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Keys to Success for Bookkeeping Automation

Many large firms, even the Big Four firms, are getting back into the bookkeeping business. This may seem counter intuitive for anyone who has been hearing about the “death of bookkeeping services” in recent years. Some

If large accounting firms are moving back to bookkeeping services, that must mean there is a great potential for profit, right? The answer is, yes! As the rote, manual work of data entry and coding become automated, the accountant’s role can shift to validating the reports and analyzing the data to help clients make better decisions. Automation also allows the accountant to have “real-time” visibility into a client’s transactions so they can be more proactive—helping improve the client’s performance and cash flow. That means automation allows the firm to spend more time on coaching, rather than compliance and data entry. This deepens the relationship between accountant and client, and increases the value of the firm’s services.

Best Practices for Automation Are Based on Research

In 2012, we conducted research focused on audit automation, published in the paper, Keys to Excellence: Audit Automation . In 2016, we conducted additional research focused on tax automation and outsourcing: Keys to Success for Tax Automation and Outsourcing . Both research projects confirmed best practices for adopting technology and implementing software. Our research also helped to identify the additional people and change-management considerations that firms needed to employ in order for partners and staff to successfully adopt the technology-driven changes.

We’ve now adapted our research and applied it to bookkeeping automation. Our initial hypothesis is that the eight keys to success detailed in this document will allow firms to successfully automate bookkeeping services. However, in order to validate our hypothesis, we will be conducting a formal research study on firms that have successfully and unsuccessfully automated their bookkeeping practices. By participating in the study, you can benchmark yourself against other firms who have automated their bookkeeping services. Or if you are considering starting a bookkeeping practice, you can use the results of the study to guide the setup of your practice.

The Keys to Success for Bookkeeping Automation

The eight keys to success for bookkeeping automation are:

1. Appoint a Bookkeeping Automation Officer (BAO) 2. Understand Your Bookkeeping Processes 3. Adopt Incrementally to Ensure Long-term Success 4. Use a Pilot to Build Your Business Case 5. Manage Expectations; Don’t Oversell It 6. Adopt Organically, but Make It Mandatory 7. Provide Training to Reduce Resistance and Increase Adoption 8. Adopt Value-Billing to Ensure Revenue Continuity

In the whitepaper, we’ll explain each of the keys to success in detail and provide practical examples of how each one affects the success of bookkeeping automation.

How to Get the Whitepaper

The whitepaper is available for purchase from our online research store. If you've attended one of our seminars or conference sessions where the whitepaper was featured, you should have received a coupon code to download the whitepaper for free.

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