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Global Data Shows How to Cut Your Bookkeeping Processing Time in Half


Receipt Bank's Effortless Bookkeeping Challenge was the first ever global experiment in efficient bookkeeping. In a new series of posts we'll be looking at some of the data from the challenge, and what it shows about improving client service. This post will examine how our most successful firms managed to decrease their turnaround bookkeeping time, as measured by the age of the oldest item in their clients' inboxes.

Once everyone is on the cloud, clients won’t be impressed that you’re on Xero or Quickbooks Online. What they will care about is whether you can turn their books around within two days of them submitting their data.

“Real-time data” is a buzzword in the industry for a reason. Running out of cash is one of the most common reasons business fail.

That's why research by The Sleeter Group shows that building a dashboard to monitor business performance is the third most popular service that small businesses want from their accountant.

That said, processing data quickly and getting it into cloud software is easier said than done. However, technology does offer a solution for a more efficient bookkeeping workflow.

Real-time data without the effort

Receipt Bank’s Effortless Bookkeeping Challenge featured accountants and bookkeepers from all over the world vying to create the most efficient bookkeeping system.

Using a range of Receipt Bank tools and metrics, they were granted unprecedented visibility over their bookkeeping process. This included the ability to track the age, in days, of the oldest unpublished item in their clients' inboxes.

The lower the age, the quicker the team was at dealing with newly submitted items and publishing them. While this might seem trivial, this metric actually lies at the heart of real-time data.

After all, if the oldest item in your client’s inbox is 14 days old, their books are two weeks out of date. If the oldest is three days old, then your client has an up to date view of their business health, as of three days ago.

So how do you keep that number down without exhausting your bookkeeping team? You concentrate their efforts where they’re needed and let technology handle the rest with automatic publishing.

Automation you can trust

The idea of publishing items to the cloud without checking them first is a worry for many accountants and bookkeepers. That’s why, over the last five years, Receipt Bank has worked to create automation tools that you can trust.

We have worked hard on developing best-in-class data extraction technology, with every item also going through a human verification process. Our accuracy rating is currently 98+%.

We passionately believe that automation is key to a valuable, real-time service, and our Effortless Bookkeeping Challenge provided crucial proof of this.

Bookkeeping time cut in half

At the start of our six-week challenge, the average inbox age of our top 20 partners taking part was eight days.

That meant their client’s books were accurate as of eight days ago, which is no small achievement. Especially when you consider how far accounting has come since the days of yearly reports (for some practices at least.)

Over the course of the challenge, participants could increase their overall score by increasing the percentage of their clients’ items that were published to the cloud automatically. We call this tool Auto-publish.

Auto-publishing sends items straight to your cloud accounting software, bypassing the inbox entirely. This is perfect for those repeat suppliers who always bill for the same amount, category and tax rate.

More importantly, it frees us your bookkeeping team to focus on the items that need their attention so they can push for a real-time data service.

Here’s how the Top 20 partners’ Auto-publish use behaved over the course of the challenge.


Use of Auto-publish increased by over 30%. At the start of the challenge, the average percentage of items published automatically was 31%. By the end of the challenge it was 41%.

Compare this with our partners’ Inbox Age over that same period.

Participants in the Effortless Bookkeeping Challenge managed to cut their bookkeeping time in half

Over six weeks, the average age of items in our partners’ clients’ inboxes was cut in half, from eight days to four. That means items were being processed twice as fast.

The data on the two graphs tracks remarkably closely, showing how a relatively small increase in automation can have dramatic effects on your bookkeeping workflow.

To find out how you can use Receipt Bank to automate manual tasks and focus on client service, request a call and a member of our team will be in touch.

How to Build a Data-Driven Workflow

efficiency_in_practice_mockup.pngThe Effortless Bookkeeping Challenge was a global experiment in the power of data and technology to drive an efficient bookkeeping workflow.

Find out how you can cut your bookkeeping time in our free guide, "Efficiency in Practice: 5 Steps to Streamline Your Firm with Receipt Bank."

Download it now to find out:

  • How to use data to drive efficiencies in your team
  • How to track client engagement and predict exits
  • How to use automation tools to eliminate manual tasks

Download Now