Why real-time accounting needs mobile technology

Customer paying bill through smartphone using NFC technology in cafe.jpeg

The introduction of cloud software was a crucial step towards a real-time view of a client’s business. But one big issue still remains – getting the data in the first place. The longer clients hang onto invoices, the more outdated their bookkeeping becomes. Luckily, mobile technology offers a solution for real-time accounting.

Gareth Price, Receipt Bank Partner and Founder of Cloudworx in Cape Town explains the problem:

“The hardest thing is getting the clients to actually submit their data. They love the idea of real time accounting, but it does require some effort on their part. And sometimes even that little bit is too much.”

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Why your clients want real time accounting

Gareth’s clients are not alone. 92% of small businesses want to work with their accountant on a real-time basis, according to a 2014 survey by Panalitix. A survey in 2016 from C2FO Capital Outlook showed that 54% of SMES say cash flow is their biggest obstacle to business growth. Since so many clients are worrying about it, it’s unsurprising that “real-time” has become an accounting industry buzzword.

One of the most effective ways to speed up the process is by making it as effortless as possible.

Mobile apps offer an effective solution that your clients may already be using elsewhere. After all, 66% of SME owners use mobile devices to help them run their business, according to a survey by Constant Contact. More importantly, adding mobile tools to your firm’s arsenal has a huge effect on your data quality.

The view from last week

Receipt Bank's software tracks the time between the issue date of an invoice and the date that it is submitted. The average delay between receiving and submitting paper receipts and invoices is 20 days. However, when items are being submitted using a mobile app, the delay drops by 75%.

That’s the difference between your client seeing their business’s health three weeks ago, and seeing it this week.

The surprising aspect is that it’s actually less work for the accountant this way. According to Gareth Price, when clients send all their documents in promptly, all he needs to do is a one-click reconciliation in Xero.

“The skill of the job is in coaching the client to do the correct thing at the correct time. This keeps staff motivated and excited as it provides a continual challenge with each new client,” explains Gareth.

Not only is this easier for your clients, but it gives you the data offer to specific advice based on how the business is doing today, rather than just going over old news.

The power to do all this is already in your client's pocket. All you need to do is provide the right tools.

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