Five Ways to Streamline Data Entry

Five Ways to Streamline Data Entry

Are you manually entering data into your accounting system?  If so, there may be a way to enter that data that’s faster, cheaper, and better.  Data entry automation has come a long way.  Here are five common ways to automate data entry so that it no longer has to be manually entered:

1. Bank feeds or online banking

If your bank transactions are being entered manually, the good news is there is an opportunity to save a significant amount of time and money on your accounting.  Almost all banks and many credit unions provide interfaces with your accounting system so that checking account, savings account, and credit card transactions can be automatically entered directly into your accounting system.  There are two ways to do this:

  1. The older way is through online banking which can be started by working with both your accounting system and the bank.  The fee is usually $25 per month, with additional fees for bill pay.
  2. The brand new, more modern and completely free way is through bank feeds, which are available when you move to a cloud accounting system such as QuickBooks Online or Xero.

2. A smart scanner

If a lot of paper flows across your desk., scan it in using a smart scanner that can parse the document and enter it straight into your accounting system.  These systems will usually provide an opportunity to edit the data prior to  saving, which is far better than entering information from scratch.

There are also software solutions that can take “dumb” pdf documents and make them searchable. File Convert indexes your old .pdf files and searches within the document itself in case we can’t remember the file name or location.

3. Import and export functions

If your company needs to get data from one place to another, such as from a point of sale system to an accounting system, then using the export and import features of the software may be the most efficient method.  There are also software applications that help scrub the data and get it ready for the receiving system.  Also- if you are converting from an old accounting system to a new accounting system, this method will come in handy to get your historical data moved.

Here at Lucrum, we use a website called tsheets.com for all of our time tracking. Everyone enters his/her time directly into the website and a supervisor can approve, reject, or recode the time. Once complete, the time is exported to Quickbooks. The final step is to download the time file into our Quickbooks database and it appears with all notes, charge codes, billable status, etc. as if it were manually entered (which is what we used to do)!

Implementing this solution took about 3 months from research to roll-out and about 25 hours of research or trial & error time. TIME SAVINGS: ~1.5 hrs each week.

4. Interfaces and programmers

If there is a high volume of transactions that needs to move from one place to another on an ongoing basis, it may make the most sense to employ programmers who can build an interface.  Alternately, some systems can talk to each other already; they just need to be plugged into each other correctly.

A great example of this is a homebuilder client who is using Quickbooks for accounting and BuilderTrend for construction management purposes. The two software packages were not properly set up to integrate but with some research and minor tweaks, it’s now close to being rolled out for all supervisors to use. TIME SAVINGS: 6-8 hrs each week.

5. Smartphones, tablets, and field service hardware and software

If your sale occurs out in the field, don’t wait to get back to the office to get the data into your accounting system.  It is now commonplace to complete the sale right out in the field, so there is no need to key in the day’s work after getting back to the office.

Mobile accounting apps are where to look for this form of data entry automation.  We had an HVAC client whose technicians had to call credit card payments from repair customers into the main office since they were not set up with mobile point-of-sale systems. Now the technicians can swipe the customer’s credit card on their iPad reader, collect a signature and skip all the paperwork when they get back to the shop. TIME SAVINGS: ~.5 hr per technician per day.

No more manual data entry

In 2015, consider taking on the goal of no more manual data entry.  The conversion can be a bit daunting at first, but will be worth it in the long run.  Let us know if you are interested in trying any of these options.  We can help!

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