With the influx of mobile devices and increasing computing power for laptops/tablets, bookkeeping should be more versatile and easier to use as compared to 80’s while journal entries were actually made using an 18-column journal. Of course, a lot of readers may wonder what is an 18-column journal.
Lots of Fortune 500 companies have adapted to a paperless accounting environment many years ago. Small business owners may still prefer to hire accounting clerks or an outside accountant to handle their books and records. They think that they can’t afford to use the enterprise systems employed by large companies while hiring someone to do the bookkeeping should be more efficient for small business operations.
However, most of the latest consumer-based, non-enterprise, off-the-shelf accounting software is evolving into a user-friendly and highly automated system which can even work on most mobile devices. Small business owners may still use the older version of some accounting software on their desktops. Those systems could be outdated while demanding heavy human intervention and hardware costs to maintain the proper functioning and operations.
Some of the online accounting software become very easier to use and can be accessed anywhere outside the offices with profound security measure in place. Account receivable and account payable functions can be done 100% electronically while providing a proper audit trail for monitoring and security purpose. The artificial intelligence will now read the info on any documents and translated into data entries within seconds. The actual cost per transaction will be more economical than having it done manually by a person while eliminating most of the human errors in inputting.
Of course, some owners may question what kind of services will then be provided by their own accounting staffs or outside accountant. If basic bookkeeping is automated, the accounting record will be made ready concurrently instead of lagging behind (such as after month end or quarter end). The existing accounting department/team will be more focused on cash management and finance monitoring. Then the outside accountants should be adroit to provide business and financial advice to help the business grow.
In a paperless environment, all the documentation will be accessible online or within the intranet so as to eliminate physical storage space for record-keeping and time spent to retrieve the physical files.
Proper planning and execution are needed for small business owners to switch to a paperless bookkeeping system from their old system. Hardware reconfigurations, realignments of workflows & task assignments, training and testing will be needed for the transitions. The owners, the accounting department, the outside accountants, the customer and the vendors will need to be involved in the planning and implementation stages for proper transitions.
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