Why you should automate your accounts payables

late payments cost small businesses $3 trillion per year, which means your late payments create a domino effect. Your business will also be subjected to late payment fines.

To avoid the challenges mentioned above, you should automate the accounts payable process.

Accounts Payable Automation 

Automation removes slow and repetitive manual tasks and lets you digitally submit and approve purchase orders and invoices.

However, when making any investment, businesses are more concerned about the return on investment (RIO). Rest assured that through automation, you can achieve ROI through reduced employment costs, fewer late fees, savings on invoice processing costs, and reduced losses caused by errors, among other non-financial benefits.

Following are the benefits achieved by streamlining the accounts payable workflow through automation:

  1. Get a more accurate picture of your finances – using automation software gives you access to reporting capability that makes it is easy to get a quick overview of business spending.
  2. Have a better command over cash flow – manage cash better with the help of reports that can be created and reviewed in real-time, which improves AP team visibility and forecasting. Automation will help in invoice prioritization as well.
  3. Improve user productivity – employees do not have to waste time sorting documents. With the data centrally stored, employees only need to run a query to find the necessary invoice or purchase order.
  4. Enable remote work – using cloud-based software makes remote access possible and enables approvals to be done remotely.
  5. Auditing is easy – all data is stored in a central database and can be easily accessed.
  6. Cost-effective – it enables timely payments and helps avoid unnecessary penalties and interest fees.
  7. Reduce overhead staff costs – automation will help reduce the accounts payable team, with no need to hire more staff even when a business grows.
  8. Dashboard and analytics tools – allow access to separate dashboards for the team and approvers, each using individual login credentials. At the same time, analytics gives a quick overview of the whole process.
  9. No manual data entry – scan documents to capture data and avoid manual data entry.
  10. Standardized accounts payable workflow – ensures consistency even if your business has different teams responsible for handling the invoicing data.
  11. Payment reminders – set your system to have reminders when pay dates are near. This will help avoid late or forgotten payments.
  12. Qualify for discounts – with a smooth workflow, the accounts payable cycle will require less time, and you may qualify for discounts from suppliers for early payments.

Conclusion 

A disorganized accounts payable process can run your business down. Choosing the right AP automation software will help improve accuracy, efficiency, quality and speed for your business accounts payable function. Your business also will have a balance between a healthy cash flow and, at the same time, maintaining a good supplier relationship.

Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing Business Accounting Technology

Is Your Business Ready to Outsource Accounting?

Technology Driven Accounting: How to Prepare Staff for a New Age in Accounting

CPA evolution. This is aimed at incorporating changing skills and competencies in the accounting field. As a result, this will include a new curriculum and new CPA exams expected to be launched in 2024.

Despite the disruption in the accounting field by technology, it has introduced many new opportunities. Consider this: while automation takes care of repetitive tasks, the accountant can devote more time to planning, organizing, and advising. This enables the accountant to add more value to an organization as they focus on major tasks.

However, this advantage will benefit only those who are well prepared in advance and ready for the new form that accounting is taking.

How to Prepare Your Staff for a New Age in Accounting

Change is not always welcome, but preparing your staff in advance will help ensure a smooth transition. Here is how to prepare your staff:

  • Communicate
    Let your employees know the intended changes in roles as well as new technologies that you plan to implement. Employees also can play a role in selecting technologies best suited to your business operations.
  • Mindset Shift
    Help employees accept the technological changes. They need to shift their mindset and accept the changing digital landscape. This will help with expediency and the ability to take advantage of its benefits.
  • Upskilling and Reskilling
    Give employees a chance to enhance their abilities. They also should learn new things to ensure they have relevant skills to continue working in advanced areas of accounting that require innovation, critical thinking, decision making, etc. Where necessary, they could learn basic programming and even basic automation for more advanced roles like data analysis. Gaining new skills will help your business transition from old systems to new ones, without necessarily hiring new staff.
  • Soft Skills
    Accountants now more than ever need to learn non-technical skills so that they can easily interact with people. If they are expected to take up advisory roles, they should be good at problem-solving, communication, relationship skills, business acumen, etc.
  • Emerging Business Models
    Let your staff be aware of new business models, such as microservices, marketplace platforms, and do-it-yourself models. This especially affects accounting firms whose employees need to be creative on how to leverage these models.
  • Positive Culture
    Develop a culture that enables staff to compete at a new level to keep their morale up so they are not worried about losing their jobs.
  • Stay Updated
    Keep everyone up-to-date with trends even when you don’t intend to implement every new technology that comes up. It helps to stay in the loop of what’s happening in the accounting field.

Keeping up with evolving accounting trends and changes will save you from losing clients. Preparing your staff for the new age of accounting will help your business provide value beyond traditional accounting to your clients. This is because you will be serving as business consultants and strategic partners as opposed to simply accounting experts.

Audits in Accounting: Improving Audit Quality with Data Analytics

AICPA introduced data standards to be used for data requests and to ensure production of standard reports from the ERP systems.

Another challenge is the integrity of data fed into the analytics systems, as this determines the quality of the end results. Systems used should be designed around collecting meaningful data. Auditors must also ensure that the conclusions fed into the systems are accurate and correct.  

Although data analytics reduces the sampling risk, it introduces the challenge of getting numerous exceptions, mostly referred to as outliers, that produce results outside audit expectations. This calls for auditors to investigate the exceptions/outliers to determine if they are errors or misstatements.

Conclusion

Integrating data analytics into the audit process greatly improves audit quality and credibility. With rapid advancements in technology, the capabilities of data analytics will continue to evolve, making auditing work even more efficient while maintaining high quality.

Although the adoption of data analytics is dependent on the size of a business, availability of skilled staff is also crucial. To remain relevant in a fast-changing environment, auditors need to advance their skills to effectively use the data analytics tools.

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How Cloud Accounting Helps Small Businesses Gain Competitive Edge

How AI Chatbots are Transforming Businesses

Markets and Markets, the conversational AI market is expected to grow from $4.8 billion in the year 2020 to $13.9 billion by 2025.   

AI Chatbots in Business

AI is no longer reserved for large enterprises only. Small businesses can now leverage conversational chatbots on applications such as Facebook.

The demand for chatbots has been driven by customers who need round-the-clock assistance from businesses. In most cases, businesses are slow to adapt to new technologies – especially because of the related costs. But the many benefits of AI chatbots make it worth adopting. Below are some of the ways that AI chatbots are being used in businesses:

  • Customer inquiries – The bots help reduce customer service workload and can serve customers outside typical working hours. This means there is no need to struggle to manually respond to inquiries as the AI chatbots can be used to automate customer feedback, including in emails. The customers also no longer have to wait a long time to connect with a customer care representative.
  • Personalizing interactions – conversational AI helps personalize interactions relevant to each user. AI chatbots learn the behavior of a client to provide personalized conversations.
  • Data analysis – Businesses have a greater understanding of their clientele once the conversational data is analyzed.
  • Sales representatives – they offer product suggestions for customers who are not sure what they are looking for.
  • Lead qualifying – instant feedback helps keep a prospect interested and eventually turn them into a paying customer.
  • Candidate vetting – Interested applicants converse with the AI chatbot, which then helps to filter for new hires.
  • Free HR staff time – for businesses that have many employees, the conversational chatbots help answer employee questions depending on their job function, geographical location and date. It’s also useful in reminding employees of tasks that need to be completed. This frees time for the HR staff to concentrate on other tasks that help improve job satisfaction and reduce staff turnover.
  • Increased engagement – the ability to answer emails and queries instantly helps keep the customer engaged. This enhances a business brand differentiation.
  • Fast information retrieval – a human can take a long time to retrieve information, especially for an e-commerce or real estate business. AI chatbots easily connect to the database and provide feedback in real-time as they serve as an internal knowledge base.
  •  Integration with other applications – AI chatbots are integrated with robotic process automation, enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management systems to carry out further tasks. Such tasks include booking appointments, filling out forms and making recommendations.
  • Easy scalability – chatbots handle multiple conversations simultaneously. This means that even when a business grows, the bots still handle large volumes of chats without affecting business costs.
  • In digital marketing – businesses are using AI chatbots to support the collection of customer data, new product launches, lead generation, and to increase brand loyalty.

Conclusion

AI technology is continuously progressing and no doubt chatbots will also keep changing.

As with every technology, there are some limitations, such as lack of emotional intelligence that affects the depth and scope of a conversation. This means that there are still complex communications that will require humans.

Nonetheless, having AI chatbots as an additional resource to run a business is a sure way to help boost revenue, improve customer experience, and provide a competitive advantage.

However, before jumping on the bandwagon, it is best to first identify areas in your business where you can deploy AI chatbots.

Business Process Management Systems Provide Variety of Benefits to Owners

BPMS - Business Process Management SystemsAll businesses have one thing in common, and that is processes. Business processes – whether direct or indirect – are crucial when it comes to providing products or services to customers.

Business process management (BPM) plays an important role in enhancing processes and offers numerous benefits to businesses. But imagine what greater benefits can be achieved if you choose to implement a technology product that supports your specific business process management.

Why BPM Software?

First, a little bit about BPM. Business process management was introduced to help accomplish workflow quickly and easily. Simply put, BPM enables users to design, model, implement, automate and analyze business processes of a company or an organization.

Some businesses have been doing things manually or with a number of different software applications. However, the invention of BPM software that came about with the technology evolution allows business processes to be digitized.

With the growing adoption of artificial intelligence, BPM systems are able to offer more. This is because analytics and data can be turned into actionable insights to offer optimized processes. Through machine learning, it is also easy to detect and learn patterns, organize unstructured data, and enhance the user experience with upgraded interfaces that allow voice commands and chatting.

All this is necessary due to high competition, the need to reduce costs, and the need to increase productivity.

Implementing BPM software helps a business design and analyze processes such as employee onboarding, account management, expense reporting, invoice management, customer requests, compliance management, project management, and much more.

Benefits of BPM Software

Apart from the obvious benefits, such as gaining a competitive edge, reducing costs, and improving business agility, BPM software also can provide:

  1. Business process modeling: a visual process design tool that enables you to create and test multiple processes and workflows within your business.
  2. Business rules engine: design business rules and conditions for each business process.
  3. Workflow management: design, test and implement advanced workflows by integrating team members, robust communication, other systems, and data.
  4. Overall visibility of business operations and performance: enhance process automation, allowing you to track how different processes function as well as how they are performing in real-time. This enables necessary improvements.
  5. KPI Monitoring and Measurement: easily monitor and track the performance of different processes.
  6. Integrations: combine various systems from different business domains (both internal and external).
  7. Collaboration: social collaboration software that facilitates effective communication within a company.
  8. Data Analytics: define metrics, get insights in real-time, and run reports on demand.
  9. Produce faster: due to high demands and competition, businesses are required to produce more and at a faster rate. Digitizing your business processes allows for more efficiency.
  10. Scale quickly and easily: as your business grows so do the tasks, causing your workflow to get complicated. A BPM system will help you make necessary adjustments to accommodate the growth.

Considerations Before Purchasing a BPMS

Before purchasing a BPMS because it is popular, it’s important to consider the following: first, define and analyze your business’ key processes. You should also consider your business goals, your budget, return on investment (ROI), future scalability, and deployment options whether on-site or software as a service.

A good BPM system should include a workflow, ease of use, ability to customize and collect data, regulatory compliance, and enhanced business agility.

Final Word

Business process management in any business is vital, and BPM systems are meant to make your business more efficient.

Some business owners might shy away from investing in these systems for fear of high costs. Luckily with cloud computing, you don’t need on-premise solutions – especially if you are a small business. You can choose from available software as a service option.

Businesses today have no option but to work with real-time data that will help in speed, agility, and innovation. This has been especially evident with the global COVID-19 pandemic that has affected many businesses, demanding they have systems in place to deal with unexpected situations.