How to leverage automation for next year’s tax season
Every year at this time, lists upon lists of tax tips are published to help business owners better handle tax filing requirements. However, this year we are eschewing more common topics and instead looking forward to how you can improve the entire process for this year’s accounting (and thereby improve your accounting data for next year’s taxes). For the vast majority of business owners, that means putting the right systems in place to ensure a more seamless process for records management, bookkeeping and categorization of bills and expenses. Whether you’re drowning in paper receipts or trying to free your “Other” and “Suspense” categories of data, these processes and systems are for you.
1) Track expenses in real-time
If your expense management consists of chicken scratch notes on the backs of wrinkled paper receipts jammed into your wallet, make this the year you change all that. There are many expense management and reporting applications available to your business that do everything from sync with QuickBooks to offer mobile apps that allow for real-time data capture and immediate transfer to your records.
If you are concerned about establishing and maintaining a new routine, consider that you are already likely doing many of the steps involved in the process. Using your phone to capture images of receipts, choose expense categories and file expense reports all through a mobile app may even feel completely natural if you already use your phone for other business applications. Furthermore, establishing a routine that incorporates your natural actions with a better, more streamlined process will take the burden off your accounting staff, improve record management and reduce time spent on administrative tasks.
2) Introduce time-tracking management
Many businesses struggle to realize the benefits of tracking time or to introduce it to their staff. But effective time tracking can allow improvements across the company, from finding opportunities to advance efficiency to enabling more insightful reporting and better job costing.
If you’re picturing paper time cards with error-ridden entries, you should know that there are extremely adaptable time tracking systems that operate on desktop, cloud-based and mobile systems. They integrate with major accounting platforms to pull in data for payroll management, job costing and resource management. Depending on your business needs, you can even choose an application that offers options such as text message-based input and GPS tracking.
Things to consider for improving accounting automation for tax season
Whether you are planning to introduce expense reporting or time tracking applications, or a myriad of other accounting technology options available on the market, you should ask yourself the following questions when gauging whether it will work for your company:
- Does this sync with my current accounting system?
- What steps will be required to introduce this new piece and who will I need trained to make it work?
- Is the new process going to benefit my company, provide better data and allow me to make better decisions?
- Will it scale with my needs and how does the technology provider manage support and implementation for customers?
If improving time tracking for job costing purposes is of particular interest to your business, watch my webinar (below) to discover the opportunities, challenges and improvements in job costing that can help you.