policies and document flow, and assess your existing accounting tools.
Stage 2. Requirements preparation
When the information is gathered, it needs to be systemized. The requirements for automated accounting software should specify the structure of the accounting department (roles and functions they perform), a list of documents and registers, the scale of automation (for one department or all branches), and so on. The company must decide on the budget it is ready to allocate for the development. Based on all this information, the software development company will be able to figure out what features to include in the program.
Stage 3. Accounting system development.
With a clear goal and budget, managers choose a software outsourcing company that will build a solution from scratch. Business Analysts of the custom software company communicate with the customer’s representatives, learn the requirements for the accounting product from them, and delve into the specifics of the business. Next, the development company and the customer agree on the project terms and budget.
Stage 4. Program implementation and staff training.
The developers connect the program and train the company’s staff. If employees have questions, they contact the technical support service.
With automated accounting software, managers are always aware of the state of the business: how their financial processes are going, how many goods are in their warehouses, what the company’s revenue is, and so on. All operations are controlled, so the probability of errors is minimal, and managers are more confident in making decisions that are important for the business.