How accounting workflow automation can support clients

Did you know that 91% of accountants say that accounting technology has increased their productivity? 

Optimising your workflow with automation not only helps you manage your daily workload better, but can also allow you to manage client accounts more effectively. The more efficiently you serve your clients, the more likely they are to stay with you and spread the word about you to others.

This guide will cover:

  • How workflow automation impacts accounting today
  • What accounting tasks can be automated
  • How automating these tasks can help accountants support clients
  • How accountants can automate workflows with Countingup

How does workflow automation impact accounting today?

To give you an idea of where the accounting and finance industry is today in terms of accounting automation, we’ve compiled some interesting stats below:

  • 83% of accountants agree that investing in the latest technologies is necessary to keep up with the market.
  • Automation is one of the top emerging technologies accountants and accounting firms currently adopt and invest in.
  • 60% of large firms plan to invest more in technology in 2021, while 41% of small firms and 38% of mid-sized firms plan to do the same.

How can accounting workflow automation support clients?

As an accountant, you have to juggle numerous clients and tasks simultaneously, which can become overwhelming at times, we’re sure. Automation helps take the burden off you for some of them, so you can focus on nurturing client relationships and other ‘human’ tasks.

Some of the most useful tasks to automate are as follows:

Accounts receivable and payable (AP/AR)

Research shows that professionals who automate invoice capture and payments for their accounts payable processes can save an average of one hour per day. Systems like Countingup have a number of features that allow you to manage client AR and AP accounts easily. 

The system will improve these accounting tasks in the following ways: 

Accounts payable: 

  • Extracting data from invoices
  • Storing that data in the accounting system
  • Forwarding information to relevant stakeholders for sign-off
  • Processing payments

Accounts receivable:

  • Creating and sending invoices on the go
  • Sending late payment reminders to clients so they can perform credit control
  • Collecting payments 
  • Depositing the money directly into their Countingup business current account

Leveraging automation will help you stay on top of these procedures and save you from wasting unnecessary time chasing up information. Instead, you have everything you need in one interface, so you and your clients can stay on top of AR and AP to ensure nothing gets missed. 

Payroll

If your clients have staff, they probably have to spend some time sorting through employees’ hours, tax documents and tax rates. Whether your clients have workers with fixed pay rates or freelancers paid by the hour, automation tools can help:

  • Sync with time-tracking applications (like DeskTime) to calculate wages
  • Automatically handle payroll taxes and filings 
  • Transfer money directly to employees’ bank accounts

HMRC has a basic PAYE tool your clients can use to manage payroll.

Expense management

Trying to rummage through piles of unprocessed receipts and bills can be incredibly time-consuming. Luckily, accounting workflow automation tools can speed up the process significantly, minimising errors at the same time.

Tools like Countingup make it easier to gather, forward and manage expenses. For example, clients can simply take a picture of their receipt right after making a purchase using the app’s Receipt Capture tool. The tool then extracts the data and forwards it to the accounting software, which then matches it to the relevant payment to help with bookkeeping.

This type of automation minimises the risk for lost or smudged receipts since your clients can capture and store them instantly before anything can happen to them. As their accountant, you can then access their expense account (once you’re connected to their Countingup account) through the accounting software. The real-time information will help you get their accounts together quickly and accurately.

Taxes and financial statements

Did you know that 90% of small business owners were under pressure to close their monthly financials quicker?

Tax season can be a very stressful time for your clients, especially if they don’t have efficient systems in place for managing their income, expenses, AR/AP, and so on. Unorganised client accounts can also cause a massive headache for you since you can’t file their tax returns without the necessary information.

If your client (and you, by extension) rush to gather key documents and numbers, you could encounter issues with:

  • Keeping up with tax reductions
  • Identifying and correcting mistakes
  • Removing duplicate documents and items 
  • Identifying unknown payments 
  • Retrieving missing invoices and receipts
  • Transferring data from one app to another

You can automate these tasks using native features in your software or automation platforms. Countingup also generates tax estimates, which can help you and your client to make a plan that ensures they can afford to pay their dues.

Reporting and cash flow forecasting

The accounting profession has evolved past simple number crunching. These days, accountants are expected to double as business advisors, delivering insights and helping to drive strategic company decisions. Because of this, it’s more important than ever for you to be able to gather and present data in a compelling and clear way. 

Since data is usually available within accounting systems now, you can easily set up automated workflows to gather this information for you. For example, Integromat allows you to connect apps and automate workflows to move information between systems.

An even easier way is to use Countingup’s Accountant Hub and connect to your client’s Countingup accounting software directly. The system also features cash flow insights to help you with forecasting. 

As technology evolves, more and more solutions will likely enter the market. There’s no need for you to waste time using outdated and slow systems anymore. Leveraging accounting workflow automation will help you stay proactive and efficient and improve your customer service to boost client retention and build your credibility.

Automate your accounting workflow with Countingup

You can save your practice time on manual admin and help your clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software. It’s built specifically to help you manage your self-employed and sole trader clients.

The app automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for your clients so they can focus on running their business—and send you accurate, structured data to work from. 

Countingup’s accounting software is MTD-compatible and full of features for you to efficiently review and manage client accounts with direct access to their real-time organised data. Find out more here.

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