3 Shameful Accounting Sins We've All Committed—and How to Avoid Them in the Future

Today’s blog is a guest post from Christophe Primault, co-founder and CEO of GetApp.

In spite of the squeaky clean image often attributed to those of us working in accounting, we are all guilty of committing the occasional “sin” in our work. For the most part, sins in accounting result from busyness or sloppiness. Fortunately, those are two challenges you can easily overcome, especially when armed with the right accounting software.

Here we'll consider three of the most common accounting sins and address the underlying issues that cause them, as well as suggest solutions. Let's roll up our sleeves and start taking steps to absolve you of your sinful accounting ways.

Accounting Sin #1: Paying Late to Avoid Spending Time on Accounts Payable

You know you've got to pay the bills, you just don't want to (or simply cannot) invest the time necessary to handle accounts payable. So sometimes you let the occasional payment slip through late as you, maybe feeling guilty about your procrastination, take action to sort out accounts payable.

Whether your business is running on net 15, net 30, or some other time frame, you know that the rules are bent, and payments sometimes come when the payer feels like paying.

Although that's routinely the case, you have to ask, “Why let it get that way? Why not automate accounts payable?”

Thankfully, as an Intacct user, you can automate the tedious tasks associated with managing accounts payable. You can exercise control over workflows, accesses, and reports, all with cloud-based convenience, using the right software accounting solution. This lets you retrain your focus on pressing issues while ensuring that accounts payable, in fact, get paid.

Intacct's Accounts Receivable provides you with all the tools necessary to manage customers, invoices, and get a picture of where payments stand.

Accounting Sin #2: Letting Late Payments Go On, and On...

In a karmic inversion of the first accounting sin on this list, our second sin has to do with accounts receivable. Slow payments are a reality for almost all types of businesses, yet it can be tiresome to make numerous calls and send out frequent reminders. Oftentimes, if you're in small business accounting, you serve as the collections department, too.

That can put accounts receivable out of balance, and severely delinquent accounts can lead to bigger problems down the road.

Why worry about mailing or faxing invoices at all or deal with the unpleasant side of accounts receivable? Why not let your accounting application schedule reminders and chase payments for you?

If you've been stuck in the world of paper invoices, the switch to a cloud-based accounting solution can help you dodge this sin altogether. When you generate and send electronic invoices, there's no need to print out and mail or fax invoices. It all happens immediately with results you can easily track.

Email invoices offer you and your payers great flexibility when it comes to the payment types you are able to accept, including PayPal and Swipe. By putting your accounts payable in the cloud, you not only gain flexibility by easily facilitating digital payments, you also see those payments instantly, and can close your books all the more quickly as a result.

Additionally, you can avoid chasing payments when you automate your accounts receivable regiment. Intacct even lets you streamline the process of applying penalties for late payments.

Accounting Sin #3: Overlooking the Obvious (Reconciling Bank Accounts)

The most obvious accounting task is account reconciling, yet reconciling is also among the most often overlooked accounting tasks. Just as you don't always balance your checkbook in your personal life, you may sometimes take for granted the account balance being reported by the bank and not take the time to match transactions to receipts.

Though it's proverbial sacrilege to omit it such an obvious step, even accounting professionals need a reminder that account reconciling is a top priority.

The only way to recognize, and, more importantly, capitalize on every opportunity to drive revenue comes down to your ability to show whether revenue is missing or not. Reconciling your account is the only way to know, with confidence, that you've received what you're owed.

In the cloud, reconciling your accounts is exceedingly efficient. Within a single screen, you can view, search, and match transactions with invoices and receipts.

Are you an accounting “sinner?”

So we're having a bit of fun here, obviously. But if you're one of the many (many!) accounting professionals who has transgressed by committing one of the “sins” described here, don't worry. The first step on the road to recovery is recognizing that there’s a problem. Thankfully, the digital space offers solutions that call for little in the way of change on your part.

Don't keep sinning! After you have identified the problems you're facing, it's important that you address them and work to turn things around. By looking forward to a future that focuses on accounting in the cloud, you can work toward increasing profitability, all while streamlining your workload.

There is no reason to devote your time to entering redundant data across various spreadsheets in the cloud computing age. Those accounting practices are increasingly a thing of the past; the time is now to look to new, more efficient solutions.

Be sure to check out the GetApp Cloud Apps Marketplace at www.getapp.com. You can all see Intacct’s reviews on GetApp at: http://www.getapp.com/reviews/listing/intacct-accounting-and-financial-management-application.