This summer there is hyped space racing from billionaires like Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Richard Branson (Virgin Group and SpaceX, among others). They are polluting the environment with it, but are making waves with new innovations. Robotic accounting is also a race by software companies to be the first to offer 100% automatic accounting. A bit strange isn’t it? People shoot rockets into space, but we can’t fully automate our bookkeeping yet.
Afine, accountants aspire to have an “accounting robot” that does the basic bookkeeping work. A common reason is that they want to make more time available for analysis, reporting and customer advice. With robotic accounting, the accounting industry is working toward this goal of 100% automated bookkeeping. Curious about what it is, where we stand and what the benefits could be for you as an accountant? Then read on.
What is robotic accounting?
Accountants and bookkeepers are coming across this term more and more, and the software industry is embracing their wishes, but what does it really mean? Robotic accounting stands for taking away human actions during administrative work and replacing them with software, or robots. The important thing here is that the quality is at least as high as human actions.
When will the accounting robot arrive?
Accountants know that it will happen in the future. No one knows exactly when, it could be as soon as 3 years from now, but it could also be 15 years from now. Fact is that almost everyone is convinced that in x years all SME administrations will be processed 99% automatically and virtually error-free. Large software houses like Microsoft, Visma and Exact are investing massively in AI and machine learning. For me, the question is not so much who will win this race, but when the customer will be able to work with it to such a high standard that there really will be no-hands accounting.
What is the current thinking around robotic accounting?
In 2021, complete robotization of the accounting process is not yet possible anywhere. However, part of it can be robotic. I am thinking particularly of the high-volume processes for simple processing of purchase invoices, sales invoices, bank and cash entries. Accounting software is steadily improving the delivery and processing of these various accounting documents. Unfortunately, despite all the fancy marketing statements, there is still a long way to go, because the quality is by no means always what the user expects.
What is the role of TriFact365?
Our goal is error-free automation of high-volume accounting documents. To this end, we adopt new technologies at an early stage that we expect to have an impact and as soon as they are somewhat ready for production we offer them as BETA functions for our users, thus creating impact.
Robotic accounting works underlying with high-quality cloud software, for which TriFact365 uses modern algorithms that we continuously improve. With the many millions of invoices processed by our software, the self-learning algorithms can make ever better proposals based on the available data. The specialists at TriFact365 have made this their job and it is their mission to minimize human actions in the booking process.
riFact365 is of course small compared to the Big Tech giants like Amazon (Jeff Bezos) and Virgin (Richard Branson). Nevertheless, we too are proud of the impact we are having on accountants with our robotic accounting software.
4 advantages of robotic accounting for accountants
Benefit 1: Lower and stable cost structure
More automation means less bookkeeping and therefore less labor costs. If you, as an accountant, select the right software vendor then the additional IT costs are lower and more flexible than the labor costs saved.
Benefit 2: Higher turnover
By saving costs your office can offer lower composition rates to customers. This makes your proposition more attractive compared to competitors. As a result, as an accountant you should be able to increase turnover, which leads to value creation. Also read this customer story about revenue growth.
Benefit 3: Higher profitability
Would you rather not pass on the cost savings through more competitive rates? Then higher margins remain, so you can expect more profitability. If you then know how to invest this profit in the right way you can also add value in this way.
Benefit 4: Improved competitiveness through greater efficiency
It doesn’t matter much how you ultimately manage to use the automation benefits in your organization. Accountants use different strategies, some choose a price strategy and others opt for a niche in terms of product / market combination. What matters is that your office has more efficient work processes than the competition, so you can make a difference.
Be critical: robotic accounting hype or reality?
If you read the media, trade journals and opinions of industry organizations, a common thread can be discovered. Accountancy firms and industry organizations expect that in the period 2020-2030 a “supercomputer” will take over accounting. The market seems convinced that automation is the winning route and that further robotization is on the cards in the coming years.
As an accountant, what is the point of being among the frontrunners or early-adopters?
At TriFact365, we listen a lot to our customers. And indeed, frequently heard terms are “getting in on time so as not to miss the boat” and “preparing the organization for the future”. So we can confirm that the topics around Robotic Accounting are topical and that many organizations see the need to get in on time.
For that reason, more and more companies, accountants and non-profit organizations are knocking on TriFact365’s door. What appeals to them is the way we automate. TriFact365 provides one uniform independent accounting robot that can provide all accounting packages with an entry in the same way. Uniformity means that we are sometimes strict and do not fulfill all the wishes of individual customers and yet we have the label in the market of an agile supplier who really knows what the needs of customers are.
So, based on the above, organizations seem to realize that Robotic Accounting is maturing and delivering tangible time savings across the entire invoice processing chain. Nevertheless, we believe that all this is still in its infancy. Robotic Accounting is really a form of hype after all. It is an exaggeration to assume that accounting will be virtually automatic within the next 3 years. Yet this cannot be completely ruled out. Scanning and recognition techniques are becoming more sophisticated and technological advances not infrequently come with sudden shocks.
“Our customers want to avoid the risk of a sudden automation shock. Organizations are getting to know advanced algorithms via TriFact365 via “plug and play” links in an approachable way that is already partially automating work. I expect the latest “machine learning” techniques to accelerate the possibilities in the next few years. History also teaches us that organizations need to adjust their business model in time so they do not miss the boat”, says Kristian van Dijk, Product Owner at TriFact365.
What can TriFact365 mean for your organization?
Within our software there are several applications of Robotic Accounting. Think of the electronic exchange of invoices through APIs (connectors), electronic invoice processing, the automatically presented booking proposal, automatic email reminders for the approval process and push notifications for authorization on the mobile app. And we do not stand still, we are continuously working on new innovations and techniques that aim to reduce actions.
In the year 2021 we will process more and more invoices error-free and we are currently preparing to process invoices fully automatically into linked accounting packages or as UBL export. We already process millions of invoices in the Netherlands and neighbouring countries. And as more invoices go through the workflow in TriFact365, the self-learning algorithms can present increasingly accurate booking proposals, down to line level.
By 2030 (and hopefully sooner), we expect that accounting can be 99% automated via Robotic Accounting. The road towards it will be full of bumps, where undiscovered techniques will still play an important role and that is exactly what makes the challenge so great for us.
Would you like your office to try out Robotic Accounting? Request a demo and test TriFact365 for 30 days without any obligations. Discover for yourself the time and costs you can save with TriFact365, so you can create value for your own office and clients.