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Bookkeeping without a bookkeeper: let computers do the heavy lifting

How much of your bookkeeping is done without a bookkeeper?

It can’t all be done without a bookkeeper, there’s always a need for human judgement and (whisper it) computers can be wrong.

Yet so much of your routine bookkeeping can now be done without anyone touching a keyboard.

Which points to:

  • lower costs
  • up to date financial information
  • improved decision making
  • higher profits and better cashflow

All good. But how?

Bookkeeping without a bookkeeper

Firstly, you need the software. The examples in this blog use three different types of program:

  1. Cloud accounting software. We use QuickBooks Online (QBO) but there are others – Xero, FreeAgent etc.
  2. Document processing software. We use AutoEntry and alternatives include – Receipt Bank, HubDoc etc.
  3. Direct debit software. We use GoCardless.

Visit our dedicated cloud accounting service page to learn more about cloud accounting can work for you.

Sales invoices

We aim to have fixed monthly fees for our clients.

  • Within QBO we set up recurring monthly invoices which are raised automatically and emailed to our clients each month
  • The invoices are paid by direct debit using GoCardless
  • The payments arrive in our bank account
  • GoCardless tells QBO which sales invoices have been paid and QBO matches the incoming money to the invoices

We have gone from sales invoice to payment without anyone touching a keyboard.

Suppliers’ invoices

We only accept invoices from suppliers by email and we’re happy to pay our routine suppliers by direct debit.

  • When the invoices arrive they are forwarded to AutoEntry ( a rule can be written in your email software to do this automatically)
  • AutoEntry scans the suppliers’ invoices and codes them ready for import into QBO
  • AutoEntry remembers which account code and VAT code to use and can be programmed to send a supplier’s invoice straight to QBO without any manual intervention
  • QBO imports and accounts for the invoices
  • In due course the invoice are paid by direct debit
  • QBO matches the outgoing payment to the particular supplier’s invoice

We have gone from suppliers invoice to payment without anyone touching a keyboard.

Routine accounting adjustments (journals)

Accounting for depreciation, tax provisions, prepayments and accruals – the transactions that fine-tune your accounts but don’t have a document (such as an invoice) to trigger them – can all be automated so they are processed automatically each month.

This functionality has been available in accounting software for decades but not used often enough.

Use it now!

What does the bookkeeper or accountant do?

The simple answer is they do less! But less is more.

Someone who knows what they are doing and who knows your business has to look after the technology and make sure it is doing the right thing at the right time.

Not all transactions can flow through from start to finish with no human intervention. There will always be:

  • one-off sales invoices
  • bad debt adjustments (boo, hiss)
  • suppliers that shouldn’t be paid by direct debit
  • accounting for payroll

But the direction of travel should be to get the computers to do the heavy lifting and process as many day-to-day transactions as they can. If you’re interested in improving your working methods visit our workflow page.

Leaving your accountant or bookkeeper to deal with more important matters that the software can’t or shouldn’t handle.

If you’d like to read more on our bookkeeping services, visit our dedicated Bookkeeping page


Sales | Margins | Profit | Cashflow

PS – A word about bookkeping:

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