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Easing the Accountant Shortage: Automating Repetitive Tasks in Accounting Processes

    The accounting industry and accounting in general is in the middle of a massive shortage of accountants and tax specialists. According to a March 2024 Bloomberg article citing a study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 340,000 fewer accountants today than five years ago—and the pipeline of new accountants has slowed significantly. Additionally, the number of candidates taking the CPA exam is at its lowest since 2006【Bloomberg, March 2024】.

    In response to this critical shortage, accounting departments are increasingly seeking ways to improve efficiency and reduce labor costs. One of the most impactful strategies thus far has been the automation of repetitive tasks through the customization of applications and workflows with the help of experienced technical professionals. By customizing solutions for processes such as data entry, payables, receivables, expense management, and financial reporting, firms and businesses can streamline operations, enhance accuracy, and free up valuable time for accountants to focus on more strategic initiatives.

    In this article, we will explore various repetitive tasks in accounting that can be automated through customized applications and workflows. We will highlight the benefits of these tailored solutions and provide insight into how they can transform accounting processes as a whole.

    Data Entry and Processing
    Experienced technical professionals can develop custom Optical Character Recognition (OCR) solutions to automatically extract data from invoices, receipts, and other documents. Additionally, bespoke Robotic Process Automation (RPA) applications can be designed to automate repetitive data entry tasks, mimicking human interactions with digital systems and integrating seamlessly with existing platforms.

    Accounts Payable and Receivable
    Custom-built automated invoice processing systems can significantly accelerate invoice processing by streamlining invoice capture, approval workflows, and payment processing. Tailored solutions for accounts receivable management can include automated payment reminders and customized tracking systems, reducing the time spent on these tasks and improving cash flow.

    Bank Reconciliation
    Custom reconciliation platforms can be developed to automatically reconcile bank statements with accounting records, identifying discrepancies and streamlining the reconciliation process. These tailored solutions can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of different businesses and accounting practices.

    Expense Management
    Customized expense management solutions can automate the process of capturing, categorizing, and approving employee expenses. These solutions can be designed to integrate with corporate credit cards and other financial systems, ensuring accurate and timely expense reporting and management.

    Financial Reporting and Analytics
    Tailored financial reporting and analytics solutions can automate the generation of financial reports, providing real-time insights and analytics. Custom dashboards can be created to update in real time, offering a clear and comprehensive view of financial performance tailored to the unique needs of the business.

    Payroll Processing
    Custom payroll processing tools can automate payroll calculations, tax withholdings, and direct deposits, ensuring timely and accurate payroll processing. These solutions can also help manage compliance with tax laws and regulations, reducing the risk of errors and penalties.

    Tax Compliance
    Customized tax compliance solutions can automate tax calculations, filings, and compliance with local, state, and federal tax regulations. These bespoke platforms can offer e-filing capabilities and be tailored to meet the specific tax needs of the business.

    Audit Trail and Documentation
    Custom Document Management Systems (DMS) can automate the storage, retrieval, and management of financial documents, ensuring a clear audit trail. Tailored audit software platforms can automate audit workflows, documentation, and reporting, enhancing the efficiency and accuracy of audit processes.

    Budgeting and Forecasting
    Custom budgeting and forecasting solutions can automate these processes, providing accurate financial projections based on real-time data. These tools can also run automated scenario analyses, helping businesses make informed decisions based on simulated financial outcomes.

    General Ledger Management
    Customized RPA and accounting software solutions can automate the creation and posting of journal entries, reducing manual effort and errors. These systems can provide real-time updates to the general ledger, ensuring that financial data is always current and accurate.

    What it All Means

    By automating repetitive tasks through the customization of applications and workflows with the expertise of technical professionals, enterprises and accounting consultancies can drive efficiency, improve accuracy, and free up their already understaffed accounting teams to focus on strategic initiatives that drive business growth and profitability.

    With over 18 years of providing technical services, Excel Nearshore has helped companies in multiple industries reduce costs and improve productivity by leveraging technology solutions. For more information on building a dedicated team to customize and automate repetitive accounting processes at your organization, please contact us directly at (612) 208-7465 or complete the Contact Us form on our website. We look forward to hearing from you!