There is no denying the fact that one of the biggest frustrations of business owners is manually entering data into the books. It’s one thing that it takes away precious time that could be spent on more important tasks, but all it takes is one overlooked or erroneous data entry in the books and the results could be catastrophic.
So unsurprisingly many business owners consider online accounting software to be true lifesavers, even though these solutions can only really be considered semi-automated. However, the beauty of online bookkeeping is that there are plenty of ways with which data entry can be reduced to the absolute minimum.
Option 1: Outsourcing
The simplest way to minimize manual data entry is by outsourcing the task to others. Whether you choose to use freelancers, interns, or the company’s own accountant, there are plenty of ways to keep those books accurate.
Though it’s a great opportunity for people to earn some money by putting data into a program, remember that this method still doesn’t eliminate human error. As such, this approach should be applied with caution; one or more employees should always double-check the data once it has been entered into the software.
Option 2: Importing Spreadsheets
Even though it’s much less convenient than online accounting software, there are still plenty of businesses that manage their books by using spreadsheets. The main reason behind so many still relying on this outdated bookkeeping method is that many people are afraid that in moving their accounting to the cloud they will have to start everything from scratch.
Thankfully, that’s far from the truth as online accounting programs are more than capable of importing spreadsheets and putting the necessary data into their relevant places – at least provided that the data is first entered into a .CSV file created by the company behind the chosen solution. Additionally, there is also the option to use spreadsheets and accounting software in tandem, but this approach isn’t worthwhile at all since the latter has particular ways of eliminating a great deal of manual data entry.
Option 3: Exploiting the Accounting Software
Using an accounting program is already a huge step towards achieving automation of bookkeeping but actually there are plenty of features within these solutions that can further eliminate manual data entry.
For instance, cloud accounting apps can be linked to the business’s bank account, allowing users to see the company’s balance and reducing their work to just reconciling transactions. The time spent on invoicing can be significantly reduced, too, as not only can client information be added to the invoice automatically but there is also the option to speed the process up by creating recurring invoices or turning an estimate into a ready-to-send invoice.
Expense management, on the other hand, is taken to the next level. Most accounting solutions provide apps that can create expense entries by processing the information found on receipts captured with the mobile device’s camera. However, business reports are fully automated, always kept up to date with the latest modifications made to the books and can be checked at any time by the business’s bookkeeper who can make any necessary corrections as well.
Option 4: Automation via Integration
One of the major, often overlooked advantages of online accounting solutions is that almost all of them offer and support an API, which allows other cloud-based tools to be integrated into the accounting software. In fact, in many cases when integration is involved there is virtually no need for manual data entry anymore because the moment a task is performed in any of the integrated solutions, a corresponding action will be triggered in the online accounting software. And the more of these third-party apps that are integrated, the fewer the tasks that need to be done within the accounting solution.
But what’s more amazing is that accounting software can work in tandem with practically any kind of third-party tools, whether that is a CRM, inventory management software, a time tracking app, or anything else that could replace or complement default features.
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