Writing up the books and records of any business can be a chore for some. A few choose not to write up anything at all and are still at the carrier bag or shoebox stage. For others, such as bookkeepers, it provides a living. Are there any that really “love” writing up their accounts, chasing in the debts etc?
The computerised accounts packages have over the years added features to make it easier to raise invoices; the ability to type a short product code or part of a code, select the correct item and have the full description entered onto the invoice is just one simple example. However the invoice still needed printing to paper and putting in the post – both a costly and time consuming exercise. The ability to print to PDF and email the file took away the postage costs from the equation – but still did not prevent the recipient from deleting it (either on purpose or inadvertently) or claiming not to have received it.
The invoice still needed making paid in the accounting system when the funds were received into the bank.
So how automated can we make our systems now and is this scenario below ultimate in writing up the books…..?
In many businesses, the model is for monthly regular invoices. This may be for subscriptions, services provided on a quarterly/monthly basis etc. It may be the accountant on a fixed fee agreement and invoicing on a regular basis.
It is possible to set these up as recurring transactions which are produced on the same date every month. It can be set so that approval is required before sending but equally it can be set so that the invoice is automatically generated and emailed out to the recipient. This will automatically be posted to the sales ledger. The recipient clicks on a link to view or download the actual invoice. If the recipient is using the same accounting software it can appear as an invoice for approval in his purchase ledger with the amounts etc already entered leaving him just to allocate to the appropriate code.
The accounting software can be linked to an add-on which provides direct debit facilities. The direct debit software can be set to interrogate the accounting software debtors list on a daily basis, identify those debtors where there is a direct debit in place and automatically collect the funds form that debtor on the due date. It then takes it a stage further and posts the receipt against the debtor on the sales ledger and the charge for this service to bank charges.
The cash collected is shown as a “bank balance” in the accounting software. When these funds hit the main business bank account there is one click to confirm it as a transfer from the direct debit bank account to the main bank account. The entry in the main bank account appears there from an automated bank feed.
That is it – no manual intervention until the very last stage and then just one click. The accounts are all up to date, the bank is reconciled, debtors are under control – just set it up and forget about it.
We have clients already doing this ….! When I described this at a recent presentation I was asked if it were possible for the software to actually do all the work that was being billed for as well! I think that is a stage too far…..
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