Could you benefit from automating your accounts processes?

 In Business

The vast majority of small businesses are looking to increase the automation of their accounting processes to increase efficiency, according to a new report, but despite this, only around five per cent currently describe their accounts payable and other processes as ‘fully automated’.

The benefits of using automated systems are quite clear, as they can save businesses time and money. According to research firm APQC, 62 per cent of the total cost of the accounts payable process is attributable to labour costs, which is due to a number of factors, such as printing costs and the time required for manual inputs and intervention.

The use of technology in accounting can help streamline a number of different accounting processes, with APQC stating that organisations that automate these processes can save between 60 per cent and 80 per cent on accounts payable alone.

Automating various different accounting and administration tasks, such as invoice approval and data capture, can also potentially free up staff to spend more time adding value to the business.

A huge 97 per cent of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) surveyed said they had firm plans or were at least considering increasing their automation in the future, with 47 per cent currently using semi-automated systems and 47 per cent still relying on pen and paper.

The survey also found that most companies had not yet adopted mobile technology with regard to financial processes. Only 22 per cent had introduced mobile capabilities, such as the ability to authorise invoices via permitted mobile devices. The majority of businesses are thinking about adopting such practices, however, with 40 per cent saying they had firm plans to introduce mobile capabilities in the near future, and 37 per cent saying they were considering it.

Mobile capability was recognised as another way of increasing efficiency and reducing costs, with 24 per cent of respondents saying that adopting mobile functionality would allow them to speed up accounting processes, such as invoice approval, and 22 per cent identifying cost-effectiveness as a principal benefit. Other benefits cited included increased productivity and flexibility.

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