The Role of Technology in Modern Bookkeeping Practices

By Kaleem Ulah

November 20, 2023

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After so many years, we've come a long way in managing finances and keeping accurate books. As practically all transactions are now conducted digitally, the concept of a physical receipt is becoming increasingly old and archaic. In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the employment position due to the increasing automation of many activities.

You can do many different things to make your life easier, including doing some of your bookkeeping. However, One of the questions that will surface because of digital bookkeeping is, what is now the role of a bookkeeper if they can do everything with machines? A lot! In this article, we will explore the role of bookkeeping services in the digital age and how bookkeepers can balance their jobs manually and digitally.

What are bookkeeping services?

Bookkeeping involves organising, categorising, and preserving a company's financial records. Keeping track of an organisation's overall financial health requires financial record keeping of its transactions and retaining the related documents. Most firms today maintain their financial records digitally using a straightforward spreadsheet or more complex and comprehensive accounting software.

When a reliable bookkeeping system is in place, companies can access the knowledge and data that empowers them to make the most prudent financial choices. When financial records are precise, carrying out tasks like budgeting, preparing for the following fiscal year, and preparing for tax time is much simpler.

The impact of digital technology on bookkeeping services

Technology has affected all business sectors and the bookkeeping sector is one of them. Before the invention of computers, bookkeepers had to manually reconcile the financial papers they handled with paper ledgers using calculators. In the past, records were less accurate than today's, and it was challenging to spot mathematical mistakes. Nowadays, the roles of a bookkeeper have changed drastically because of the advent of digital bookkeeping. The introduction of computerised bookkeeping technology resulted in significant shifts within the profession. After the widespread use of bookkeeping software, the most dramatic advances in technological capabilities happened.

The most significant effect that any of the developments in information technology have had on the bookkeeping profession has been the introduction of software. In the second half of the 20th century, companies in the technology industry produced cutting-edge spreadsheet software that bookkeepers could use on personal computers. With the help of spreadsheet software, public bookkeeping professionals could devote more attention to finding answers to more complex problems and spend less time performing mundane activities.

The first versions of spreadsheet software opened the way for later, more complex technological developments, including software to automate accounts payable and payroll and tax preparation tools. By extracting the necessary information from financial documents and inserting it into a database, automated accounts payable software eliminated the need for human data input, freeing users from the burden of manually fulfilling this task.

Comparison of traditional bookkeeping services vs. digital bookkeeping services

Bookkeeping that is done digitally, also known as online bookkeeping or virtual accounting, uses specialist software that enables businesses to retain their financial and tax records remotely. This is an accounting tool that offers the highest possible level of automation, a large number of tips, and other features. Digital bookkeeping is equivalent to using software pre-installed on computers used in businesses for a considerable time. The fact that the bookkeeping and management of the company's finances are done online is the primary distinction between this method and traditional bookkeeping.

To begin, a service of this kind benefits small businesses, particularly newer ones, that may need help employing full-time accountants. The cloud service is intended to assist business owners in resolving their financial issues without the assistance of a consultant or other expert in the field. Cloud services are becoming increasingly popular among large businesses to streamline their workflow. You need to maintain records entirely online if you use software that simulates bookkeeping. They make it possible to make payments, generate primary paperwork, create reports, and send them electronically to the appropriate parties.

In a digital bookkeeping setting, all interaction and data exchange occurs online. This strategy is more cost-effective since it continuously lowers the prices and expenses of employing a new worker and provides the company with more flexibility for growth. In addition, using this type of bookkeeping is less risky and requires less time than using more conventional accounting techniques.

The advantages of technology in bookkeeping

Digital bookkeeping has done more good than bad for all bookkeepers worldwide. Below are some of the benefits of digital bookkeeping services.

1. Real-time financial information

Digital bookkeeping makes it easier for business financial transactions to be recorded in real-time without wasting time. Traditional accounting could never be faster than real-time accounting as it involves arduous data collection. Automating operations and ensuring that your financial information is correct are two benefits of using real-time accounting. It makes use of descriptive statistical references and makes use of raw data to produce statistical analysis. These data analytics can benefit large and small companies, helping them save on personnel costs and develop long-term strategies. Thanks to this automated process, your staff can decode the data and make better judgments based on the information they can access.

2. Automation of manual tasks

In the payroll department, a significant amount of the work consists of the time-consuming manual typing of invoices and subsequent processing. To reiterate, there are a ton of brand-new programs that will provide you with automated billing for all of your requirements. Increasing the speed at which you can prepare and send out invoices and transactions while requiring the lowest amount of information from you as the sender can hasten getting paid. Since having unpaid invoices can be problematic for smaller organisations, this can be a significant consideration for cash flow. 

If a company chooses to pay you later than expected, you may even program in automatic late payment fees. Implementing recurring bills for the services you deliver monthly is one of the best features to adopt. Because these are already set up, you won't need to keep producing a dozen copies of the same invoice at the end of each month like you would if they weren't. This ultimately results in more of a situation similar to direct debits, which makes the entire procedure significantly less uncomfortable.

3. Increased efficiency and productivity  

The recording of daily transactions, the generation of reports, compliance with tax legislation, and the understanding of tax deductions are tasks that most business owners can't handle. With the assistance of accounting software, the bookkeeper's job description remains to complete all of these jobs promptly and accurately. Because the recordkeeping system automates these processes, there is no need for manual labour to be performed to complete them. Since a computer performs the computations and tabulations, there is no room for error in either of these processes.

Work that previously required no less than several hours can now be completed in minutes with little supervision required. Because the information is digital, small business owners can retrieve and analyse financial data from previous and current fiscal years. Thanks to the information provided, they enable them to make intelligent business decisions and investments. It frees up their time, which can be applied to other equally important activities.

4. Secure data storage and backup

Using software that is hosted in the cloud is the simplest way to ensure the safety of the company's financial information. The information that is under classification is extremely sensitive and must not be shared with the general public in any way. The software employs encryption methods, which protect the data from being accessed by hackers and other security flaws.

Because they are performed in real-time, real-time updates ensure that the data are always in sync and safe from outside interference. The rapid expansion of criminal activity online has been a source of worry for smaller companies, particularly those operating online. Any breach can result in the destruction and loss of data, significant financial losses for the company, and a loss of its consumers' faith. The data backup and full security features the accounting software provides are also helpful.

The future of bookkeeping services in the technology age  

Today's bookkeepers are required to have an outlook that is focused on the future. Because the entire sector is moving steadily toward a more digital future, how do they plan to develop their professional services in the coming years? It is optional to inquire if jobs in bookkeeping will be lost in the future to predict the future of bookkeeping services. Instead, we should focus on determining which areas of the bookkeeping profession will be made obsolete by technology and which will continue to be performed by humans.

Every profession may be broken down into two distinct parts: one that is monotonous and routine and another that is more social and "human," such as listening to and conversing with customers. Both of these aspects are essential to the job. How would you like it if you weren't inundated with paper invoices and had to transcribe every digit into an Excel spreadsheet? Instead, you could have a cup of coffee with your favourite customer and talk about the prospects of their future financial decisions rather than being bogged down by paper invoices. It is significantly less probable that this will be mechanised in the relatively near future.

The development of new technologies paves the way for new approaches that bookkeepers might take to meet the specific requirements of businesses and organisations. Accountancy and financial professionals are increasingly turning to digital technologies to be successful in their day-to-day work. This shift is marked by a transition from paper documents to digital files. Accounting professionals may initially resist adopting digital technology but will experience an increasing sense of confidence over time. They will experiment with different possibilities and devote more effort to developing innovative service techniques and cultivating meaningful customer connections.

The growing importance of AI and machine learning in bookkeeping services  

AI's ability to automate several jobs has significantly impacted the accounting business, leading to increased productivity. The creation of invoices, the analysis of financial data, the generation of reports, and the identification of patterns and abnormalities that signal accounting fraud are only some of the capabilities of AI. These services can help organisations reduce their financial reporting costs while improving their financial reports' accuracy and timeliness.

Although there are a lot of advantages to utilising AI, it will never be able to take the place of certain areas of bookkeeping in businesses. For instance, artificial intelligence does not possess "soft skills," including communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. In contrast to a human accountant, it cannot proactively develop its accounting skills by taking classes or using other educational methods.

Therefore, AI is a useful accounting technology that can make data entry and analysis much more efficient and assist in making firm accounting systems more accurate and reliable. Nevertheless, AI cannot replace the many aspects of the financial sector that require a human touch. Bookkeeping professionals and businesses can find a balance between artificial intelligence and human intelligence, thereby guiding how clients benefit from the technology, making their lives easier, and providing them more freedom to seek broad prospects.

The importance of choosing the right digital bookkeeping service provider

You want to make the right choice when choosing a bookkeeping services provider. This is because your choice will have a long-term effect on your business and its finances. Therefore, you must be meticulous and smart to choose the best digital bookkeeping service provider. Below are tips that can help you choose a digital bookkeeping service provider.

Assess your business needs and requirements  

Beyond the day-to-day management of your company's accounting activities, your digital bookkeeper should understand your industry and how it relates to your financial situation. This is because the industry you're in can have a significant impact on your finances. When it comes to spotting oversights and patterns in your data, the ability of an accounting business is directly correlated to how well-versed they are in the operations and trends of your industry. In addition, this can assist you in avoiding making any reporting mistakes and making the most of any potential tax savings.

Check for relevant experience and expertise  

Not generalists but experts are what is needed in this day and age. Your company may have specific requirements that call for a highly specialised skill set. A staff bookkeeper will likely have previous knowledge in the specialised areas required by your company.

On the other hand, online bookkeeping businesses have experience in several industries because they serve various customers. It makes perfect sense to outsource monotonous activities, such as preparing your annual taxes, to an online bookkeeping company. This indicates that you do not need to hire a certified public accountant (CPA) full-time to acquire the services whenever you require them; therefore, you should evaluate your possibilities.

Consider the security and reliability of the service provider  

While most social media networks have adopted data transfers that include end-to-end encryption, businesses should also focus on levelling the appropriate security parameters for their sensitive and confidential information. A wide variety of secure methods that a bookkeeping service provider might use to simplify the data transfer arrangements for his customers can be determined by the numerous ways in which the service provider instils confidence in his customers regarding the safety of their data.

The seeker is responsible for ensuring that the employed bookkeeping service provider uses the most appropriate security methods to enhance the data security of his clients across all potential transfer levels before contracting the provider's services. Choose as your bookkeeping service provider the one who can fulfil the primary safety precautions you want to see in your day-to-day operations.

Compare pricing and service offerings  

You don't need the advice of a bookkeeper to know that it's in your best interest to work with the most reputable company you can afford. When it comes to bookkeeping services, you get quality work that you pay for, and trying to save money by cutting corners will only end up costing you more in the long run.

Yet, fees and how a bookkeeping company assesses them can differ greatly. Certain accounting services charge predefined prices for particular activities, while others charge by the minute. If you go with the latter service, you should anticipate being charged for every conversation.

Accounting businesses that offer a comprehensive range of services will surely charge higher. However, they should be able to handle everything independently, including bookkeeping, payroll processing, and the preparation of income tax returns, without outsourcing any work or charging additional costs.

Conclusion

Because of their limited staff and the need to focus on their core skills, small businesses frequently need help keeping up with their accounting responsibilities. Furthermore, hiring a digital bookkeeper can be expensive for a small business unless it grows to the point where it is considered a fairly large business. As an alternative, businesses in Adelaide can search for alternative bookkeeping services available for outsource bookkeeping.

The Kalculators' methodical and digitally inclined bookkeeping processes and practices are useful for all businesses. This is due to the company's impeccable role as a bookkeeping service provider in Adelaide. You might benefit from our digital accounting and bookkeeping outsourcing services for your small but expanding business. You can contact us today, and we will happily assist you with onboarding.

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About the Author / By Kaleem Ulah

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Kaleem is CEO & Author at "The Kalculators". With more than 10 years of experience in financial services, He built Kalculators to transform your financial challenges into strategic triumphs!

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