The pre-accounting phase encompasses various tasks that accountants and bookkeepers must complete before transactions are officially recorded in the accounting system, including document collection, data entry, data validation, coding, categorization, and approvals. Each of these steps can create bottlenecks in accountants’ and bookkeepers’ daily workflows, whether during manual data entry and validation or day-to-day interactions between accounts payable teams and other departments or clients.
I’m sure you’re familiar with at least one or two of these common issues:
- Misplaced or chaotic paperwork
- Lack of a standardized accounts payable process
- Time-consuming manual administrative tasks
- Inefficient approval workflows and slow payment processing
- Lack of centralized data, leading to communication issues between AP teams and other stakeholders
- Duplicate payments due to data entry errors
- Invoice matching errors
All of these call for automation or, at least, optimization. The good news is that these bottlenecks can be mitigated by improving collaboration and streamlining workflows among all stakeholders involved.
Let me share a few tactics for how your team can automate and optimize specific problematic tasks, preventing bottlenecks from affecting your business. I hope you’ll walk away inspired.
1. Eliminate paper clutter
Paper invoices or receipts may get misplaced, or make it hard to find information fast. Instead of heaps of paper, digitize all records. Going paperless makes things simpler, saving time and effort for the accounts payable team and other departments when searching for invoices. In digital form, you can find your documents faster, without the need for looking through papers in binders or shuffling paper on your desk. Simply scan every paper invoice or receipt using an app like Datamolino. Your clients can actually do them by themselves. More in the next point.
2. Streamline document collection
Digitizing your financial documents allows for more streamlined document collection. Bookkeeping automation tools like Datamolino let you or your clients import invoices via multiple platforms, from anywhere basically - either by web app, email or mobile app for easy scanning of invoices or receipts on the go. Your clients or suppliers can simply snap a picture with their phones using the mobile app and upload it or forward documents by email in just a few clicks.
When documents are collected digitally, your clients are able to import all documents continuously throughout the month. In Datamolino, each folder gets assigned a unique email address, so your client can easily forward their email invoices for processing as soon as they receive them. This makes a world of difference as it helps ensure you will not have to hunt your client for remaining paperwork at the last minute.
3. Centralize all data on a cloud-based platform
Whether you’re working individually or as part of the team, having one centralized platform for all accounts payable data is great help for improving paperwork management, data consistency and keeping everyone involved on the same page. With documents stored in the cloud, nothing gets lost or misfiled. Any document can be uploaded, copied, sent and downloaded in seconds without the need for costly and time consuming snail mail or physical archiving services. Everything is searchable and retrievable in seconds - from anywhere, at any time.
Datamolino offers a dashboard with a clear overview of all transactions. All invoices, bills, receipts sit digitized under one roof, neatly organized.
Plus, your whole team can collaborate together in one place. Not only does this make the data easy to access for anyone who needs it, but it also makes maintaining data consistency straightforward. In Datamolino, you can invite as many users as you want to collaborate with. You can grant access to specific folders, ensuring data visibility tailored to each person.
4. Automate data entry
Reducing manual work in your accounts payable processes is essential to minimize errors and save time. Bookkeeping automation softwares can automatically extract data from your invoices, bills, receipts and bank statements. Just upload your financial documents to a tool like Datamolino and in a fraction of time, all data is accurately captured and ready to be exported. You no longer have to worry about mistakes in the matching and reconciling processes, or missing errors that would’ve been costly. With fewer manual tasks, you and your team can focus on more meaningful work, such as collaborating with other departments, or advisory.
5. Build better approval workflows
Having one single platform where you store all accounts payable data also allows you to collaborate better across multiple departments. Accounting automation tools like Datamolino offer features like approval structure, folder notes, and comments. For example, you can easily approve purchase bills with a single click before exporting them to your accounting software. One use case involves client-accountant collaboration, where clients confirm the validity of invoices to be imported.
In larger accounting firms, this feature enhances workflow visibility. Junior staff prepare invoices, which senior staff review for formal mistakes. Rejected invoices include a ‘rejection reason,’ facilitating a learning process for improvement.