From XU Magazine, 
Issue 22

Why moving your practice accounts to the cloud with an integrated solution will boost your bottom line

Every practice partner will often task their teams with the objective to find efficiencies and reduce wastage in the practice. Their goal is to improve the productivity and profitability of the practice. Two of the biggest culprits within this process are data entry and reconciliations across disparate software.

Manual data (re)entry is a routine activity with a corrosive effect on your efficiency. Can you confidently say you can increase your current capacity, reduce errors and increase your face time with your clients without a centralised data system or automated processes?

Whether you are unlocking time to develop new services, attract new clients or looking to improve your cash flow, it’s an opportunity to look closely at your own practice accounting processes. Keeping the question, “Is my bookkeeping as productive as it could be with the right software?”, front of mind will reveal what is really hampering your efficiency.

What is holding back your practice?

Manual data entry, getting paid on time and too much time spent on producing practice accounts are common culprits where this question is concerned.

What we regularly hear from practices is that time recording, billing and the sales ledger tasks are dealt within one product while the purchase ledger and bank reconciliation is held in a separate product. The management accounts will be produced in one of these systems (or perhaps even a third product). The status quo is this disparate way of dealing with your practice’s accounts.

With this approach, the risk of error is high, due to the amount of data that must be manually entered and linked in disparate systems.

What’s more, without a centralised data entry point that integrates data across the suite, there isn’t a single source of truth. One staff member might trust your tax software over the accounts data while another will consider the accounts data the primary source. Another key factor is the reconciliation of data between systems.

For example, manually sending out debtor statements at the end of the month will add unnecessary delay to your practice receiving payment for the services you have provided. The reminders and chasers in the weeks that follow require your team to manually monitor the responses.

Efficient use of resources and time, cash flow and accuracy are three non-negotiables in a practice. But they are so often undermined by inefficient, standalone systems with limited on-premise functionality.

Digitalisation is here - the time to prepare is now

We have seen many practices are reviewing processes which are ripe for automation. Adopting an integrated software suite which includes cloud accounting for your practice accounts will eliminate manual processing and enable your practice to manage processes by exception.

What’s more, new disruptive firms are entering the market, using automated tools to complete more work in less time both in compliance processes and the back office, thereby reducing costs with the capacity to undercut traditional practices and remain profitable.

Even if you are using sophisticated disconnected software to automate, siloed applications leave room for wasted productivity and will lack the real-time visibility across all areas which efficient practices need to operate today.

An integrated suite can drive processes like data capture across the solutions automatically, rather than you needing to update spreadsheets or standalone products. You will then be alerted to any abnormalities on invoices, duplicated invoices or incorrect bank feeds reducing the risk of these going unnoticed.

Moving your practice accounts to the cloud

The future of managing your own practice accounting processes is in the cloud. Moving to the cloud means streamlining and digitalising key processes to unlock dead billable time, as well as integration, consolidation and access from any device.

Working in the cloud ensures reliability, mobility and increased profitability. Cloud accounting automates key tasks and eliminates wasted time on installation and updates.

Cloud accounting software is not reliant on the device or storage on that device. Data is instantaneously available from anywhere to both you and your clients with the right software. Moreover, it provides a higher level of security than on-premise with additional levels of encryption.

With that in mind, how do you combine your integrated suite with cloud accounting software to futureproof your practice processes and make you more profitable?

Making the most of the power of integration

Integrating your software onto one centralised system means you can intelligently share information wherever and whenever it’s needed, boost efficiency and ensure a single source of the data.

You no longer need to open different applications, extract data, combining it and format it manually to build a snapshot of information which will soon be out of date. Instead, simply drag and drop whatever you need onto your own home page and watch it update in real-time.

Integrating your practice management system with your accounting processes is key to building a future fit practice. CCH Practice Management and Twinfield from Wolters Kluwer is now fully integrated. Together with Basecone, you can create a fully integrated experience, with an effortless approval workflow to manage both your purchase and sales ledger from one location.  

Start with effortless data capture

Basecone is an online cloud tool which enables users to capture and upload invoices and other accounting documents directly to Twinfield via an internet browser or the Basecone app for mobile devices.

Basecone utilises Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to read scanned documents, recognise elements and automatically code them based on previous actions in real-time. The Basecone App enables you to approve all your purchase invoices and be productive in places and periods where you would otherwise not have been, like when you are travelling to meetings with clients.

Once manual data entry and paper-based services are eliminated, your employees and clients can capture, upload, review, approve documents and submit expenses in real-time. What’s more, if you complete the books for your clients, you can make it easy for your clients to submit receipts and invoices as they receive them, using the app or an email address. You will no longer need to manually process the receipts as the OCR automatically codes them for you.

Basecone gives you full control and instant access to data in Twinfield. Twinfield easily manages all you practice accounting functions, from invoicing to management accounting. It is a true cloud accounting product with the experience and functionality that growing practices and their clients need to future-proof their accounting processes.

Twinfield is multi-company, multi-language and multi-currency, meaning you can instantly see a company’s financial position in the currency of choice, as well as produce international group reports in the designated reporting currency from a single location.

Bringing your purchase ledger and sales ledger onto one system

Add CCH Practice Management to the process and you have created a full online approval workstream with no manual intervention needed. Bills, sales information and employee expenses from CCH Practice Management flow into Twinfield, and customer receipts from Twinfield’s bank feeds synchronise into CCH Practice Management where they are automatically allocated.

Once receipts and invoices have been fed into Twinfield through Basecone, the purchase ledger can also be managed within Twinfield, management accounts and rich reports produced are produced and the figures can be passed to CCH Accounts Production for statutory accounts, if you have the integrated suite.

The integration also enables you to control WIP and increase productivity with CCH Practice Management where you can see the progress of jobs, time spent on them and remaining budget. CCH Practice Management alerts you about possible time drains or overruns ahead of time so you can plan more effectively.

The integration also enables you to create bills quickly and easily, and automatically publish them to CCH OneClick. The automated credit control processes improve cash flow and profitability.

Live bank feeds in Twinfield feed into CCH Practice Management which can then automatically match cash or receipt against debts. You can then manage your expenses in Twinfield or CCH Practice Management.

This partnership creates a single online accounting product for managing your practice and figures without needing to re-key or export sales figures.

Optimising your processes for the future

Whether you complete your own practices accounts, or you provide bookkeeping services for your clients, speeding up your practice’s accounting processes can ultimately impact your bottom line.

The best question to consider when assessing your practice’s productivity is: Is your practice in the best digital shape to take on the competition? Maximising the efficiencies of your existing processes with an automated, integrated accounting system will create an efficient, outsourced finance function that keeps overheads down while monitoring performance and profitability.

Why leave it there?

For more information watch on of our on-demand webinars

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