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Technology Propels Bookkeeping Into the 21st Century

08.31.2016

As Seen in BizTalk in the St. Louis Business JournalIf you are a small business owner or startup founder, it’s likely that you have a love-hate relationship with bookkeeping. Even after implementing an accounting system, there’s a lot of work left to do for business owners and your bookkeeper. “I’m trying to run a company. I’m trying to design my products,” says John Coveyou, founder and director of Genius Games. “I was becoming the bottleneck of everything that was happening within my company, and I knew I needed to remove myself from that process. At the same time, we had very specific accounting needs and we couldn’t keep going without tracking our spending.”

Like Coveyou, Rene Lacerte, founder and CEO of Bill.com, was creating logjams for his finance team when he ran PayCycle due to his demanding business travel schedule. “Rene wanted to be able to approve every bill, but found that he was delaying the team from managing the office in a timely manner,” says Beck Riffs, strategic partner manager at Bill.com.

“Our experience getting the books done in a previous business was frustrating for us and our bookkeeper,” says Jamie Shulman, co-founder and co-CEO of Hubdoc. “They’d be constantly asking us for stuff — bank statements, invoices, bills and questions about transactions.” Shulman says that 30 percent of a bookkeeper’s time is spent on administrative tasks, like requesting and managing documents.

Another pain point that small businesses deal with is time theft.

“Gathering accurate time data for hourly employees is one of the problems small business owners and managers deal with on a daily basis,” says Matt Rissell, CEO of TSheets Time Tracking. “According to the American Payroll Association, an average of 10 minutes of time theft is committed per employee per shift that they work. (That) may not seem like much, but it can drastically eat into your profit margins, which are often tight for small businesses as it is.”

Entrepreneurs have leveraged technology to turn frustration into inspiration and action. The timing couldn’t be better. More accounting systems are moving to the cloud, and businesses are following. As of 2015, 39 percent of businesses used a cloud system, creating the perfect opportunity for new technologies like Hubdoc, Bill.com and TSheets to gain traction and pave the way for more innovations in the coming decade.

“Any small tasks that can be automated, will be,” says Shulman. “One day, Hubdoc will be able to guess that purchases from ExxonMobil should be coded as ‘Vehicle Expenses.’”

Riffs believes that Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology will improve over time. “Today, most OCR services are highly inaccurate and require a high level of human review. As this technology improves, bookkeepers will play less of a role in the data entry process, freeing up more time for other strategic jobs.”

Technology is changing the role of bookkeepers in organizations. “It’s certainly helping bookkeepers move up the value chain and automate away manual tasks like data entry,” says Shulman.
Stern_KarenMamrenko_NataliyaIf you want to learn more about cloud-based accounting systems and apps that can help improve your workflow, click here to register for our QuickBooks Online event series. Learn tricks and tips from QuickBooks experts and see how add-on apps like Bill.com, Hubdoc and TSheets can improve efficiencies in your organization.

If you have questions about your accounting system or QuickBooks Online, contact Karen Stern, Partner in Charge, Entrepreneurial Services Group, at kstern@bswllc.com or 314.983.1204, or Natalie Mamrenko, Manager, at nmamrenko@bswllc.com or 314.983.1315.

STAY TUNED: Every other week our subject matter experts share thought leadership and strategic business advice on the St. Louis Business Journal business blog, BizTalk.

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