Cloud technology is changing the way bookkeeping is done. Processes that used to take hours to complete now take minutes.
Sometimes, the best way to understand just how much time is saved in a cloud technology-enabled workflow is to compare it to the old, manual way of doing things.
We recently teamed up with Fujitsu ScanSnap, Plooto, and Intuit QuickBooks to showcase how cloud bookkeeping solutions can help streamline some of the most laborious bookkeeping processes, turning hours into minutes. Read on to see how to save time with document collection, bill pay, and reconciliation.
Document collection & management
Sending in the financial documentation required to complete any sort of bookkeeping task is often low on your small business clients’ list of priorities. As a result, chasing after client documents becomes a huge time suck for accountants and bookkeepers.
Traditionally, the task of document collection involved coordinating “packet” pickups with clients, lots of driving, and even more “nagging” – Growthwise’s Steph Hinds says that it used to take up to five to six emails and five to six phone calls to collect bank statements, bills, and receipts!
Furthermore, processing, organizing, and managing those documents (i.e., scanning, manual data entry, and hard-coding) added even more time to the document collection process.
With manual processes, it could take days to collect financial documents from clients. Standardizing your workflow and using cloud accounting technology can make it possible to complete document collection in as little as 2-3 hours/client/month.
It’s worth noting that the time to execute these workflows will vary based on a number of factors (type of client, level of service, volume of transactions, etc.); however, simply eliminating the need to drive back and forth to pick up your clients’ documents will inevitably help you save hours.
Bill pay is another bookkeeping process that involves a lot of reliance on the client. Between organizing check runs, obtaining physical signatures for approvals, and mailing printed checks, it’s easy to see how manual bill pay can become inefficient. Moreover, all of this back-and-forth makes it difficult to package this service and add more value to your clients' businesses.
Fortunately, it’s possible to automate the entire bill pay process, from automatically fetching bills, to extracting the key data, to obtaining approvals, and even publishing to your general ledger. You can see the difference between the old workflow and the recommended automated workflow (and the steps it removes) in the graphic below. Altogether, the old bill pay process could take 18-34 hours to complete. With the right tools, that time could be reduced to 9-14.5 hours/client/month! That’s a huge amount of time saved that could be spent growing your firm, serving more clients, and doing more of the things that you love to do.
Reconciliation & reporting
Best-in-class accounting and bookkeeping professionals perform bank reconciliation for their clients on a weekly basis. The challenge that comes with keeping up with this frequency is that it can be tough to maintain if your processes aren’t optimized for efficiency.
Building off of the above examples of old document collection and bill pay workflows, manual reconciliation (i.e., manually entering transactions) can take up a ton of time – especially when you consider that cloud technology enables bank reconciliation to be achieved in one click. Overall, your weekly hours spent reconciling accounts could be reduced from 4.5-8.5 to 3-4 hours/client/week. Moreover, moving to a cloud tech stack will also enable you to get better client insights in near real-time.
Looking at the workflows and numbers above might make cloud accounting technology sound too good to be true – can these tools really help save that much time? The answer is yes – we regularly chat with tons of accountants and bookkeepers who have experienced major time-savings by implementing workflows similar to those recommended above.
Standardizing your workflows and adopting cloud accounting technology might seem daunting, but it’s worth it for those who are looking for a better way to tackle accounting and bookkeeping tasks. Find the workflows that work for you and you’ll cut down your bookkeeping time from hours to minutes before you know it!
Get more insight into how you can cut your document collection, bill pay, and reconciliation workflows from hours to minutes. Download our free workflow guide!
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