Accounting workflow automation frees up bandwidth for strategic initiatives

By Brian Kelleher, CPA, CGMA, Partner, Assurance & Advisory Services
By Deb Puorro, CPA, Director, Accounting Services
Sep 28, 2023

See this article as it originally appeared in the Hartford Business Journal.

Maximizing the efficiency of your accounting team starts with automation.

The key is a tech stack that inputs data for day-to-day transactions.

The right tech stack should automate and streamline basic accounting processes and deliver accurate data more quickly, freeing up resources for more strategic accounting.

In addition, automation is a cost-saver. Low-cost outsourcing to other countries has been a trend in the financial industry, but automation accomplishes the same type of savings without the risk of error that comes with manual data entry.

Having the right tech stack helps you connect different services so they work together and expand the scope of what you can offer.

Each company’s financial tech stack will be different, but once it’s in place, it completely shifts the workflow from daily tasks to strategic initiatives, allowing your team to focus on more value-added and profitable services.

With your finance and leadership team freed up to explore new avenues of savings, investment and revenue, the overall impact on the organization can be tremendous.

Integrate and streamline

Software tools like BILL already automate the process of invoicing expenses. Automation means that work that would have taken 10 hours is done in an hour, leaving time for other valuable tasks.

The same is true for payroll, onboarding and budgeting.

With some service providers, every time you process payroll, your journal entries go right into your general ledger. The software can be set up to reflect the exact needs of your specific company structure.

So, if you have a sales team, a marketing team and the cost of goods, you can map each expense to the correct accounts automatically. You also get analytics instantaneously, versus spending hours creating a journal entry, booking the entry and running calculations every time you need to run a report.

Some payroll software also automates the process of onboarding new employees. They can enter their own direct deposit information, upload their tax withholding preferences and manage their own employee profiles, so your office doesn’t have to handle that kind of sensitive data.

In addition to being convenient, this improves your company’s information security and reduces your liability.

Tools like Divvy streamline the process of capturing expense receipts at point of sale. Divvy lets you make a budget easily, create instant credit cards for different employees to use for work expenses, set limits on the spending amounts for those cards, and reimburse employees for other expenses automatically.

And, you can set it up to sync all of that data with QuickBooks (and other general ledger software).

Gone are the days of mailing tax forms in triplicate to everyone your company works with. Software like brings all the forms you need online, where you can fill them out, file them electronically and email them to recipients.

These tools offer efficiency, control, ease of use and reduced risk of error. They save the accountant from having to gather a bunch of receipts and scan them in, or manually enter the data and attach each expense to the appropriate transaction.

Better dashboard reporting

Automation also makes the shift between in-office and remote work seamless; there’s no disruption in your accounting processes, because everything from payments to expense reimbursements is automated.

But providing a central access point is key.

Tech stack software like Fathom and Qvinci lets you create a snapshot of certain key performance indicators (KPIs) and sync that information with QuickBooks to automatically run reports that show how you’re doing relative to budget goals.

It’s a quick way to identify problem areas or shortfalls. It also streamlines the process of creating reports to share with boards.

When business owners consider selling their company, they need to have certain financial information at their fingertips and ready to share with potential buyers. Having an automated accounting system in place means you already have that information available at any given moment.

It also means you can personally take a hard look at your company’s financial picture and make adjustments before a potential acquisition to improve your overall financial picture and sale price.

This only works if you know at a glance where all the puzzle pieces are.

Companies of all sizes can benefit from implementing automation, including those that are small, especially those that are still paper driven. Having the right setup for accounting from the start ensures that business owners are free to focus on what they excel at: running their business.