An accountant works to a well-defined timetable. Daily processing, month-end processing, processing supplier payments, wages and salaries, annual statutory audits and returns. All have a regular timetable of events and the processes that support them. An issue for all accountants is in managing the normal routine workflow to allow time for dealing with the inevitable emergencies and upsets that inevitably occur. Not to mention senior management`s calls for complex reports at very short notice.
Anything that eases the process will be welcomed by accountants.
The advent of cloud computing and implementation of cloud solutions for accountants has made improvements in the traditional workflows a real possibility.
In cloud computing the accounting system holding the books of account is available through an Internet interface. If the cloud solution for accountants is properly configured, the accountant can inspect and manage the books of account from anywhere at any time.
Quite how the cloud computing environment for the cloud solution for accountants is configured will vary depending on whether the accounts are maintained in-house or are held by a cloud service supplier. In both cases, a properly configured cloud solution for accountants will help them optimise their workflow processes to fit with their and their client’s workflow and expedite transaction processing.
Both internal and external accountants will benefit greatly from immediate access to a set of company accounts, anytime and from anywhere.
Four ways in which this can be realised include:
Internal Accountants – Speedier attention to emergency issues.
If the company accountant has immediate access to the cloud-based accounting system at any time and from anywhere, processing problems can be immediately addressed before they escalate and become more difficult to resolve. For example, supplier invoices can receive emergency attention without the accountant needing to travel to the office. A consequence is that emergencies do not affect normal workflow in such a major way.
In a similar way, reports and analyses for senior management that are needed urgently and at short notice can be prepared and passed to management immediately, irrespective of where the accountant is sitting.
Internal Accountants – Aligning the accountant`s processing timetable with the business.
For many accountants, their workflow is like the army – hurry up and wait. Their month has a slow start with normal daily processing, terminating in a burst of hard work carrying out month-end processing. They need to process wages and salaries, prepare the month-end reports, carry out accounting reconciliations and all the other essential book-keeping. Some months they will need to prepare a board pack for the regular board meeting. Annually, they will need to prepare for the annual audit, draft annual reports and prepare and submit any statutory returns that are needed.
If the company accounting system has a properly configured cloud solution for accountants component, then they can use home-based staff to pace the work throughout the month and even out their workflow and reduce the pressure to complete the month-end processing on time. Some companies have former employees, now stay-at-home mums as part time accounting assistants using the cloud-based company accounts through an Internet portal.
External Accountants – Client Contact
Smaller companies often use external accounting services on a retained basis for a few days a month. Usually they travel to the company site to have a busy month-end catching up on unprocessed transactions and bringing the accounts up to date before carrying out month-end processing. Year-end can be particularly stressful.
Cloud-based accounting systems allow the accountant to reach the company accounts at any time and from anywhere without the need to travel to site, saving time and money for both parties.
Instead of cramming the month`s work into a few on-site days a month, external accounting services can spread the workload to a few minutes a day from anywhere, and potentially increase the number of clients they can serve.
External Accountants – Professional Services
One of the main aims of external auditors is to provide additional professional services to their clients over and above the statutory annual audit. If they can do this more effectively and efficiently by accessing the client`s cloud-based accounting system without the need for travel, then they can enhance the appeal of such services with reduced fees and expenses.
A further advantage of having access to the company`s accounts via a cloud-based service is that the accountant can optimise their workflow to meet the client`s requirements and
maximise their staff utilisation at the same time. A win-win for both parties.
Overall, then, using a cloud-based solution specifically designed to ease an accountant`s workload will bring benefits to both the accountant and the organisation. Having their workflows aligned eases stress, potentially reduces errors, and increases the effectiveness of the accounting function.