How to More Efficiently Manage Accounting Workflows
Stop inefficiencies from running rampant.
Far too many businesses use outdated, highly-inefficient business accounting processes – and accounting departments are no exception. Let us give you tips on how to avoid these inefficiencies in your business accounting.
Tracking and approving expenses, for example, are plagued by dysfunction and wasted time. Consider this:
A salesperson returns from a business trip with a series of paper and electronic receipts for expenses. The electronic documents then need to be printed and all receipts are taped to a standard 8.5”x11” sheet for filing.
Both sets of documents are organized into a single folder and sent to a branch manager for approval, who may question some of the expenses. Any issue is justified by the salesperson and once all items are approved, the receipts are mailed to company headquarters – to be double-checked by an accounting clerk who sends the documents to accounts payable. An individual then files and codes the expense report, and – finally – the salesperson is cut a check.
Count the number of steps that we had to go through just to reimburse a salesperson for standard per diem expenditures. In addition to being a source of frustration for employees, this waste of time can be a huge drain on your firm’s resources.
There has got to be a better way. And there is.
Learn to appropriately delegate roles and plan workflow
Rather than attempting to modify one or two parts of your accounting workflow, it’s necessary to do a deep analysis to really improve things. Mapping out the steps allows you and your team to visualize the complete process and easily spot any inefficiencies which aren’t cutting it.
This workflow roadmap also tells you who should be responsible for what. By clearly defining roles, you get rid of pointless redundancy.
Utilize workflow accelerator technology
Software developers have also produced a suite of programs that make accounting much easier:
Bill routing & accounting
Bill.com is a cloud-based bill payment and monetary transfer system. Capable of making automated payments both electronically and via mailed checks, dispatching electronic invoices, and sending financial reminders, this service should be able to streamline all of your standard invoicing and payment procedures. It’s also capable of syncing with commonly used accounting software like QuickBooks, NetSuite, Sage Intacct, and Xero.
Time tracking, payroll, and job costs
To keep your employees on schedule and figure out how efficient they’re being with their time, you can use a service which incorporates time tracking and GPS locator technology. TSheets, and ExakTime – which are available as mobile apps – possess these features as well as an account-syncing function. These apps efficiently keep up with mobile salespeople and other traveling employees.
Expense reporting & control
Expensify specializes in managing travel expenses, sporting a series of features which make travel accounting easier and business trips cheaper. For example, this product allows users to snap photos of receipts and save them for expense reports. It also features a Price to Beat mechanism which encourages lower spending, and even integrates with other cost-cutting applications used while traveling, such as Uber and Lyft.
Concur is another option. This app also features one-click receipt scanning and similar travel-expense-streamlining features.
Administration & documentation
Hubdoc is designed to incorporate all forms of financial documentation into digital data. It allows you to simply snap a photo of your receipts, scan documents, and forward emails to be digitized. This financial data is then stored in a single, secure hub, meaning you no longer have to go through the tedious process of traditional data entry or filing.
Tying together an efficient workflow is a systematic use of a document storage system. Whether that is using an in-house server or a server on the cloud or other systems SmartVault and ShareFile, it’s important that you have standard naming conventions and have control over who can access which files.
Regardless of which program you use, incorporating these platforms into your accounting process makes it easier to track travel expenses and control costs. Many of them can set limitations on where your employees stay, how much they spend on food and rentals, and more.
Some due diligence required
There are a lot of programs that can streamline your accounting processes. However, make sure to thoroughly research any software or web service before you buy to be sure that it’s right for the specific needs of your business.
Then test one piece of software before committing to it. Fortunately, many programs like QuickBooks and NetSuite offer free-to-use trial packages, so you have some time to make sure the software is right for you.
Accountability is the key to successful change
Implementing some of the best accounting technology and practices is great, but if there is no one making sure it’s used, these tools are pointless. It’s vital to keep your managers up-to-date on any new policies and tech – plus make sure they are overseeing actual adoption.
View your new procedures, programs, and employee roles as a total unit, rather than disparate parts. And integrate every change into a planned-out workflow. Your bottom line (and your employees) will thank you.
Consider Profit Point Consulting as a partner on this journey. Download our free ebook to learn more about the things your CPA probably isn’t telling you … and your bookkeeper doesn’t know.
Profit Point Consulting’s mission is to accelerate the growth of small and medium-sized companies through sound, strategic advice, and proactive financial management. If you need a trusted advisor to help develop and execute your vision, call us at (973) 659-1430 or fill out our contact form.