In our technology-driven world, almost every operational challenge inspires a digital-based solution. There is no shortage of geeks searching for ways to improve the efficiency of the tasks that we accountants face on a daily basis. Such are the benefits of the hi-tech world in which we live.
At X6 Management, we seek to capitalize on technology. The more that we can automate the tedious and repetitive components of our work, the more that we can focus on substantive issues, and that is good for our staff and great for our clients. One significant side benefit to leveraging with technology is the material reduction in labor hours and concomitant drop in our internal costs. We pass those cost savings to our clients in the form of fees that are substantially lower than those charged by our mainstream competitors. It’s a win-win for everyone.
We are on a perpetual quest to build an accounting platform that pushes the limits of automation. We’ve made progress on many fronts: the archaic and cumbersome processing of paper checks has been replaced with the streamline and efficient application of ACH autopay and online banking. Credit card transactions are no longer manually typed into the accounting system – instead, the data is instantaneously imported and auto-coded using the Quickbooks bank feed application. With our user-friendly virtual filing system, all of our clients’ documents are converted to electronic files that are effortlessly managed and easily accessible 24/7.
One labor-intensive task that has, up until now, defied productivity enhancement is the retrieval of electronic documents from the various websites we access in order to manage our clients’ accounting. Every month we face the task of downloading bank, investment and credit card statements as well as invoices for various payables including utilities, telephones, mortgages, auto loans, etc. The ordeal of manually transferring dozens of statements from such websites is labor-intensive and time consuming. Retrieving a single statement involves logging into the website, finding the location within the site where the documents are stored, selecting the relevant file, opening the document and then saving the file to the appropriate folder. It’s tedious and time-consuming work.
Fortunately, the Geeks have come through with a neat fix. Software currently on the market takes the drudgery out of file management. The days of arduous document retrieval are over. The program we selected fetches documents from almost any website and transfers them into our document management system. The program unobtrusively runs in the background while we attend to other more important tasks. After a couple of hours, Voila! – the files show up in the appropriate folders of our document management system. Once implemented and properly configured, the program automates almost the entire process, saving many hours of labor every month.
Almost? Well, one ensuing issue has to do with the naming of all of these files that have been downloaded into our virtual file room. We have a very specific convention for how files are named. Strict adherence to our format is necessary to standardize the indexing and recordkeeping. Files downloaded by the fetching software must be renamed to conform to our internal standards. This requirement leads to the next time-consuming task: renaming the files. Once again, we look to the geeks for help. And, yet again, we are not let down. We are currently evaluating a handful of programs that utilize rules and algorithms to rename the imported files to conform to our naming conventions. We have no doubt that this is yet another task that will, in the near future, be fully automated.