Article by Pam Chilman, longstanding software consultant and automation specialist. August 2015
There has been a lot of talk around automating your bookkeeping tasks and saving money on such tasks. Some have even suggested reducing the need for bookkeepers, so this month we consider such claims.
When considering automating your bookkeeping, I suggest the starting point is to consider and reflect on what bookkeeping means today. For example in some organisations it refers to volumes of data entry work, including entering bills, quotes, invoices, payments and other entries in to the bookkeeping software that is in place. For others bookkeeping is bringing together the data entry work, with Bank Feeds to speed up bank reconciliations, producing financial position reports, KPIs and providing updates on the overall position of the organisation... not to mention payroll management, integrating systems, budgeting and financial reporting and running the team in the office...... and the list goes on!
Automation, as it relates to bookkeeping, can simply be making full use of technology that allows such features as Bank Feeds to speed up bank reconciliations, or make payments electronically (if still using cheques) or more recently using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software that automatically scans and reads the information on dockets and bills, saves on data entry, and feeds in to your accounting software, leading to that paperless office that many have been aspiring to, and thought would never happen.
When taking on staff or contract bookkeeper, the expection of skills now tends to be more than data entry work alone, with advancements in technology and the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping qualification considered the standard for bookkeeping work. The bar has been raised and expectations are higher, highlighting skill gaps in some bookkeepers who have not taken the time each year to keep current and relevant. With the speed in which technology is changing the face of bookkeeping, some run the risk of being left behind in the workforce, failing to keep up to date with the latest technology and features in products - I am often amazed with the advancements in the various software products that many are not embracing, and with the advancements in technology also brings learning to our desktop with topic specific, online learning sessions. So unless you live in a remote location with no internet and no reading materials, there can be few excuses left not to keep up to date with both technology and learning.
For example our Mastering MYOB (with Xero and QBO to follow) series of 3 x 1 hour online sessions, allows all levels of bookkeepers to skill up in the latest technology in MYOB that can assist bookkeepers with their day to day tasks on managing the finances, from any location at any time (or attend live for Q&As).
I challenge you to consider what bookkeeping includes in your organisation and to learn what is now possible to automate and improve, to skill up your bookkeeping staff, including those that bookkeeping is only one part of what they do. Who would have thought that you could automate data entry, to have your Debtors chased up for you, to store and share documents without having to file paperwork, or pay your superannuation obligations paid and reported on at the click of a button!
Brash statements have been thrown around about replacing bookkeepers from such automation, and whilst some aspects can be automated.... for example, what a wonderful timesaver is the automation of paying and reporting superannuation, there will always been a need for bookkeepers, albeit with updated skills. For those concerned about the impact on their role, remember change is inevitable, and day to day tasks will change and evolve due to technology. Research found that bookkeeping and accounting are two of the most likely roles to be automated in the next 5 - 10 years....not to be replaced, but definately will see some changes, as there will always be a need for bookkeepers, but consider how, with this digital disruption how the roles might change what you do each day.
Ensure the products you use are keeping up with the latest advancements. When you are ready to skill up your bookkeepers to work with the latest software, or need your product considered to ensure it is still catering for your needs, contact the team at AMC for an independent review of your systems. Solutions available for start-ups through to larger, growth organisations. Contact us today to discuss options on 02 6215 9710 or email to put forward your challenges.
And skill up with Mastering MYOB (or Xero and QBO in October) series of 3 x 1 hour online sessions