Data processing pitfalls: why accountancy firms should switch from manual to automatic

big data technology and data science illustration data flow concept querying analysing.jpg s1024x1024wisk20cINMsT5od0nLuKgWn0y 1UkzhuJL LDs7yF3aZh dqY 1 | Data processing pitfalls: why accountancy firms should switch from manual to automatic
By Conrad Emmett | 9th August 2023 | 6 min read

Data errors, uneven processes and patchy compliance procedures – what do they all have in common?

They’re pitfalls of manual processes.

Each can stall your firm, cause rifts with clients, diminish your reputation and, in some cases(if you don’t spot compliance mistakes), you might face financial, regulatory or legal penalties.

But there’s a solution: software automation.

Using our cloud accountancy software, IRIS Elements, as an example, let’s see how you can automate data inputting, business processes and compliance procedures to end costly mistakes, mitigate security risks and free up time to grow your business.

Manual inputting misery and security stresses

Manual processes could mean one error per 100 entries (maybe more!), and with big, corporate spreadsheets, research has suggested mistakes are virtually inevitable.

Whether you use a spreadsheet or not, problems are bound to happen when human intervention is required, retyping information into several other software packages – one for accounts, another for tax, another for final accounts production and so on.

Maybe you have a workaround that involves transferring data via email?

Well, using emails makes things even less secure, as they can easily go to the wrong place (a GDPR nightmare), or your account might get hacked, and the perpetrator can find all the sensitive data.

Automating processes using a connected, single source of truth

Eliminating manual data entry is mission-critical!

When creating IRIS Elements, we used a comprehensive API (which enables computer programs to talk to each other) to help data connectivity and establish a single source of truth in the cloud between various apps and modules.

The result? With IRIS Elements, you can:

  • Upload data directly from clients via a dedicated portal, eliminating the need to re-type anything and handle files in a risky way (e.g. spreadsheets and emails)
  • Use data in different ways, from fully onboarding a business to filing accounts, with any changes updated throughout – no more logging in and out of different apps or having to re-key data
  • Share data with other applications and platforms without any re-writing or copy-and-paste

Adam Owens FCCA, Founder of Power Accountants Business and Tax Advisors Limited, explains the full scope of the platform’s impact: “IRIS Elements is really at the heart of our practice now. It’s one database for all our information rather than multiple systems for us to update.

“We’ve removed the risk of error, moving data from one system to another, and we’re all working from the same place – no matter where we’re working from. We don’t have to worry about multiple client records increasing errors and duplication as we share one client record across the practice.”

Get a free trial of IRIS Elements!

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Putting an end to practice management pains

Even if data re-keying is not an issue, manual processes can still cause chaos.

This morning, for example, maybe you heard that one of your team missed a deadline and got a heated reminder from the client.

Meanwhile, it feels like everyone’s reinventing the wheel when it comes to paperwork and procedures, which is slowing everything down.

The bottom-line: clients aren’t happy, and business development time is draining away.

One team, one playbook

The IRIS Elements Practice Management module streamlines everything.

Jobs and tasks become workflows that areslick, automated andbuilt into bespoke dashboards that warn you when something is amiss.

You can ensure your team is working to clear one-off or repeat jobs for VAT, accounts and other services + you can assign tasks to the right people, identify bottlenecks and pinpoint underutilised staff.

Meanwhile, automated client requests for information and signoffs make your day easier.

Your team can see all real-time data and notify large numbers of clients using bulk email updates – saving tonnes of time while being extra attentive to the businesses you serve.

Preventing AML agony

Between 1 April 2022 and December 2022, accountancy service providers were hit by AML fines totalling £578,372!

Get AML wrong, and you could join those fined by HMRC.

It's easy to see how mistakes are made because AML can be time-consuming.

Checks are complex and practices don’t always standardise the process, so you have to start at square one every time, tracking progress with manual, painstaking effort.

With a stressful workload, the impulse can be to put AML on the back burner.

Customer story: Power Accountants reveals secret element that puts them ahead of the curve

Read here
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One compliant action plan

AML in IRIS Elements showcases how its automation delivers on specific time-consuming tasks, removing the sting with clear objectives, alerts, connected data and communication templates.

It starts at the very beginning.

Writing your first client proposal with IRIS Elements can mean you’ve effectively kickstarted a structured AML process.

All the information you use there can be swiftly passed to the AML module, and any requests for information can be automated using template emails and documents.

Lucy Vann-Patrick from R Vann Limited says: “The ID checks are quick and easy to use. Using both ID checks and risk assessments, you can make an informed decision on the client’s risk.

“Everything is self-explanatory and user-friendly.” 

IRIS Elements: automation done right

We believe IRIS Elements sets the bar for safe, automated accountancy software.

Its joined-up approach sits at the heart of a cloud platform that uses a range of slick, interconnected modules designed to make work more intuitive.

Additionally, because IRIS Elements is purpose-built for the cloud, you can do this automated work from anywhere.

Visit our IRIS Elements hub, where you can find out more, take a free trial and speak to our team to learn about how its automation can help you.

Check out the IRIS Elements hub!

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