Companies sometimes oppose the use of automation tools because they can replace jobs currently filled by people. However, while these tools and automated processes may replicate some of the tasks that humans perform, they are actually independent workers.
In addition, automation tools can increase efficiency and productivity, reduce errors, and provide data-driven insights that would otherwise be overlooked.
In functional areas such as accounting, automation tools are something that incoming staff members welcome and expect.
For example, a 2018 survey of soon-to-be accounting graduates found automated processes and technology to be 71% associated with the future success of the profession. About 67% of the participants also agreed that technology helps them get their work done faster.
Niche Automation Tools to Save Your Accounting Team
Tech will help businesses get things done faster — and the C-suite seems to be agreeing. According to a study by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, more than 50% of top executives expect to develop a fully automated accounting system.
Currently, automation tools span many areas of accounting and cover a variety of specialties. This includes everything from payroll to invoicing and project management.
Here are four niche automation tool categories that can help boost the performance of your accounting team.
1. Revenue Reporting for Digital Content
Digital content is everywhere. Blog posts, YouTube videos, downloadable music files and other creations are widely accessible.
However, many individuals and companies put this content online to monetize it. They can create the content themselves, but many take the help of production studios, artists, and other creatives.
This means that there are other individuals and entities to pay fees or royalties.
There is also a need to track which content generates revenue, how much and from which platform. Digital rights management platforms and revenue reporting tools can automate these processes for your accounting team.
They won’t need to manually enter the data into a spreadsheet to calculate the revenue for each piece of material. Revenue reporting tools can also automate the fees your company pays to producers and creative associates.
One example is Aux Mode, a DRM platform that has developed revenue reporting software to help you calculate these figures and monetize your YouTube content. Your accounting team may produce reports that show different revenues from different pieces of content.
These reports can break down earnings per title or series. Automated reporting tools can also reveal trends in views, total revenue and amounts generated during different periods.
2. Expenditure Management for Projects
Many firms, such as those in the construction industry, generate and spend revenue according to different projects or jobs.
Automation tools that integrate project management and accounting features help track transactions within individual projects.
Typically, your accounting team spends hours associating expense reports and other transactions with certain tasks.
Now, software like Jonas Premier or Acumatica will automatically perform these tasks and ensure that the expense is matched with the right project.
This saves your accounting staff time and eliminates the hard work that comes with repetitive tasks. Integrated expense and project management tools can also reduce the potential for errors.
Your team will not need to investigate why certain invoices are coming in and how to spend them.
Tools that combine project and expense management functions allow project managers and accounting teams to collaborate better.
Project leaders can track the progress of tasks and see what may be blocking vendors’ invoice payments. Accounts managers can also better estimate expenses and payments.
Both teams can see how individual projects or jobs are contributing to the company’s overall revenue.
3. Credit Card Management and Solutions
Credit cards are a convenient way for businesses to manage payments, including incidental employee expenses. These contingencies can include the costs of business travel, such as hotel rooms, rental cars and gas.
Incidental expenses can include everything from office supplies to break room snacks.
However, managing, tracking and matching credit card payments from multiple employees can become a daunting headache for accounting teams.
Detecting fraud, errors and potential abuse are additional tasks your accounting staff may be spending too much time on. When employees are already thin it can be easy to miss mistakes and potential abuse.
Fortunately, there are digital accounting tools to handle many of these tasks and workflows.
Your accounting team can use credit card management and reconciliation software such as File or Abacus to catch mistakes and fraudulent transactions.