How to streamline your accounting function

Bookkeeping has always been an essential yet time-consuming task for small and medium entities. Streamlining bookkeeping tasks is core to providing a better view of the business’s financial insights, writes Jeanne Viljoen, SAICA Project Director: SMP.

Modern technology has drastically changed the face of accounting, with cloud-based computing that allows data to be integrated in real-time. This allows businesses to aggregate, search and create financial reports at a push of a button.

The time-consuming efforts associated with mundane reporting, issue clarification and digging into details can either be very fulfilling or very frustrating, even for accountants. This all depends on the tools and methods being used, though. The question is: Are you as a small business owner spending your precious time managing your accounting function or improving your business productivity?

As a business owner there are some key questions you need to answer:

  • Have I got the right clients?
  • Do I have a proper team?
  • Are accurate procedures in place?
  • If this wasn’t your own business – would you still invest?

And probably the most important question: Do your processes slow you down?

Evolving accounting technology is rapidly changing the way businesses operate by streamlining processes. Activities like manual data processing is probably one of the biggest challenges that cause delays. These activities often need to take place with a great deal of urgency and involve large, complicated spreadsheets shared across business units. Not only is this inefficient, but it also relies on a person to input the data correctly, which opens up the process to human error.

The “Rule of Ten” states that after each quality assurance level, it will cost ten times more in terms of time and money to correct and fix a defect as it would have in the prior stage. Who can afford to pay ten times more than needed?

Accounting is no longer a silo function. For a business to run efficiently, integration in all aspects of its financial processes is important. Once you have an integrated system, you only need a single point of entry.

You can make your accounting function more efficient by

  • Putting cut-off policies in place – and adhering to them
  • Designing a coding sheet, which will speed up the capturing process by collating all relevant information on one page
  • Batching items to process
  • Insisting on oversight
  • Resisting crunching numbers outside of accounting software
  • Reviewing accounting processes and replacing labour-intensive processes with automated processes, or eliminating steps that don’t add value.

As a business owner you need the latest figures, pronto. The value is in the final reporting, not all the activities that leads up to it. The best way to generate information with the highest precision and relevance is to ensure data processes are as streamlined as possible.


Written by Jeanne Viljoen, SAICA Project Director: SMP.

This article was originally published by SAICA on https://www.saica.co.za/News/NewsArticlesandPressmediareleases/tabid/695/itemid/6300/language/en-US/language/en-US/Default.aspx