Money Matters

AutoEntry: An Accountant’s Case Study

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For 63% of accountants and bookkeepers a major pain point is the time-consuming task of manual data entry.

Now Sage Business Cloud Accounting and the seamlessly integrated tool AutoEntry are helping accountants, bookkeepers and their clients take back time and provide a more up to date view of their business with the power of automation.

Sage Accountants Network member Sara Gibb discusses how accounting and bookkeeping practices can benefit by migrating to Sage Business Cloud Accounting and offers top tips to help clients make the switch with you.

The bookkeeper

In just under four years, Sara Gibb has grown her bookkeeping practice from serving two clients in a home office to celebrating the onboarding of her 40th client in recent times. Opening her own offices was one of two big steps that positively impacted Sara’s practice, the other was embracing Sage Accounting.

Besides additional part time support staff during busy periods, Sara is a one-person operation. This required her to look for ways to reduce the time spent on tedious tasks such as data entry that were cutting into her professional hours. As her practice grew and she continued to take on clients in the construction and retail sectors, she recognized that she would need to introduce automation into her bookkeeping practice to continue delivering value services.

Sara took the leap and became familiar with Sage Accounting.

“It was tough in the beginning when you are used to doing things a certain way, and you are comfortable with your system, but I needed to get the work done faster so I can move on to the next client. Moving to the cloud helped me get and give the most value for my wages before I brought on anymore staff, because otherwise I would have been losing money,” said Sara.

Sara’s transition to Sage Accounting involved two journeys. The first was becoming familiar with a new software system and adapting her practice’s operations accordingly.

Secondly, as her client roster grew it became necessary to teach her clients the benefits of switching to the cloud while encouraging them to use tools such as AutoEntry to improve efficiencies in their day-to-day receipt submissions. The ease of use of AutoEntry and its widely available smartphone apps were game changers in winning clients over to the cloud.

I use the reasoning if you can take a selfie and post it on Facebook, then you can use AutoEntry. It’s probably one of the most empowering updates to accounting software in the last decade or so,” she said.

The client

Sara recently celebrated a successful migration of a large franchise client in the retail sector to the cloud. The client’s business comprises two accounts and four very large franchise stores.

Sara would process bank statements running between 40 and 50 pages, plus any other entries the franchises had recorded. On average it took Sara 2.5 days each month to reconcile the accounts of all four locations. This period of time did not include any of the other client requests that would occur throughout the month.

She soon realized that this time-consuming process was hindering her ability to take on new clients or effectively service her existing clients within allocated business hours.

With a number of construction and franchise clients already on her client list, Sara chose the franchise client for migration to the cloud as their complex structure could benefit the most from automation. Now that she has implemented this transition, it will be easier for her to walk clients of all sizes through the transition in the future.

Sara said: “Out of my 40 clients I have 15 in the cloud right now and they’re making my life so much easier. I have a handful of clients that I can’t move to the cloud all at once because this could overwhelm them,” said Sara. “So, this is how AutoEntry comes into play. Now that it can integrate with both desktop and the cloud, it’s changing my life when dealing with receipts for cloud and non-cloud customers. I don’t manually enter anything anymore.”

Immediate benefits of switching to the cloud

Sara had already made the transition to the cloud for her own practice, but she was reluctant at first to move her large franchise client away from a desktop system that they had used for so long. However, according to Sara once the change occurred both she and her client saw the immediate benefits.

  • Sara saw a 50% reduction in the time it took her to reconcile the large clients’ books with the original 2.5 days reducing to 1 day.
  • The client benefitted from having real-time access to their accounts, enabling them to now retrieve information from their accounts from the cloud unaided by their accountants.
  • With Sage Accounting and AutoEntry Sara and her client now have a more accurate and up-to-date view of the business’s financials. Typically a bookkeeper waiting for documents to be submitted manually by the clients prior to processing could be working with a picture of the business 3-12 months behind real-time.
  • Another benefit of embracing the technology, is the knowledge that your practice’s information and your clients’ information is backed up in the cloud. This means that if there is a problem with your primary office hardware there is no threat to the data.

According to Sara’s own experiences, the cloud is an essential backup for accountants, bookkeepers and their clients for when “life happens”. Thanks to Sage Accounting all of her data remains safe and accessible following a hard drive crash and dealing with her 10-month old Labrador puppy that has a taste for receipts.

Ease of AutoEntry

AutoEntry is as easy to use as a phone’s camera app, but it’s the features that clients might not notice that make it invaluable to bookkeepers and accountants while solving clients’ pain points.

Cutting down on human error

All data is extracted and verified during processing with 99%+ of documents needing no further checking. The system learns how clients process invoices and receipts enabling increased efficiencies the more a client uses the service.

Manual match receipts to statements

AutoEntry manually matches receipts to bank statements, helping users reduce the number of man hours typically used when tracking down missing documents. By auto-suggesting which customer/supplier account, nominal and tax codes the client should use, the likelihood of the information being entered correctly the first time is increased.

Going beyond expense receipts

It’s not just good for expense receipts, AutoEntry facilitates the automation of all data entry across a business or practice including, invoices, payments and bank statements. It even allows individual line item capture.

Sara Gibbs’ tips on moving your clients to the cloud

Having successfully migrated her own practice and some of her clients to the cloud, here are Sara Gibbs’ suggestions to convince clients to make the transition.

  1. Migrate your own practice to Sage Business Cloud Accounting first and get to grips with the system and enjoy the benefits before persuading and helping your client.
  2. Don’t put it off. Treat switching to the cloud as something ‘you need to do’ and get all the transition and training done in one go as soon as you can.
  3. Book software demos and app demos with representatives from Sage and AutoEntry. Attend free webinars and training sessions to learn how to get the full potential out of the services.
  4. Have a switchover plan and calendar in place that details which clients will best benefit from migrating to the cloud along with a timeline and strategy to help the transition.
  5. When dealing with clients that are reluctant to make the leap and switch technologies, approach your pitch from a different angle, perhaps with an argument for the positive environmental impact that cloud services provide by allowing firms to go paperless.
  6. If the client isn’t ready to migrate to a cloud-based accounting software solution, introduce them to AutoEntry which also integrates with non-cloud versions of Sage. Upon seeing the benefits of this product, clients could be more open to exploring a migration to a cloud-based system sooner.

Are you a client-serving accountant or bookkeeper? Click here to learn more about how AutoEntry can save your practice and your clients time and money.

Are you an accountant or bookkeeper working for a small business? Click here to learn more about how AutoEntry can eliminate manual data entry.