New Automation Tools that Are Ending the Headache of Keeping Your Books
by Greg Rohler, our financial controller and business advisor here at DWUser for the last 9 years
I deal with small business owners all the time who are sick of the distraction of accounting keeping them from their actual business. They usually fall into one of these three camps:
- They’re spending too much time on keeping books, or
- Their system isn’t giving them any good and timely financial info to make critical business decisions, or
- They’re just checking their bank balance online each day and procrastinating on the issue of setting up a long-term solution.
The good news is that automated cloud accounting is rapidly becoming a powerful solution for business owners in all of these situations. These new tools are saving business owners 20%, 30% or even more of the time they previously had to sink into rote bookwork, letting them redirect that time to actually growing their businesses.
Why you may be able to fire your bookkeeper...
The short answer is automation. As a business owner, you really don’t need a bookkeeper to enter simple transactions any more if you have only basic bookkeeping needs. Cloud software (such as QuickBooks Online) can be trained to automatically retrieve the most recent transactions from your bank, transfer them into your books in the cloud, and put them into the proper accounts. After successfully “teaching” the software about your specific business and situation, QuickBooks Online can even enter the transactions directly into your check register for you – all automatically.
How the cloud can help keep you out of hot water with the IRS
For decades, the IRS has taken away many small business owners’ legitimate deductions for entertainment and travel, only because they didn’t have proper records. But that’s changing now. Imagine simply jotting a quick note on that lunch receipt after a meeting and shooting a picture of it with your phone, so that the app and a cloud service (such as Receipt Bank) can take over and enter that information directly into your books along with a copy of the receipt. Just like that, the deduction and all the paperwork is handled. This is just one example of how cloud automation, when used properly, can preserve legitimate business expenses from IRS attack.
The cloud makes it easier to get help from other people
One often overlooked benefit of cloud accounting tools is that it makes it easier to split tasks up so others can help you. In other words, you can use delegation to free up valuable time while still keeping control. For example, bill paying in the cloud (such as Bill.com) allows you to have others help with paying bills, but payments are only issued after you review and authorize them. Best of all, many of the simplified tasks can be performed from your smartphone, whenever and wherever convenient.
Why most users of QuickBooks Online are missing out on all these benefits
First of all, many businesses owners are not using the full power of the QuickBooks cloud software because they don’t even know some features exist. If your QuickBooks Online isn’t set up to do everything it’s capable of doing, then you’re only getting part of what you’re paying for each month.
Secondly, QBO can’t do some of these things by itself. More advanced automation requires integration with outside cloud services such as Bill.com, Receipt Bank and others. When brought together, properly configured and tuned, they achieve the real power and savings of automation.
“With all of these benefits, surely there has to be a downside...”
As great as cloud bookkeeping and accounting are, not all businesses or situations are good candidates for cloud accounting as it is today. That will change as cloud accounting software progresses, but for now some businesses can’t benefit – yet.
Integrating and setting up the specialized applications can also be a challenge. Setting the system up to optimize efficiency for true time savings is often a little tricky.
Also, if you’ve been using desktop accounting software for a while and are comfortable with it, then a fundamental shift of mindset will be necessary to work with online apps like QuickBooks Online. The methods you use to fix bookkeeping problems in the cloud are very different from the approaches that have worked on the desktop.
Given enough time, many business owners can work through all the fine points on their own, but time is the challenge. Additionally, the best sets of add-on tools continue to evolve, so it can be a challenge to stay on top it all.
The real payoff of using automation
The main benefits of automating your bookkeeping are: a) time savings, b) faster access to actionable information, and c) more control over your business and money. All of these lead to better decision making and even peace of mind.
One hidden benefit, and possibly the biggest, is that an experienced advisor can actually help you to think about your business instead of just giving you meaningless numbers. A good advisor will be spending his or her time assisting you to spot trends, opportunities, possible problems, and money leaks in your business… instead of just digging documents and punching numbers into the computer.
Is there a way I can learn more about cloud accounting?
As a certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor, I have worked with dozens of small businesses over the last 15 years, helping them develop streamlined bookkeeping systems that empower them to grow their businesses. For DWUser clients, I’m offering a complimentary Cloud Accounting Strategy Session to help you determine the opportunities to automate your business’s financial processes.
Your 20 minute strategy session with me includes:
- You sharing all about the particulars of your business and any specific challenges that you want to address. I’ll take notes and email you a summary of our discussion.
- We’ll discuss whether cloud accounting is right for your situation, and any potential opportunities to use technology to streamline bookkeeping, billing and payment processing in your business.
- We’ll also discuss options available to you for moving forward, if that’s what makes sense for your business. You’ll receive a summary of our discussion so you can use it as the first step in putting together your game plan.
You can request your free session right now:
The artificial intelligence revolution is affecting all areas of business, and accounting in no exception. The new tools available are making it simpler and easier to focus on your actual business, and have better numbers for making decisions along the way. See what these tools can do for you today!