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Everything You Need to Know About Automated Bookkeeping

What you’ll learn


  • Benefits of automated bookkeeping over traditional bookkeeping methods
  • Four use cases of automated bookkeeping
  • Drawbacks of traditional bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is the activity of keeping track of financial transactions of a business on a daily basis. It is an important part of the accounting process since it records every transaction and reports all activities that impact a business’s financial performance.

What is automated bookkeeping?

Automated bookkeeping is the process of keeping track of financial transactions with the help of computerized accounting systems that use robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning (ML), or artificial intelligence (AI). In other words, automated bookkeeping imitates the human data entry process with the help of technology tools.

Businesses that use automated bookkeeping tools are able to minimize manual errors and reduce the time spent on data entry.
Some well-known automated bookkeeping solutions include NetSuite, Freshbooks, and Zoho Books.

Challenges of traditional bookkeeping methods

If your company uses traditional bookkeeping methods such as manual data entry and spreadsheets to record financial transactions, then you might be facing some of the challenges discussed below:

  1. Data entry errors
    In the traditional bookkeeping process, there is a higher possibility of data entry errors since the user has to manually enter similar or even the same information multiple times to the various ledgers and sub-ledgers. This makes the whole process both time-consuming and labor-intensive.
  2. Expensive processes
    Traditional bookkeeping is expensive since it requires more labor and resources to complete the data entry process. While the traditional method is less costly if we look at it from an up-front perspective, in the long run, these small expenses can snowball to become large.
  3. Physical record maintenance
    In a traditional accounting process, it is important to store hard copies of any financial transaction that takes place between businesses. These copies can get lost or may be stolen or destroyed due to natural disasters, leading to the loss of valuable data and records. Physical records are also hard to manage due to storage and tracking issues. The storage and maintenance of physical copies are also more expensive and challenging.

Benefits of automated bookkeeping

How accounting technology has increased productivity

There are several advantages of using automated bookkeeping. We discuss some of them in this section.

  1. Minimizes time spent
    Manual data entry requires your finance team to spend several hours on data entry and reconciliation. Accounting automation solutions can help complete the same tasks in a few minutes. Accountants and analysts can use the time saved to focus on more strategic tasks that involve data analysis, financial projections, etc.
  2. Reduces manual errors
    It is true that machines are far less prone to errors than humans. Integrating RPA and AI to complete your bookkeeping tasks can help you minimize human errors that happen due to fatigue, multi-tasking, environmental factors, etc.
  3. Provides real-time data
    After you integrate the automated bookkeeping process into your system, you no longer have to wait for the bookkeeper to enter the data. The system updates the records automatically as soon as any new data is available. Therefore, you will always be working on real-time information.
  4. Streamline your workflow
    Automating your accounting and bookkeeping tasks can help streamline your workflows. These include:

    • Credit card and banking information transfer
      To perfectly reflect the banking position of your company, you need to ensure consistency between the debit and credit transactions of all your bank accounts. Automated bookkeeping has the ability to pull transaction history data from the record book instantly.
    • Sort transactions into relevant categories
      Machine learning algorithms within automated bookkeeping solutions help you to automatically sort transactions into different categories (e.g. recurring expense, revenue, etc.) based on their financial history. This feature is helpful for sorting high-volume transactions, which otherwise is tedious and time-consuming if done manually.
    • Help manage payroll
      Managing payroll manually can be challenging. There are several rules and regulations that must be followed while generating the payment, and if anything goes wrong then the entire process might break down. You can use automated bookkeeping processes to calculate wages and deductions with just a click of a button. An automated payroll system can help you keep track of employees’ compensation along with salaries, bonuses, and commissions. Another advantage of automated payroll is that employees can access their payment information whenever they want.

4 use cases of automated bookkeeping

How leveraging AI would save working hours

Manual bookkeeping methods are error-prone, often leading to the need for rework and multiple rounds of reviews. Automated bookkeeping, on the other hand, keeps track of the business’s transactional data and analyzes them, on-demand, to create several reports and financial statements like balance sheets, cash flow statements, and income statements.
Let’s take a look at the top 4 use cases of automated bookkeeping:

  1. Data entry
    Identifying and adding transactions to the bookkeeping journal is the first step in the record-to-report process. The initial data entry needs to be correct for the reports and analysis to be accurate.

    Automated bookkeeping solutions use RPA to leverage user experience while performing tasks without any human intervention. Bookkeeping solutions can also integrate with the ERP systems to help enter the right data at the right place.

  2. Paying invoices
    The number of suppliers you work with increases as your business expands. It also results in a higher number of invoices that need to be paid. And the top priority remains to get the open accounts cleared on time to ensure smooth supply chain operations and inventory.

    Automated bookkeeping solutions have the ability to create custom commands on accounts payable software. So, whenever an invoice is generated, the accounting software marks the invoice as ‘utility’, and the invoice amount is marked as ‘expense.’ After the verification is completed, the accounts payable department tags them as ‘approved.’

  3. Managing accounts receivable
    Getting paid on time is as important as paying vendors on time. If you are getting paid in installments, it is important to maintain the cash flow and liquidity of your business. This is where automated bookkeeping comes into play.

    Automated bookkeeping software automatically extracts the date of invoice generation and every customer data record. On the date of maturity, the customers will receive a notification from the payment gateway, reminding them to pay before the deadline.

  4. Payroll management
    Managing the payroll cycle of employees is a crucial finance workflow. You need to calculate and keep track of the working hours of employees. This becomes even more difficult to do manually when employees work remotely or from multiple locations across the country or globe.

    Automated bookkeeping solutions can help the HR and finance teams track every employee’s working hours and calculate the pay accurately. They also integrate with leave and tax management solutions that monitor the leave days of employees and tax rates applicable for the different countries/states.

Conclusion

Automated bookkeeping is a small part of finance automation as a whole. Bookkeeping is one of the easiest finance & accounting processes to automate, giving a high return on investments (ROI) within a short period.

It’s the stepping stone to move forward in the future because it will replace the traditional methods of accounting, thus making finance teams more efficient. This advancement in technology can eliminate repetitive accounting tasks, allowing bookkeepers to focus more on strategic activities such as forecasting and analysis.

HighRadius’ Autonomous Accounting solution for record-to-report function supports automated financial close and account reconciliation. It identifies and resolves variances from general ledger accounts and ensures data accuracy and faster closing. Know more about our solutions here.

FAQs

Question: How do you automate bookkeeping tasks?

Answer: You can automate your incoming transactions by linking your payment processor accounts to the accounting application. This creates a built-in integration that helps in tracking the income automatically.

Question: What are the drawbacks of automated bookkeeping?

Answer: One of the major drawbacks of automated bookkeeping is the high level of maintenance required. While the data can be pulled very easily, there is a high chance that it will be miscategorized without proper notes.

Question: Why is it important to keep track of your expenses?

Answer: It is important to keep track of your business’s expenses as it helps in maintaining healthy cash flow, along with tracking tax deductions, budget overruns, and key cost centers.

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The HighRadius RadiusOne AR Suite is a complete accounts receivable’s solution designed for mid-sized businesses to put their order-to-cash on auto-pilot with AI-powered solutions. It leverages automation to fast-track key accounts receivable functions including eInvoicing & Collections, Cash Reconciliation, and Credit Risk Management powered by RadiusOne AR Apps to improve productivity, maximize working capital, and enable faster cash conversion. Affordable, quick to deploy, and functionality-rich: it is pre-loaded with industry-specific best-practices and ready-to-plug with popular ERPs such as NetSuite and Sage Intacct. The HighRadius RadiusOne AR Suite is designed to automate labor-intensive processes while streamlining credit and collections activities for faster AR processing, better cash flow and improved profitability.

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