Connectivity, character recognition, automation and a step towards artificial intelligence. New cloud systems are drastically changing the way accounting is done.
They include tools to simplify bookkeeping, convert estimates to invoices, automate payments, and record recurring expenses. They also allow you to synchronize your bank and credit card transactions.
Character recognition allows to take pictures of expense receipts and several transaction elements will already be captured (date, amount, merchant) and automations will allow the app to automatically select an expense account, sometimes even a tax code.
Some apps have even started to integrate artificial intelligence. When regularly repeating transactions, the software may suggest you to add a macro to automate everything.
New Features of Connected Systems
Technological development is accelerating. Software publishers are on the lookout for features that will make life easier for their users. Accounting software is now open and connects to a multitude of third-party apps, making it easy to create a low-cost ERP.
There are two main philosophies in the industry:
- Publishers who develop a group of apps and rely on the ease of synchronizing these different modules together to create a virtually complete ERP for the company (business management, accounting management, project management, etc.). This group includes Zoho‘s suite, including Zoho Books for accounting.
- Other publishers choose to develop a niche product, whose specifications will meet the requirements of specific users, while allowing connectivity to other apps via APIs that they or third parties develop. In this category we find Quickbook online and Xero.
Simplified Invoicing and Payments
Cash management is one of the most important aspects of a business. The days of sending invoices through the mail are long gone. Sometimes you can pay for an app subscription and save the cost of stamps by sending invoices via email.
New apps also facilitate payment methods by connecting to apps such as Stripe, Paypal or Square that allow credit card payments. It is also possible to fully automate this process. New apps also facilitate the follow-up of unpaid invoices by means of workflows that can be activated.
As soon as an Internet connection is available, it is possible to access your accounting app. In addition, many publishers also offer a complete mobile app to add transactions and consult reports.
One of the biggest benefits is being able to work with your accountant and have access to your financial data and updates in real time. Also, software vendors usually give free access to accountants. With the amount of information provided in these management software packages, entrepreneurs can make better decisions by having access to their performance whenever they want.
Moreover, it allows the distribution of work according to the right people to do the job. This optimizes costs. For example, Zoho Books allows you to define specialized roles for users, so it is possible to give access only to the Purchasing or Sales component to better manage your finances. A sales representative could be able to do quotations and invoicing, without having access to the company’s financial performance.
Ability to Accompany Your Growth
With a subscription, it is in the software publisher’s best interest to continue developing new features in order to satisfy its customers and avoid “churn” or the abandonment of its product, which has a significant impact on the value of its business.
Many accounting apps have several versions, basic, standard and enterprise, to allow you to start with affordable pricing when starting your business. This is beneficial for self-employed individuals and small businesses. More extensive, yet more expensive editions are available to facilitate the processing of large transactions or features more suitable for growing businesses.
Zoho is one example. It is possible to start using Zoho Invoice only for invoicing, then migrate to Zoho Books for advanced accounting. Then you can move to the Finance suite, which includes Zoho Books, Zoho Expenses for expense accounts and credit cards, Zoho Inventory for inventory management and Zoho Subscription for managing subscriptions and their automated payments.
Here at Cofinia, we’ve been working with Zoho Books since 2017 and have subsequently developed our expertise on Quickbooks online. We have migrated several of our clients from their Acomba or Sage 50 software to Cloud apps and they have all been pleased with their decision.