Smart lights turn your porch lights on at 6 PM. Smart thermostats turn your heat up just before you get home. Smart plugs turn off major appliances to save energy. All these “smart” things we rely on are the result of automation that exists to add convenience and help us save time.
In your business, automation looks like posting social media updates on several platforms at once or sending upsell messaging to buyers via workflows. But there’s so much more to automation than social media and marketing.
Accounting automation extends the same time-saving convenience to the financial side of your business as marketing automation extends to the promotional. Some sources suggest you can automate as much as 75% of accounting tasks with software. So if you’re not sure accounting automation is right for you, consider the following benefits.
1. It can help you eliminate manual tasks
Automation exists to take tedious to-do’s off your plate. Let’s say you’re selling on an ecommerce website and using a cloud accounting solution like QuickBooks.
At some point, you’ll need to input all your order, return, sales tax, shipping, inventory, and customer data into the accounting software. But sales and returns can happen at any time. So unless you’re working at the speed of your business, let automation do the work for you.
Accounting automation connects all your online storefronts to your accounting software. Whenever you make a sale or accept a return automation sends all that data to your accounting solution as a summarized journal entry or individual line item — and keeps syncing data as often as every 15 minutes.
Even if you only sell on one channel, imagine how much time and energy you could save not typing in every order detail, second-guessing numbers, or finding clerical errors days or weeks later. In fact, this real-time flow of information has saved ecommerce businesses up to 10 hours per week on manual processes.1
2. It can help you expand your sales presence with confidence
Maybe you’ve had your online store for a while and want to expand by selling on a new marketplace, your own site for the first time, or in-person at local pop-ups. Expansion means exposing yourself to exciting new challenges, fees, and buyers.
But if you’re apprehensive about the extra time it will take to manage new channels for all the data entry-related reasons above, look, again, to automation. In some cases, automation can speed up and simplify those initial setup processes.
For example, let’s say you want to list all the products on your website on your new Amazon or Etsy account. You could do that by hand. But if you use desktop accounting software, your automation solution can automatically transfer product listings (including names, descriptions, photos, prices, and quantities) to your new store.
And once you’re ready to sell, the same data-entry benefits apply, even when customers buy from a POS terminal. Automation can give you the confidence to expand your operation, knowing you won’t have to manage more orders or update item counts and prices in several places manually.
Not only do sellers use automation to increase order volumes but they use it to grow by at least two sales channels after just one year.2
3. It can help you record accurate sales tax to ensure compliance
As of the 2018 South Dakota v. Wayfair decision, every state that charges sales tax has economic nexus requirements. When you sell products to customers who live in states outside of yours, you’re liable to collect and remit sales tax under certain criteria.
If you’ve hesitated to expand your sales presence — or start selling online at all — due to sales tax requirements, let automation carry the load. Marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy will calculate, collect, and remit sales tax for you. But many tax compliance tools integrate directly with your website to calculate sales tax in real time, so you don’t have to look up tax rates yourself.
Accounting automation takes that process a step further by confirming that you’ve charged the correct rate and routing the taxes you collect to any bank or clearing account you have in your accounting solution for easy compliance and error-free remittance.
Automation can even help you customize how you manage sales tax in your store. For example, you can select the states where you don’t want to record sales tax. When you ship an item to a customer in those states, the system automatically ignores them when it syncs tax data to your accounting solution.
Let the right tools and tech up-level your business
At its core, accounting automation works around the clock on monotonous, time-consuming tasks that get in the way of growth-centric initiatives like improving product listings, conducting keyword research, developing new product lines, and answering customer queries.
However, the benefits of accounting automation extend far beyond this list. It can manage inventory counts across storefronts, generate purchase orders based on item counts, simplify your sales tax, analyze profitability, and even forecast demand based on past performance.
So whether you’re making the leap from marketplace to a custom web store or just starting an online store, consider the tools and technology that can up-level your business and catapult you to higher revenue.
- Based on a survey of 41 Webgility customers who were asked how many hours they have saved on manual processes or back-office operations since they started using Webgility. Data acquired in November 2023.
- Based on an analysis of over 3,000 subscribers who have used Webgility’s automation for over a year. Data acquired October 2023.