Blog

18th July 2017

Employee Engagement 2.0

We all want our employees to be happy. An engaged, satisfied workforce results in a productive and profitable company. Yet research reveals only 15% of UK employees consider themselves as ‘highly motivated’, with low engagement negatively impacting productivity, resulting in a combined £340bn in missed output per year.

Finance and accountancy professionals are now among the most in-demand across sectors, in part due to economic uncertainty following recent political events. These employees have more bargaining power than ever before, meaning there’s added pressure for companies to attract and retain top talent in a competitive industry. So how can firms restrategise internal policies to keep staff engaged for the long term?  

Provide opportunities for growth

Offer a clear roadmap for career advancement. Employees need to feel challenged, however hitting targets may seem futile if there isn’t a reward scheme in place, or the possibility of promotion in the long run. Be transparent about available opportunities within the organisation to keep staff on track to reach the next rung of the ladder.

Invest in training  

By doing this you’ll add value to your practice by increasing the skill of your employees and boosting productivity. Many accounting qualifications such as the ACCA, require continued professional development, so by supporting these initiatives you’ll ensure staff are staying up to date with the latest industry developments in order to better serve clients.

Show appreciation

Everyone wants to feel valued and effective communication can build trust and positively impact morale in the office. Whether it’s a new joiner or a more established member of the team, ensure that you’re sharing constructive feedback and praise when it’s due.  

Google it

Google has been voted the best company to work for eight years running. It’s famous for its quirky perks including toastie wagons and office scooters, in addition to generous benefit packages and feedback forums. It may not be possible to emulate the tech giant in every way, however it’s worthwhile to take a more creative approach to employee engagement where possible. For instance, provide opportunities for teams to socialise via off-site team building activities or Friday lunches. Introduce flexible working schemes and set up a suggestions box. Regularly review your incentives and pay scale according to industry standards.  

Simplify processes

As part of research from Deloitte into what makes companies ‘irresistible’ to work for, it found simplicity is key. Workers who feel less empowered are more prone to poor performance. Therefore, streamline bureaucratic and overly complex processes and replace them with a culture of increased autonomy and trust.  

Reduce stress  

Almost half (44%) of workers in the UK know someone who has given up their position due to stress. Whilst intermittent, healthy levels of stress is inevitable, relieving staff of certain processes, such as admin heavy tasks and unnecessary paperwork is a good place to start when tackling this issue.

Technology is rapidly changing the workplace, and management should implement smart solutions to help ease these pressures in addition to driving heightened operating efficiencies. For instance, when it comes to manual data entry, many accountants and bookkeepers are adopting automated data entry solutions like AutoEntry. AutoEntry works by capturing and analysing scanned and photographed purchase and sales invoices, receipts, bank and card statements, securely automating data entry into accounting solutions including Xero, QuickBooks, Sage, etc.

Developed to drive next level operating efficiencies, its features help to significantly streamline the accounts preparation process. For instance, AutoEntry captures tax summaries by default and if requested, full line item details including description, quantity and unit price. AutoEntry also remembers how you categorise your expenses such as the relevant supplier account, nominal account and tax code without ever creating duplicate supplier accounts or posting duplicate invoices into your accounting solution. AutoEntry even matches invoices to purchase orders.

With the myriad of pressures involved in running a business, it’s tough to give all workplace issues the same care and attention. However employee engagement is paramount. Restrategising how you can help staff to work smarter and more harmoniously must be a top priority to ensure your business performs to the best of its ability for the long-term.  

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11th July 2017

AutoEntry on the road with Sage!

This mLooking for receipt scanner apps? Autoentry integrates with sage online accounting software to do just that.onth we’re joining Sage as part of its 2017 roadshow. The first stop was the Shard in London, and whilst taking in the views, it was an opportunity to catch up with our customers and hear how they’re facilitating change through digital working.     

For many accountants and SMEs, Sage has become essential to each working day – and transforming back office operations and accelerating growth through IT were hot topics on the agenda. Indeed, research from Sage reveals that a significant 89% of accountants and bookkeepers are now engaging with cloud and SaaS-based solutions in order to become more productive, whilst improving quality control and better serving their customers.

As an accredited Sage add-on partner, we developed AutoEntry to help business achieve these types of efficiencies and more. And, as an automated data entry application, powered by AI, AutoEntry is increasingly being sought out in order to eliminate costly and outdated practices such as manual data entry. Especially as a small business when resources may be tight and time is at a premium, management are now rightly adopting smart solutions to phase out these processes.   

AutoEntry works by capturing and analysing scanned and photographed purchase and sales invoices, receipts, bank and card statements and more, securely automating data entry into Sage software. As well as being the most cost-effective solution of its kind, it’s also the smartest, and we’re proud of its intelligent features which keep our customers with us for the long-term.

So here’s a rundown of businesses can get ahead with AutoEntry:

Today, it’s almost impossible, and certainly not advised, to run any type of business without using technology to digitise processes, save time and cut costs. We look forward to working with future new users,  as more businesses start their digital journey and unlock the benefits from using automated bookkeeping tools.

Sage is a market leader in driving innovation and we’re sure we have an action packed month ahead. Next stop Preston, see you there!

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5th June 2017

What can accounting firms learn from Formula One? 

The 2017 Formula One World Championship is in full swing. Nico Rosberg raced to victory last year, pipping team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the post in an action packed finale. As the drivers pursue this year’s title, what can accounting firms learn from this fast paced, technology-driven sport?

Fuelled by technology

The F1 brand is one of a kind, with a vast international fan base and audiences in the hundreds of millions. Despite running for over 65 years, F1 is still at the very pinnacle of motor sport – an elite competition at the cutting edge of innovation. F1 is focused on staying ahead by employing the best engineering expertise, software and skills to push their cars and drivers to the limits. In its own words, F1 heavily invests in the ‘latest technology’ in order to gain a competitive edge.

Similarly, having the right automated and cloud-based tools can provide accountants with the infrastructure needed to improve the speed and quality of their own performance. With the rate of adoption of software and automated accountancy tools increasing, it will be essential that practices determine how they will integrate new technologies when planning for the future in order to remain relevant and competitive in the marketplace.

Data crunching for smarter performance

It was a matter of seconds that separated Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in last year’s final lap. With a finish that close, even shaving off a hundredth of a second counts. By fitting sensors to a car and feeding data back to the pit teams, F1 uses automated insights to address faults and improve speeds on the track.

Reducing time and resource spent on traditionally labour intensive processes, such as manual data entry, should be no less vital for accountants and bookkeepers. Advances in data management technology means that accounting firms have a powerful set of tools at their disposal to improve productivity and cut costs.

This type of software is so effective as it allows users to capture and analyse scanned and photographed paper documents, such as invoices, receipts, bank and card statements – automating data entry into your bookkeeping solution. However not all solutions were made equal and certain products will enable you to do more, faster. For instance, the capture of tax summaries, and if requested, full line item details including description, quantity and unit price. The right platform can remember how you categorise your expenses such as the relevant supplier account, nominal account and tax code without ever posting duplicate invoices in your chosen bookkeeping solution. It will even be able to match invoices to purchase orders, saving firms significant amounts of time in lost productivity.

Keeping calm under pressure

Reaching speeds of over 200mph, F1 drivers need confidence in their own skills and the quality of their car to take them to the finish line.     

Accountants may feel like they are often in fifth gear too. Navigating client requests, keeping abreast of changing legislation and economic pressures, the demands of tax season and long hours of paperwork. Like F1, the nature of the job will always be action packed, but accountants should seek new ways to eliminate unnecessary and outdated practices – such as those associated with traditional bookkeeping and manual data entry. Those that will thrive will be the ones using technology to improve accuracy and eliminate the frustrations of  processing paper documents by hand, keeping employees cool, calm and collected at all times.

Performance analysis

After the closing lap, F1 teams don’t just head home. Drivers, coaches and management scrutinise racetrack performance, and measure it against KPIs. It shouldn’t be different for accounting firms. It’s just as important to analyse your performance to get a true picture of factors such as time spent on paperwork, ‘shoebox clients’ manual data entry vs. profit, and from that, evaluate where improvements can be made in the practice.

Whilst there may be some obvious differences between F1 and accountancy firms, those businesses which are able to emulate the F1’s use of smart technologies will see the greatest improvement to their bottom line. Businesses which embrace the latest tools and explore new ways of working, are those which will stand at the top of the podium.

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17th May 2017 

AutoEntry commands attention in the Xero marketplace

 We’re delighted to see our solution AutoEntry making its mark in the Xero marketplace. Rapidly amassing new users, AutoEntry has become one of the most popular add-ons for invoice capture in the app store, just a year on since its release at Xerocon London.   

We developed AutoEntry to fill a gap in the market and address the appetite for an intelligent, yet cost effective solution for accountants and bookkeepers, which captures and analyses scanned and photographed paper documents, automating data entry into a user’s accounts software. Whilst other solutions already existed – none had the cross functional capability to tackle the nuances associated with manual data entry, and in so doing, drive real efficiencies.

Since its introduction, it’s great to see its rapid adoption and to receive such positive feedback from our customers – a growing collection of over 2,500 accounting practices using our solutions and over 20,000 businesses set up on AutoEntry worldwide. These users now benefit from not only eliminating their direct data entry related costs of provisioning their service to SME clients, but also in terms of service turnaround times, workflow visibility, document collection and employee engagement.

Available as both a web and mobile app, more and more businesses are now choosing AutoEntry – drawn to its intelligent features which aren’t offered by other service providers. Here are just a few of them:

Flexible document capture: AutoEntry automates the capture of data from scanned and photographed images of bank and credit card statements – as well as invoices, receipts, expenses, bills and more.

Full line item detail: AutoEntry captures full line items, including the description, unit price and quantity for each line, with accuracy verification built in.

Purchase order matching: AutoEntry syncs captured invoices to matching open purchase orders.

Seamless partner integration: As well as Xero, AutoEntry integrates seamlessly with all other major accounting software providers, including QuickBooks, Reckon, KashFlow, Sage One, Sage 50, AccountsIQ and more.

A secure platform: AutoEntry is a registered data controller and employs best practice security policies including SSL encryption across the platform.

Price: With a pay-as-you-go pricing model, AutoEntry offers considerable savings compared to other service providers.

Forward looking businesses already know that spending hours on manual data entry no longer makes sense. The dilemma has evolved to be, not if I should implement an automated data entry solution, but which one? So choose wisely. Not all solutions were made equally. Some were built with the end user in mind, and some were built to help you do more, faster. As evidenced by our growing popularity in the Xero marketplace, many are already making the right choice. We’ll leave the decision to you.    

Find out why so many businesses are choosing AutoEntry. Start your free trial today or visit the Xero marketplace for more information.

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12th May 2017

The AutoEntry team was back in full force at Accountex this year and it was a jam packed two days for all involved. Accountex is a date not to be missed in the accountancy calendar, with industry professionals from far and wide gathering at London’s ExCeL to share news, network over coffee and attend insightful presentations from the likes of Microsoft and ICAEW.  

Having attended Accountex over the years, we’ve seen the increasing interest of those wishing to adopt digital solutions in their respective firms. Once an industry which favoured the more ‘traditional’ way – accountants and bookkeepers are well and truly keeping pace with today’s digital revolution, eager to take advantage of the valuable operating efficiencies granted by innovative digital tools, and rightly so.

This objective was certainly reflected in the volume of traffic we received over the course of the event at our stand, and following the presentations we made on incorporating digital and cloud-based technology in business. With more ‘digital-first’ market entrants, online or on the high street, and increasingly technologically savvy clients – we chose to present on these topics as we believe that using software in is now fundamental in order for accountants and bookkeepers to remain competitive and relevant. And we’re not alone in this view – research from Xero found that a significant 86% of accountants think that understanding technology is now as important as knowledge of the trade.

So why were we at Accountex? Businesses come to us in order to leverage an all encompassing solution which eliminates manual data entry. They want a cloud-based platform which captures and analyses scanned and photographed paper documents – seamlessly automating data entry into a user’s accounts software, be it Xero, QuickBooks or Sage. They want an intelligent solution which offers them enhanced functionality such as full line item capture and PO matching. And they want it at a fair price. Offering all of that and more, AutoEntry is rapidly becoming one of the most popular add-on for invoice capture in the Xero marketplace – just one year since its release.     

As computing develops at pace, advances in this field will continue to push boundaries of what we think is possible, both at home and in the office. Accountex will remain a valuable opportunity for businesses to keep up to speed with these marketplace changes, and specifically the development of business applications within financial services. Applying targeted solutions such as AutoEntry must continue to be a top priority for accounting practices, in order to help them work smarter and make better use of every working day. As ever, we had a terrific time at this year’s Accountex, soaking up the atmosphere and meeting many new prospects who will be eliminating manual data entry by deploying AutoEntry in their organisation in the forthcoming weeks. We’re already looking forward to what the conference next year has in store. Here’s to next time!  

Go to www.AutoEntry.com to find out more, or to sign up for a free trial

 

21st April 2017

Join the paper free revolution this Earth Day

Tomorrow is Earth Day, an international civic observance to drive awareness on the topics of environmentalism and climate change. Founded in 1970, Earth Day continues to grow in influence, as it mobilises millions worldwide to work together and live responsibly.     

earthdayDrawing attention to deforestation is a key objective for Earth Day, bringing communities together to replant trees in order to help compensate for the 7bn cut down each year. Among many other socio-economic factors, this is to feed the global demand for paper, at school, at home and in the office. In fact, our reliance on paper is growing at such a rate, that the average office worker uses in excess of 10,000 pieces of paper per year. Yet with only 4bn hectares of rainforest thought to be remaining worldwide, it’s an obvious concern, and a warning to us all that things must change. So it’s great to see movements like Earth Day help shine a spotlight on these important issues.

With the growth of artificial intelligence and automation, more businesses are adopting digital and cloud-based technologies, and in so doing, reducing their consumption of paper. As well as decluttering their office and helping the environment, businesses are becoming more agile; driving valuable operating efficiencies, improving accountability and predictability, while reducing cost, inconsistency and risk.

Here at AutoEntry, our goal is to be part of the movement, by providing software which helps accountants and bookkeepers automate their bookkeeping processes and make them paperless. AutoEntry eliminates bookkeeping data entry by capturing and analysing details from scanned and photographed invoices, receipts, bank and card statements and inputs them directly into a user’s accounting software. Having posted the data to a user’s accounts software, the solution can act as your online filing cabinet, storing your documents for as long as you need – retrievable at the touch of a button. By using automated data entry technologies like AutoEntry, business no longer need to print, store, photocopy, or process reams of paper documents by hand anymore, reducing the burden of paperwork and supporting both the paperless office and their digital strategy in the long term.  

So to celebrate Earth Day this year, think twice before printing, posting and photocopying documents unnecessarily. Ask for your receipts and bank statement to be emailed to you where possible, and consider using an automated bookkeeping solution to not only help eliminate the time and cost of manual data entry, but to help your office go green and reduce its consumption of paper.   

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18th April 2017 

Musings from our travels

Earlier this month we travelled to Australia and toured the length and breadth of the country to meet with our partners, soak up the sunshine, and attend several industry events, including Accounting Business Expo and this year’s Reckon “RAP” Conference.

There was such a positive atmosphere at these gatherings, and we were excited to meet so many professionals eager to embrace technological innovation in their respective businesses. It brought to mind a recent piece of research, the Global Innovation Index and an annual report by INSEAD, which seeks to measure innovation, an entity it considers to be a major contributing factor of economic growth and development. Commentary from the report states that “realising success” in today’s disMusingsruptive marketplace, requires forward-thinking strategies that “embrace digital and address the need to change the fundamental ways of working.” Within the research, Australia was ranked in the top 15% of the most innovative countries in the world. And driving innovation in the workplace is clearly a priority for the local organisations we met during our travels.

Traditional bookkeeping and the manual data entry of paper documents such as receipts, invoices and bank statements, for instance, are at odds with the ethos of these forward looking firms. For them, now is the time to archive these practices, swapping long days typing up data with smart tools to automate data extraction at the flick of a switch. By using these technologies they’re seeing a knock on effect to their bottom line, allowing management to use the time saved to focus on wider business strategy, improving services and customer retention.  

It was encouraging to hear so many of these success stories and even better to know that AutoEntry has been a key component in these achievements. AutoEntry has made a huge impact on the market since its inception and we’re delighted to serve a growing number of Australian based accountants and bookkeepers. It’s an exciting time for us as we support our customers in embracing technological innovation in order to grow faster and achieve more. We’ll be returning in the near future to continue to build our network in the region. Watch this space!

Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for real time updates and news.    

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7th April 2017 

AutoEntry at Sage Summit UK

SageIt was an action packed two days at the 2017 Sage Summit in London’s ExCeL. The AutoEntry team were in full swing, catching up with customers and demonstrating the software to new prospects – from independent bookkeepers, to accountants and SMEs, all keen to understand how automation can impact their business and drive change.

With a full schedule of debates, breakout sessions and workshops, the agenda also featured celebrated business leaders Martha Lane Fox and Deborah Meaden as keynote speakers, imparting learnings to brimming auditoriums on unlocking new opportunities and driving innovation in the workplace. In line with this theme, it was great to see the sheer volume of businesses looking to cast off ‘old ways’ of working, and capitalise on the lucrative and practical efficiencies that can be afforded by software. Indeed, recent research by Sage reveals that whilst almost a third of accountants are still using manual methods as part of client based record keeping – a significant 86% would be happy for technology to reduce the burden of these administrative processes so they can focus more on managing client relationships and building their practice.

We see this appetite for change reflected in our own customer base. Our clients chose AutoEntry as they were looking for an all-in-one cloud-based solution to eliminate bookkeeping data entry, and in so doing, help them reduce costs, drive productivity and  enhance customer experiences. AutoEntry delivers on these goals and more by capturing and analysing scanned and photographed invoices, receipts, bank and card statements, inputting the data directly into a user’s bookkeeping software. As well as being the most cost effective service provider of our kind, our customers stay with us for the long term due to the quality of our features which sets us apart from competitors. For instance, the capture of full line item details and matching invoices to purchase orders where applicable. Compatible with all major accounting solutions, AutoEntry integrates with Sage One as well as desktop application Sage 50, and is in fact the only solutions provider in our space which does.

Sage continues to be a market leader within innovative business software, and we’re delighted to be one of their accredited add on partners – serving the needs of our shared customers as they seek to transform their back office operations with smart solutions. This year’s Sage Summit brought business leaders together to share insights and to learn from each other in a truly collaborative environment. We look forward to the next one!         

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30th March 2017 

AutoEntry at Accountex: Work smarter not harder

This year’s Accountex isAccountex logo coming up, and as ever we’re excited to be part of the event. Accountex has developed to be a pivotal conference for accountancy professionals in the UK, bringing together all disciplines across the industry. For us, it’s an opportunity to catch up with customers, hear from leaders in innovation and showcase our market leading solution, AutoEntry, at our stand.  

Mounting challenges

Many issues will be discussed during the two days, not least the impact technology is having on accounting and bookkeeping. We’ve seen major advancements in the development of business applications within financial services, and better understanding these tools in order to drive efficiencies must continue to be a top priority for accounting practices. Indeed, it’s the focus of the sessions we’ll be presenting.

The cyclical pattern of heavy workloads, new market entrants and navigating complex client requests can make accounting a demanding profession. Excellent time management skills are required as a minimum in order to keep on top of emails and prevent an overflowing paper tray. Compliance work in particular has always been a time consuming service offering with tight margins. Yet, this work continues to become even more competitive despite ever increasing expectations from customers.

Elsewhere, research reveals that 40% of accountants claim their main audit and tax services are being requested less – with over half citing that their function has moved from traditional accountancy to more strategic financial advice. Combined with ongoing economic pressures, regulatory complexity, the impending shift to MTD, as well as factors such as talent acquisition and employee engagement – there’s more than ever to contend with in order to keep afloat.

Ease the pressure with automation

Until recently the industry has been rooted in tradition. However the role of the accountant is now changing rapidly, and with the advent of technology, accountants are increasingly turning to technology to drive efficiencies and restructure what services they can offer to clients. In fact, according to research by Xero, 83% of accountants believe that an understanding of technology is now as important as knowledge of the trade itself.

Systems that leverage data analytics and machine learning can detect patterns in data and predict outcomes. Advances in this field are growing at pace, impacting all sectors of business not least within accountancy. As evidenced by our growing customer base, many are leveraging solutions to improve accuracy, reduce costs and make redundant certain processes associated with traditional bookkeeping and manual data entry. And rightly so, automated tools like AutoEntry are disrupting the industry and empowering users. They’re helping accountants and bookkeepers to work smarter and make better use of every working day.

For our customers, the hours once spent manually logging data from paper documents, can now be spent making inroads on the business functions that matter most, such as advisory services and client care. Whilst the nature of the job means it may never be a 9 to 5, accountants can lean on technology solutions to make their everyday more productive, and in so doing, make their time more profitable. It’s great to see that many professionals are becoming more aware of the significant efficiencies afforded by technology, however there’s still more work to be done. And if you’re not yet benefitting from technology in your working day, you can be sure your competitors will be.

Hear more about how to leverage the power of automation in our sessions:

Automated accounting: Work smarter not harder (May 10th -11:00 am)

Your accounting practice, your digital future  (May 11th – 12:00 pm)

Visit us at the AutoEntry stand: 432

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13th March 2017

AutoEntry on the road – Australia calling!

It will be a busy few weeks for the AutoEntry team, as we hit the road for Australia on Wednesday. Whilst we’re there we’ll be attending and exhibiting at several industry conferences, including the Accounting Business Expo and Reckon Partners Conference. These are key dates for industry professionals, attracting thousands of delegates from far anAustralia-day2d wide to make new connections, learn from peers and discuss the latest industry news and developments.      

Accountants everywhere are increasingly deploying automated solutions like AutoEntry in order to redefine the working day and simplify processes. During our visit, and aside from the sunshine and sandy beaches, we’re looking forward to catching up with our Australian customers, a digital-first group of accountancy practices and SMEs choosing to automate their bookkeeping functions and specifically, eliminate the manual data entry of paper documents such as bills, invoices, bank statements and receipts.

This trip will be particularly busy for us as in recent years, we’ve seen significant growth in our Australian client base. This is hardly surprising given that Australian businesses across the board are investing heavily in digital solutions in order to engage employees, drive innovation, boost efficiency and gain market share. Indeed, given than 8 in 10 Australian businesses expect rapid technology development in the next three years, it’s evident that these organisations are rightly preparing now for the disruption ahead – deploying smart solutions in order to keep up with the pace of change. As with all of our clients, it’s been great to work with these businesses and see them reaping the rewards afforded by automation in terms of recouped time and cost – often to the tune of many thousands of dollars. We look forward to catching up with these valued customers in person and hear what other efficiencies have been realised since implementing AutoEntry.       

Technological change is sweeping all corners of the globe, from the UK to Australia and everywhere in between, with digital solutions transforming how we work. As more businesses continue to realise the considerable benefits provided by automation, particularly in terms of manual data entry, we’re confident our international presence is only set to increase.

We’ve certainly got an action packed journey ahead. Follow us on Twitter for real time updates and get in touch if you’ll be passing by!   

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