Business owners spend countless hours on administrative tasks, most notably accounting and tax preparation. While accounting is a vital part of running a business, it doesn’t have to take up all of your time—or at least, not as much as it does currently. As the business world rapidly transitions to digital, business owners are turning to automated accounting software options to improve their administrative and financial processes.
Why Automating Your Accounting Is Beneficial
The idea of uprooting your entire accounting process may seem daunting, but the savvy business owners who have already done so aren’t making this extensive change without reason. Moving to an automated, software-based accounting system holds a variety of benefits that make it an easy choice for many—we’ll walk you through just a few of those benefits below.
As a business owner, your time is valuable, and manual accounting can waste a lot of it. Accounting software solves this issue by providing rapid, automatic data import and calculations, meaning that financial tasks are completed faster—QuickBooks Online users have reported saving an average of 40 hours per month by switching over. Plus, using a cloud-based system means you can access your financial data anywhere, allowing for much quicker insights.
Completing your accounting tasks manually runs the risk of making mistakes, which can lead to hours of cleanup work, lost revenue, or even fines. Luckily, integrating an accounting software into your financial workflow virtually eliminates human error. Best of all, since these software solutions calculate formulas instantly, your financial information will always be up-to-date, preventing you from falling behind on your finances and saving you hours of manual work.
While accounting software isn’t free, it can save you money in the long run. An automated software system removes costly calculation errors, and can even decrease expenses associated with being audited. Additionally, speeding up your accounting tasks reduces the amount of time needed for bookkeeping, allowing you to increase productivity and, as a result, sales. Best of all, you won’t even need to hire an accountant!
Because the automated nature of accounting software saves time, conserves money, and improves accuracy, it’s much more efficient than manual accounting. By moving all of your financial data into one centralized location and automating accounting tasks, you can approach your accounting in a more organized fashion, streamlining the workflow. Ultimately, this will give you more time to focus on the most important thing—operating your business.
If you practice pen-and-paper accounting, you know that the documents associated with keeping track of finances take up a lot of space—most notably because they require an infinite supply of paper. Using an accounting software moves all your data from paper to the computer, removing clutter from your home or office and eliminating the need to use more. This in turn reduces your carbon footprint, making your business more environmentally-friendly.
Preparing and filing taxes can be a time-consuming struggle for small business owners, but it doesn’t have to be. Housing all of your financial data in one place makes finding the information you need for tax filings much quicker—plus, you’ll have the added benefit of knowing that what you’re pulling is correct and up-to-date. Some accounting software even has the ability to handle tax preparation for you, including pulling data and submitting a return.
How to Automate Your Accounting
Now that you understand the importance of automating your accounting rather than keeping it manual, it’s time to start making the transition. Not sure how to get started? We’ve got you covered with four steps to automate your accounting process.
Choose the right accounting software
While the seemingly endless supply of automated accounting software options may feel overwhelming, it just means that you have ample opportunity to find the accounting software that will work best for your business. The first step in choosing the right one is to determine which features are the most important to your business. Here’s a list of some features you may want to consider before you begin comparing accounting software services:
- Bank account syncing
- Third-party integrations
- Tax preparation
- Expense tracking
- Payroll processing
- Invoice customization
- Multi-currency transactions
- Multi-user access
- Mobile access
- Inventory management
- Order syncing
Once you know which features are the most important to you, compare the accounting software options that have those features and find the one that fits your budget. Keep your business’ planned growth in mind—if some features aren’t necessary now, but may be vital to your business within the next few years, you’ll want to make sure your new software includes them so that it can scale with your business. If you’re using Volusion to host your online store, our platform integrates with both QuickBooks Online and Xero. Powered by OneSaas, these apps provide a convenient way to manage your accounts right from your online store dashboard.
Migrate existing data to your new software
Now that you’ve purchased your new accounting software, it’s time to enter your existing accounting data into it. While moving a lot of data into a new system may seem intimidating, the long-term benefits of doing so far outweigh the costs.
Begin by splitting up all of your accounting data into time-manageable chunks. Then, set aside some chunks of time and use each one to input the existing data into your new accounting software. Before you know it, all of your accounting data will be conveniently housed in one place for easy access.
Integrate the software into your everyday workflow
Having automated software is only helpful if you actually use it. As soon as you have the basic aspects of your software set up, start using it for all new accounting-related actions that come up. It may be tempting to go back to your old process to get a task done quickly, but you’ll only create more work for yourself down the line—and besides, the best way to master a new task is through constant practice.
If you have other employees who are involved in the accounting side of your business, make sure you walk them through the software as soon as possible—preferably while you’re learning how to use it. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page with the new process so that tasks can be completed efficiently.
Audit your new process for improvements
After you’ve used your new software for a few months, take a step back and look at how it’s working for your business. Are you saving a lot of time? Have your tasks become easier to complete? Does the software do everything you need it to do?
If the answer is “not quite,” it doesn’t mean that your transition to automated accounting was a failure—it just means that there is room for improvement. Extensive research won’t always give you the perfect answer the first time, and not every software will fit every business perfectly. See if there are any add-ons you can integrate with your software to make it easier to use or streamline your process, then introduce them into your everyday workflow.
Automate Your Accounting Process
No accounting system is perfect, but automating the process with good software can help by improving the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of your workflow, along with countless other factors. Once you’ve taken the steps to automate your accounting process as much as possible, you can sit back, reap the benefits, and let your software do the work for you.
If you are a Volusion customer, consider using QuickBooks Online or Xero and integrating their software with your store to streamline your accounting even more. Both of these apps sync your orders and product data from your store to your accounting software, saving you even more time and effort.