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From paper bag to paper-free – alchemy for accountants

It’s the old accounting nightmare – the client brings in their records in a carrier bag or shoe box, dumps it on the desk and says “Here you go –  can you get my accounts / tax return done by the end of the month, please?”

We don’t see it happen very often but it happened recently with a new client.

One carrier bag containing a lever-arch file of purchase invoices and a box file full of bank statements and cash receipts. The previous accountant is no longer in business but there are accounts from two years ago we can take as our starting point.

Looks like a job for cloud accounting, QuickBooks and AutoEntry.


The first task – to scan the 35 pages of bank statements for the financial year and upload them as PDFs to AutoEntry.

The next day AutoEntry had crunched the bank statement data into one file which we downloaded as a QuickBooks compatible CSV file and 950 receipts and payments were ready to be imported into QuickBooks.

We have since done the same with credit card statements.


QuickBooks (QBO)

Having imported the bank and credit card receipts and payments into QBO we can start to account for them. There are two labour-saving tools at this stage:

  1. Set rules so that when a particular customer or supplier name or reference appears on the bank statement the correct accounting entry is automatically made for that transaction
  2. Even without rules, QBO will start to remember transactions and suggest the accounting entries for recurring customers and suppliers

Very quickly the bank and credit card transactions are dealt with and the accounts are beginning to take shape. There’s more to be done but the bulk of the routine transaction work is complete.


Future workflow

We can’t just look backwards as there is little point in doing the historical accounting without keeping the books up to date going forwards.

We set up the client to use AutoEntry so they can upload sales and purchase invoices every day and set up a daily import of the bank transactions directly from the bank into QBO. The day-to-day workflow is now under control.

Everything is kept up to date and visible so the client can get back to running their business and keep an eye on the financial performance, cashflow, margins, debtors etc. at the same time.


This blog is mainly for people running their own business. New technology is sweeping across the accounting profession like never before and the question for you is whether your business is benefiting from the best and most appropriate tech available.

If so then you will have at your fingertips the financial information you need to grow your business and improve profitability and cashflow.

If not – can we help you?  Visit our dedicated cloud accounting service page to learn more about how we can get you paper free.





PS – The most important lesson from this case-study is NOT to let your bookkeeping fall by the wayside in the first place. That’s not you, is it?

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