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Accuracy and Automation: Best Practices to Make the Most of Your Financial Reporting Processes

Accuracy and Automation: Best Practices to Make the Most of Your Financial Reporting Processes

Busy business owners need automation to focus their limited time to review the financial picture, not generating the data. Creating effective processes can generate efficiencies, streamline procedures, provide better reporting, and ultimately save you time.

Now is a good time to analyze your needs and develop a plan to spend less time on your accounting processes.

Benefits of Accounting Automation

The obvious benefit of having automated financial systems is time savings. By automating your financial reporting processes, you can also benefit in these ways:

  1. There are fewer chances of errors when data is auto-generated, rather than relying on personal interaction and entry by staff.
  2. Financial statements are available sooner, giving busy owners more time to review and react based on what the data shows.
  3. Fraud risk is always a concern with manual entries and processes. Automating processes not only saves time but it also shores up internal control processes, creating fewer opportunities for fraud.
  4. You will create opportunities to take on new service lines or projects, as the automation review process will help you understand where time is being spent. Once you see the time savings, you will be able to reallocate that energy into looking at new opportunities for your business.

(Download Video Transcript)

Assess Your Current Processes and Procedures

Before any changes can occur, you first need to assess your current processes and procedures.

1. Get Feedback

Start by talking with your team members. Ask them what the positives and negatives are for each of the processes they are involved in. What are their wish list items?

2. Understand Equipment Needs

Review what equipment is available for printing, scanning, and viewing. Things like merely moving or adding a printer can be a significant time-saver, avoiding the need for staff to walk to other offices or areas of the business to share equipment. Does your accounting team have dual monitors? If not, they are likely jotting down information and then going into another software to make an entry. Additional monitors are an inexpensive way to create a more accurate process of entering data.

3. Know What Software You Have

Make a list of your current software, how you use each one, and how they interact with each other. This should include your accounting software, payroll systems, POS systems, and Excel worksheets. Detail how much you are working outside your accounting software to generate data and reports. Many companies use only 10% of their reporting software's functionality, so red flag anything you are currently doing outside of your systems for future review.

4. Review Roles

Evaluate the length of time it takes to generate your monthly statements and why it takes so long. Are there a lot of manual data entries or not enough support in your accounting department? Review the roles and abilities of your employees to align duties to the skill sets of your staff. Consider if outsourcing might be the right option to shore up your internal team.

5. Generate a Wish List

And most importantly, consider if you are receiving timely, accurate information. What is your wish list of the information you would like and when do you want it? Work backward from that list to make those reporting goals happen.

If you have any questions about how SVA can assist your business, please contact us.

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Biz Tip Topic Expert: Nancy Mehlberg, CVB, EA

Nancy Mehlberg, CVB, EA

Nancy is a Principal with SVA Certified Public Accountants and helps clients improve their company profitability and protects their interests by clearly understanding their future goals. She works closely and proactively with clients with an emphasis in business and income tax planning and financial reporting.

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