Start the Digital Journey with Receipt Management
Author: Daniel Richards, Strategic Partnerships Director, MyFirmsApp
In recent years, the accounting profession has faced a full-on challenge to change the mindset of clients who want to hang on to their old ways and haven’t been prepared to take on new digital tools. However, as we enter a new decade, there are encouraging signs that more clients are looking to concentrate on their core businesses and ditch the time spent on administration. There is at last a realisation that they can make their lives easier.
Receipt management is one area where change is long overdue. All business owners recognise that they need to record and keep track of their receipts. However, it hasn’t made sense for a very long time for clients to ram them into plastic bags and then drop them off at their accountants where long hours are spent sorting and entering them onto the accounting system.
Going the digital route allows receipts to be scanned on-the-go using a smartphone and gets rid of the plastic bag option. Educating clients to deal with receipts immediately delivers huge advantages in terms of generating efficiencies and time savings for both elements of the partnership: the business owner and the accountant. And it can be achieved very easily by using the camera on smartphones to ‘snap’ receipts and send them over to their accountants in real time and strengthen the ‘working’ connection between client and accountant,
Adopting a digital approach to receipt management makes perfect sense in a country where close to 9 out of 10 adults own a smartphone. The Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2019 predicts that it is likely to remain the most owned, most used, and most personal device among UK adults for many years to come. Its capability will be iterated significantly over the medium term: it will become faster, thanks to more powerful processors, it will become more intuitive, thanks to more native smartphone applications, it will become better connected, due to the roll out of the latest cellular standard (5G) and the latest Wi-Fi standard (Wi-Fi 6), it will become more secure, due to greater use of biometric (fingerprint, facial and iris) authentication. As a result of these and other advances, investment in mobile first applications by business and government, is likely to grow so it follows that any process for receipt management that uses a smartphone is going to find support amongst the business community.
But with so many receipt management tools now available, how easy is it to make the right recommendation to your clients? This is the dilemma facing a lot of the accountants we speak to and is the reason why we commissioned an overview of the market in the ‘Definitive Guide to Receipt Management Software.’ This is the first time detailed reviews of the main receipt management tools along with summaries of all their respective features and benefits have been drawn together into one quick and easy read.
The aim of the guide is to help accountants make a more informed choice by looking at the whole picture: from where to begin when thinking about Receipt Management Tools, the security around this technology, the storage of data and how best to encourage business clients to start using a Receipt Management App.
Extensive research was conducted by author, Allison Plager, a leading figure in the accounting and tax profession, before she started writing. As she points out in the introduction, there are many different receipt management tools available on the market; all with different features and benefits that are designed to take full advantage of the move to digitalisation, so the choice isn’t at all clear cut for accountants.
While all the products reviewed in the guide have in common the facility to scan receipts and store them in the cloud, some are essentially a means of tracking employee expenses, saving the need for paper expense claims and often resulting in speedier payments to the employee. Others are aimed squarely at small businesses that wish to speed up and automate their bookkeeping by using their phone to take a photo of a receipt.
One thing is clear: clients will be looking to their accountants more and more in 2020 to help them streamline the administrative side of running their businesses. There is an opportunity for accountants to be seen as business mentors with wide ranging experience of the many digital tools that are available and are able to direct their clients to those most suited to their needs. As the guide reveals, the options range from an in-built tool within the accountant’s own App, which can be given to clients and is free for them to use to more sophisticated products that carry a monthly fee.
We are already seeing a shift towards accountants working with more than one chosen software partner, so clients aren’t shoe horned into a one size fits all approach but as Allison says, the choice isn’t at all clear cut for accountants. Hopefully, the guide, which is available as a free download, will make is easier to choose the right receipt management tool for every client and to generate valuable efficiencies that could save hundreds of hours that would once have been spent sifting through paper receipts.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by MyFirmsApp .