How Irish Businesses Can Automate Bookkeeping
Let’s give a round of applause to the Irish workers, who, in 2019, were the world’s most productive employees. According to the OECD, they boosted the economy’s value by at least €87 per hour worked. That’s about €24 more than the US!
Even in 2018, Irish workers have already gained recognition for their hard work. They topped another list back then for having the highest productivity at work, with a rate of 94.7%. Germany, which ranked second, only scored 92.7%.
If the Irish were to automate bookkeeping tasks, they could be even more productive. This is especially true for small business owners and self-employed individuals. These folks, after all, usually manage the books on their own.
How exactly does automated bookkeeping for sole traders in Ireland work though? What type of accounting tasks can you convert into an automatic process?
We’ll answer all these burning questions below, so be sure to read on!
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Digitised Bookkeeping for Small Businesses in Ireland
A 2017 study showed that “admin” tasks cost the global service industry over €4.21 trillion each year. Most of these expenditures result from the loss of productive time spent on these admin work.
Data entry tops the list of these productivity draining tasks. Yes, that includes many bookkeeping and accounting related chores. So, it’s no wonder that 90% of workers in some countries say they would trust some type of software to do the task for them.
In Ireland, a survey found that 85% of organisations have embraced automation. Of those that already use automation software, 20% has had a spike in jobs. Almost two in three also reported how these technologies are boosting their revenue.
Financial sectors and departments are among the biggest beneficiaries of automation. Many of the tasks involved here are repetitive, after all. That includes all sorts of bookkeeping responsibilities, such as invoicing and payroll for small business.
Across the Emerald Isle, Xero has become one of the top picks for accounting technology. Although based in New Zealand, the software is now all over the globe. Today, there are over two million active users of this bookkeeping technology.
An Overview of Xero
Xero is bookkeeping or accounting software that records and processes business transactions. It’s like an electronic ledger, except that it’s smarter as you can easily “teach” it tricks. Such tricks include automating any bookkeeping tasks that require multiple entries.
On that note, Xero accounting software can handle and help with duties like billing, receipts, and invoicing. You can also use it for ensuring accurate payroll reporting and issuance. It’s so smart it can even deal with tax filing, financial reporting, and accounts payable!
Getting Started With Xero
As a top-class accounting technology, Xero accounts is a cloud-based software. Like most software-as-a-service (SaaS), it lets you manage bookkeeping tasks online. Since it’s online, you only have to sign up, and it gives you the first 30 days of use free of charge.
Once you’ve created an account, you should receive an activation email. If it’s not in your primary inbox, it may have made it’s way to your spam folder. Be sure that it’s from Xero before you click the “Yes, it’s me – let’s get started” message.
This should take you to Xero’s official account activation page. Here, you can already create a password, after which, you just have to click on “Activate your account”. It’s as easy as that to get started with Xero!
By the way, consider enabling two-step authentication (2SA) in your Xero account. This further secures the log-in process, which can help you reduce your risks of hacking.
Take Advantage of Its Bank Feeds Feature
- Bank feeds allow you to automate the task of importing transactions from your bank into Xero. With this, you no longer have to perform manual importations of all your transactions. This saves you a lot of time, especially if you have multiple banks and multiple transactions at a time. Xero’s bank feeds are available in four forms, including direct and PayPal. If you have an account with Yodlee or Stripe, you can also integrate either into Xero
Set up Bank Rules
- Get rid of the need to create manual transactions for cash payments with Xero’s bank rules. With this, you can automate the reconciliation of statement lines for cash transactions. This works for any repetitive tasks that you haven’t used Xero for yet. Xero even makes suggestions for bank statement lines that don’t have a matching rule yet. You can also modify transaction suggestions or create new ones as you do cash coding.
Create and Send Recurring Invoices
- Aside from creating new invoices, you can also automate repeating invoices with Xero. This allows you to save recurring transactions for invoices that you send on a regular basis. Imagine the amount of time you can save by eliminating this repetitive task!
Integrate Merchant Services for Hassle-Free Payment Receipt
- As mentioned above, you can create bank feeds with Xero for a Stripe account. In addition, the invoices you send to your clients also come with a clickable link. This will take them to a page with a convenient payment method. On that page, your customers can quickly enter their credit card information. They can then pay you right on the spot! This then makes it more convenient and easier for clients to send their payments. You, on the other hand, receive your hard-earned money much more quickly. Also, Xero notifies you as soon as you receive any payment. The bookkeeping software even automatically updates the paid invoices on your behalf.
Allow Direct Debit Payments
- The direct debit payment is a nifty feature of Xero that allows clients to pay you using a bank account. Keep in mind that in Ireland, debit card usage is now more common than credit cards. In June 2018, for instance, debit card transactions amounted to €3.1 billion. Credit card usage, on the other hand, only totalled €13.5 million during the same month. As such, it would be beneficial for both you and your clients if your business allowed for direct debit. This way, they have more methods to pay you with, plus, they won’t incur interest. This, in turn, can motivate them to pay you faster, or at least, on time.
Pay Your People on Time
- Xero comes with its a built-in payroll feature called “Pay Run”. This allows you to pay all your employees and even automate their salary issuance. Pay Run also makes it easy to generate payslips for all of your employees enrolled in the service. You can then quickly send your workers with a digital PDF copy of their actual earnings.
Use Zapier With Xero to Really Automate Things
Zapier is a cloud-based automation tool that links and makes dozens of apps work together. You can use it with Xero to automatically connect it with other apps you use.
Let’s say that you use PayPal, and all transactions you do with it go to your Gmail account. Let’s also assume that you’ve set up your Irish bank account with PayPal. As such, every transaction generates two emails, one from PayPal, the other from your bank.
Since you need all these emails for your accounting, you then manually save each to a separate folder. Let’s say you use Dropbox as the save location of all these PayPal transactions.
As you can see, there’s a lot of time-consuming, repetitive tasks involved in all of these.
The great news is, you can integrate Zapier into your Xero account. Zapier then takes over most of the repetitive tasks for you. You can use it to automate the chore of organising your emails.
That’s only one example of how you can use Zapier, though. The bottom line is, you can use this with Xero to build your app workflows. From there, you can save a lot of your time and resources with its automation prowess.
A Final Rundown of Why You Should Automate Bookkeeping
Technology innovation in accounting saves you hours and hours of your precious time. It helps you prevent errors that arise from manual data entry. It also ensures that you pay your people not just on time, but also what they are actually due.
Bookkeeping automation can also help you grow your small business in Ireland. Since it increases your productivity, then you have more time to accept more projects. More projects mean more revenues.
At the same time, more projects may also translate to a greater need for an increased workforce. So, not only does this help your business grow; it also creates more jobs.
As for online bookkeeping automation, this lets you harness the power of the cloud. This means that your data stays on the web, where it’s safer from potential losses. Data loss is a real threat, with almost one in three PC users losing all files due to uncontrollable events.
Online accounting software also lets you manage all your books from wherever. You only need a compatible device, and you can view or work on your records anywhere. What’s more, you can make sure that every transaction is recordable real-time.
Make Every Moment Count
There you have it, your ultimate guide on how to automate bookkeeping tasks. As part of Ireland’s impressive workforce, automation lets you further boost your productivity. With tech like Xero, you can say goodbye to all those time-consuming accounting chores.
Need a bespoke bookkeeping automation strategy designed for self-employed or small business owners in Ireland? Then please don’t hesitate to connect with us here at SCK Group! We’ll be happy to give you the accounting guidance you need for your Irish Small Business.
If you are a UK business operating in Ireland, see our guide to Irish Payroll Services for UK companies.