Capturing and processing invoices for bookkeeping is a small task in the bigger picture of accounting today. Yet, it’s enough to make any accountant groan and slow down procedures. It is manual, mundane, paper and time intensive, ultimately affecting the profit margin on client services.
Additionally, the government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative, GDPR and the increasing demand for real-time data from clients is ramping up the need for quicker, seamless and future proofed technology systems.
Combined with constantly evolving technology and stiff competition from more innovative practices, manual processes are no longer a viable option. What’s more, the role of the accountant is shifting towards advisory services as they look to grow their client base while still satisfying their existing clients.
The accountant of today needs tools and effective workflows that will transform their services and unlock time for growth and new revenue.
The future is now, can you keep up?
Not too long ago, accounting and bookkeeping started with combing through bags of receipts and capturing the data. The digital age has eased processes and practices are now slowly embracing automated tax services. Wolters Kluwer UK & Ireland Managing Director TAA, Claire Carter believes that 80% of accounting tasks will be automated by 2020.
According to survey research conducted by Wolters Kluwer in conjunction with Kelley Market Research, cloud technology is the key to reaching a firm’s full potential. Firms that reported growth of over 10% in revenue year on year are moving to the cloud-based model at a higher percentage, with 36% saying they have already implemented.
With the growing availability of digital data from HMRC, compliance will become more commoditised, driving the need for the accountant to step into an advisory role. Digitalisation is here to stay, meaning accountants need to transform their manual processes to digital.
Staying competitive in the cloud
Building enhanced client relationships and business advisory services will mean unlocking significant time automating low value tasks. One option is to consider online tools to save time and increase efficiency.
Wolters Kluwer has developed a tool designed to make data capture easier and immediate. Basecone is an online cloud tool which enables users to capture and upload invoices and other accounting documents directly to their bookkeeping software via an internet browser or the Basecone Spenser app for mobile devices.
Once manual data entry and paper-based services are eliminated, the accountant can capture, upload, review, approve documents and submit expenses in real-time. Basecone gives you full control, instant access to data and can be integrated with Xero, Twinfield and Exact.
“Basecone Flux enables me to approve all my purchase invoices and be productive in places and periods where I would otherwise not have been, like when I am travelling to meetings,” says Robert Searle, Finance Director at Tangmere Airfield Nurseries.
Delayed invoice processing and coding can slow down bookkeeping with unnecessary time spent sourcing documents or actions from relevant people.
Basecone utilises Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to read scanned documents, recognise elements and automatically code them based on previous actions. Basecone does this in real-time with no delay. This unique capability allows you to access your information instantaneously within your accounting system.
Documents can be immediately sent through a controlled workflow to be checked and approved by the client or yourself.
“We have been continually impressed by Basecone’s ability to innovate and improve the efficiency of our relationship with our clients and how we handle their documents securely,” says Jamie Allen, Managing Partner at 4PointZero.
They have been automating data capturing since 2014 using Basecone and have seen a significant increase in efficiency and productivity.
Working in an instant access environment
Manually storing invoices and receipts for the required seven-year period is expensive, risky and restricting when there is a move towards digital record keeping. Moving forward, practices will need to support multiple accounting packages as well as incoming data from the government. Not only that, but they will have to ensure GDPR compliance, meet MTD requirements and, ideally, have access to information in a single place, all while on the move.
Instant access is key to delivering big data analysis and financial advice in real-time. Basecone can automatically store and archive all documents in the cloud, safely and securely and exceeding legal requirements for data retention of seven years. The instant search and recall functions drill straight down to an image of a source document.
IT Director at Old Mill, James Gifford says, “Basecone has saved me hours of time reviewing and approving invoices. It means I can deal with them from my phone from wherever I am without having to be sat at my desk.”
Practice efficiency and growth is a tale as old as time for any business. Automated tools are changing the landscape. With compliance work contributing between 0 and 3% of revenue growth, advisory services are predicted to produce between 30 and 40% in the next few years. Unlocking that potential, practices will need to save significant time and maximise on automating low value tasks. The future growth of your practice lies in automated solutions like Basecone.