business 5 Finance Processes to Automate Now September 11, 2023 For growing businesses, administrative resources are often stretched thin, and finance and accounting staff are wearing multiple hats to support the needs of the business. How can AI and automation help? We explore here. Finance and accounting processes can be tedious and time-consuming, and it’s easy to put these tasks on the back burner as other business demands have more immediate urgency. However, inefficiencies in finance processes can impact your bottom line in ways not immediately apparent. Automation is an important part of the solution, as it reduces error and frees up finance resources to focus on oversight and driving your business forward. 5 ways automation can help 1. Invoicing Customers - Having a timely and effective billing process is essential for the health of your business, and finance teams that excel in this area discover opportunities to increase profitability and improve cash flow. However, for many organizations their billing processes are inefficient and often delayed, which increases the time between the sale and conversion to cash. Opportunities to optimize pricing are often missed as well, because the focus is on catching up and getting billing "out the door". Using QuickBooks online, you can effectively automate the following tasks: Converting customer quotes to invoicesScheduling recurring invoicesImplementing price increasesEmailing invoices / online invoicesOnline payments (e.g., ACH, credit card, Venmo, PayPal)Reminder notices for past due accounts 2. Applying Customer Payments- For businesses that generate a high volume of invoices, recording customer payments and applying to the correct invoice can be time consuming and prone to error. Inaccuracies and untimely resolution of issues can lead to delayed payment and in some instances bad debt write-offs. Unapplied payments are a red flag that there are issues with the cash application process. Third party applications, such as Bill.com or Versapay, can be using in conjunction with QuickBooks Online to capture customer remittance information and match that information to the correct customer invoice. These applications use API (Application Programming Interface) to connect directly with QuickBooks Online, and the efficiencies they provide can be substantial for many businesses. 3. Bill Payment- For most businesses, the bill payment and expense recording process is the area with the greatest opportunity to create efficiencies through the use of automation. With automatic data extraction and expense categorization you can significantly reduce the time for data entry and risk of error. Automation can also be used to improve internal controls in the bill payment process, such as reducing the risk of a paying an unapproved invoice. Applications such as Bill.com, Expensify, and Tipalti, integrate with QuickBooks Online and help streamline the bill payment and expense classification process. Tasks that can be automated effectively now include: Data extraction (electronic invoice or scan)Document storageProcessing of invoicesCoding and classification of expensesTwo or three-way match (purchase order, receiving report, invoice)Electronic routing and approval of purchase orders, invoices, expenses reports, etc.Electronic initiation and signature approval of payments 4. Financial Reporting- Utilizing memorized reports in QuickBooks Online is an effective way to create consistency in your financial reporting process, and these reports can be tailored to specific business needs. Once a report is set up and saved, it can be run automatically at designated intervals, reducing effort and ensuring consistent reporting. Also, this feature lends itself to the tracking of key financial metrics and evaluation of business performance, helping to transform the reporting processes into a proactive, strategic function. 5. Bank and Credit Card Reconciliations- Reconciling bank statements manually can be a tedious and time-consuming process. QuickBooks Online simplifies this process by automatically importing and categorizing transactions, drastically reducing manual data entry and risk of error. Regular reconciliation helps identify discrepancies such as duplicate entries or unrecorded transactions. Moreover, regular reconciliations improve the accuracy of financial reports, leading to better business decisions. Need help evaluating your finance processes or implementing automation solutions? Contact our CFO Services team.