4 ways automation reduces costs in accounting

Tedious tasks and outdated workflows cost your firm time and money. Explore four ways accounting automation can reduce costs in your firm.

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Last Updated February 15, 2024

Two accountants collaborating as one explains the benefits and cost savings of automation tools for their firm.


Raise your hand if you’ve implemented accounting automation in your firm or plan to soon. For those of you who didn’t raise your hand, why is that? 

Maybe it’s because you’re concerned it may replace your people (after all, people matter most). Perhaps you’re unsure of the costs associated with incorporating automation. Or it’s because you’re sitting at your desk (or on your phone), and you know I can’t see whether you’ve raised your hand. (Or can I? 👀)

All jokes aside, what if I told you that automation can reduce costs in your firm? Oh, and it can save time, too. So, let’s talk about four ways accounting automation can save you money. 

1. Automation eliminates manual data entry 

A female sitting at a desk in the office, smiling as she works on her laptop because automation tools let her focus on more enjoyable work.
When you let accounting automation handle the manual data entry, you have happier employees who can focus their time and efforts on more rewarding and strategic work.

I can remember back in my college days, just a—ahem—couple of years ago when data entry jobs were a dime a dozen. The pay was average for hourly work, but think of the added expense companies were taking on by outsourcing for data entry. There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing (we actually encourage it, especially during busy season), but the costs can quickly add up. 

Manual data entry is a place where firms can rely on accounting automation. And during tax season, applications like 1040SCAN by SurePrep® use OCR (optical character recognition) technology to read and enter data. This essentially removes the manual data entry process and reduces human error. Consider how much time you save with an automated application like that—and time is money, my friends. But I don’t have to tell you that. 

2. Automation simplifies expense management 

Let me tell you about a real-life experience. I recently visited our corporate office with the rest of the Rightworks Marketing team. Other than flight delay frustrations, the dread of having to file an expense report upon my return was in the back of my mind. At a previous company, I’d had to fill out an Excel spreadsheet and list every expense meticulously, scanning receipts and getting everything into one document to submit to accounting. I’m sure you’ve all felt the pain of that task once or twice (especially if you’re the one managing everyone’s reports). 

However, we use an expense management tool like Expensify, and my expense report was created and submitted within minutes (receipts and details included!). What would’ve taken me hours to complete previously took a fraction of the time thanks to automation. Save your team time by implementing automated expense management. You’ll reduce time and cost.  

3. Automation boosts CAAS performance 

An image with text that reads, “61% of firms that provide CAAS, AP and expense management agree they could not offer the services they currently do without automation.”
Automation has proven to be a catalyst for firms to offer higher-value services to their clients.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a firm that doesn’t offer some version of client accounting and advisory services (CAAS). It’s a great way to ensure year-round recurring revenue with higher-value services. Without accounting automation, it’s possible your CAAS offerings wouldn’t exist, or you wouldn’t have the resources to offer as many services as you do. 

Applications like Rightworks Connect simplify and allow you to strategize the delivery of client services. These apps do this by providing real-time insights into both firm data and client data, such as: 

  • Determining your ideal and not-so-ideal clients. 
  • Uncovering opportunities where you can optimize cash flow with existing clients. 
  • Tracking your proposal process to close deals more quickly. 

These tools integrate with accounting software, like QuickBooks® Online, QuickBooks Desktop and Xero, along with other applications like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. They do the hard work, so you don’t have to. And some apps like Connect do it for free. (See? There’s a cost savings right there.) 

4. Automation streamlines document management 

Gone are the days of the “paper-dependent” practice. You know what I mean: Clients coming in during tax season with a shoebox full of receipts; client files kept in file cabinets in your office; tax documents everywhere. Modern firms have gone digital by offering secure client portals and relying on document management systems to organize and store documents digitally. 

Going digital not only leads to a paperless practice (and puts a smile on Mother Earth’s face), but it saves time and streamlines your processes. And saving time during busy season is worth its weight in gold. (Well, maybe not gold, but you get the idea.)  

Documents are sent electronically through a secure portal, where they’re easily stored, organized and shared. Does a client need a copy of a past financial statement? They can easily check their portal, or you can quickly share it with them. No more rifling through paper files to locate documents, mailing hard copies or scanning/sending them. There’s that time (and cost) savings again. 

Accounting automation reduces costs 

Have I convinced you yet? Are you ready to start incorporating automation into your firm? If not, maybe this factoid will help: 

“89% of accounting professionals said that automation in financial operations makes their firm more profitable and efficient.”
– The BILL 2023 Accounting Firm Automation Opportunity Report

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