Automation is something that many, if not all, businesses are thinking about. The ability to streamline certain monotonous tasks in order to free up capacity for your employees is what any business owner would be interested in, but there are still some processes where automation is yet to find appeal.

One such area is manual accounting and as JP Lourens, solutions manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa, failing to automate this aspect of the business is a missed trick.

“As companies realise that manual processes are inefficient, time-consuming and prone to errors, which adds costs to the business, automated processes become more sought after to reduce mistakes and streamline the business,” he advises.

It’s a system that many businesses will be aiming to address in the coming decade, according to the solutions manager.

Here he cites a report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, 55 percent of finance executives and professionals expect the development of automated accounting systems to have the greatest impact over the next three to 10 years.

JP Lourens, solutions manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa.

Several challenges

Looking at some of the issues that arise with sticking to a manual accounting model, Lourens points to five challenges facing this method currently:

Time consuming and inefficient – Manual accounting processes use paper documents and ledgers that take time to sort , record and process through the system.

Prone to errors – Errors can be misspelled names, incorrect account numbers, jumbled numbers or financial figures, and wrong dates or pricing information.

Lack of visibility and control – Accounting involves lots of documents, from bills and invoices to bank statements and other financial information. This can be quite overwhelming and difficult to track in a manual process.

Manual invoice approval process – Invoices and bills require verification by department, project or team expenditure approvers. A manual or “electronic” email approval process is very inefficient.

Lack of security – Paper documents make it difficult to track and monitor sensitive business and customer information.

Where to start

To keep up with the demands of the business, accounting operations need to be more efficient, accurate, secure and have the ability to provide more visibility and control, Lourens notes. While this proves why the automating processes is essential, there is still a lack of knowledge about where to you start?

Here the Kyocera solutions manager has highlighted four areas where a business can focus and begin the automation process:

Accounts Payable (AP) – By automating the manual AP workflows, the process becomes a lot simpler, more efficient and more manageable.

Audit – An audit can be a long and drawn out process when using a manual accounting system. Even just locating specific documents would take time. With an automated system, all the information is available without having to sort through filing cabinets.

Procurement – Automating the procurement process therefore starts with digitally organising and centralising all documents for easy access and storage. This streamlines procurement workflows – resulting in better supplier relationships and hassle-free ordering of goods and services.

Monthly reporting – Automated accounting processes significantly reduce the time spent entering paper documents and checking the accuracy of the information. It allows for a faster, more efficient and more accurate month-end process.

Lastly Lourens says businesses need to start organising their financial and accounting information in one central location. To that end they need to consider implementing an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution.

Naturally he advocates for Kyocera’s ECM solution which, “Stores all sensitive business data with easy access to the information anytime, anywhere,” he concludes.

Head here to find out more about Kyocera’s ECM solution.

[Image – Photo by Joost Crop on Unsplash]