Peter Šopinec answered questions about digitalization and automation in accounting at a conference for IT companies

Domov > Peter Šopinec answered questions about digitalization and automation in accounting at a conference for IT companies
  • Will accountants still have a job in 10 years’ time?

Good question to start with, and I hope I don’t lose my job. Which cannot be said for accountants who are in a “junior” position, or students who perform/had performed the initial transcription of data from documents into the accounting system. In my opinion, these positions will disappear in the job market and will be replaced by applications/software that already handle these tasks. Alternatively, these positions translate into visual inspection of the extracted data itself. Accountants who are senior/chief accountants (or independent accountants) will be transformed into an “advisor”role. They will solve problems that artificial intelligence can no longer recognise/ grasp and that is the application of individual legislative changes to specific accounting cases.

  • Digitalization – which direction have you moved in within digitalization, have you only applied paperless accounting or are there other benefits hidden behind it?

On 1 January 2022, an amendment to the Accounting Act was issued and, in addition to changes in accounting, it also specified information on the “Electronization (digitalization) of accounting”. We were very pleased with this amendment and welcomed the digitalization of accounting with open arms. I don’t want to go into great detail in what all digitalization has helped us, but I will mention the most important facts, namely:

  • We have reduced the number of physical folders by 70%, which means that our closets are empty and everything is backed up on external servers (within the Microsoft system)
  • We have reduced printing and paper costs by 60%
  • Searching for documents within the archive has been accelerated
  • Handing over of documents from clients has been made faster and more transparent, accountants can also account during the month and do not have to wait for the physical handing over of documents for a whole month
  • At the same time, the error rate when overwriting invoice data has been largely eliminated (but I’m getting into automation here)
  • What worries you the most, resp. annoying for directors/clients in terms of administration related to accounting?

The simple answer – handing over documents. The vast majority of clients consider the submission of documents to be an administrative burden and would be very happy if they did not have to carry it out. Depending on the size of the entity, it is necessary to distinguish who should be responsible for the administration of the accounts. In the case of a one-person company, the managing director usually performs all acts himself. Checking what he handed in, if he handed in, when he handed in is easy (he keeps track of everything). For medium and larger companies, I recommend setting up the processes of handing over documents so that the administrative burden is borne by a person with less added value (assistant, student, receptionist). There are various tools for collecting documents – whether it’s creating a collection email to send documents, or creating a repository where you can copy each document or just drag and drop. If we are talking about cash receipts, the managers/owners or corporate card holders should be disciplined enough to take a picture of the receipt on their mobile phone and save it to the app immediately after purchasing the service/goods (so there is no risk of loss and traceability). In short, it’s all about setting up processes, which at the end of the day, of course, have to be followed.

  • What can the client automate? What is your specific experience?

From the client’s point of view, these are:

Bank and bank statements – provide the accountant with passive access to the bank, so the client does not have to deliver bank statements on a monthly/weekly basis

Approval process – the process where an invoice received goes through various levels of approval before it reaches the accountant for posting or payment

Handing over documents – set up a collection email where all suppliers will send you invoices for services/goods, or set up one collection folder in a shared folder that the client/accountant will have access to

Issuing invoices – use applications that have the ability to link to the bank from an accounts receivable matching perspective. You can then automatically send reminders to non-payers. Ideally, export to csv., xls. or directly xml. to the accounting software

CRM – management software that is linked to an accounting program

From an accountant’s point of view:

  • Import bank statements/payment gateways/delivery notes into accounting software
  • Import of issued invoices into the accounting software
  • Import and extraction of incoming invoices
  • Import of cash documents into accounting software
  • Following automation, where do you see the role of the accountant? Rather in the role of advisors or in the role of digitizing work, which removes the administrative burden?

I think it should be half and half. The accountant should be the one who encourages the client to use different applications, ways to speed up data transfer and document submission. The accountant can also benefit from this, as he does not have to wait a whole month for the delivery of the documents, but can charge the documents continuously. An accountant should be innovative and should be knowledgeable about just such applications. I personally want to make light of the work, but I mean that in a good way. Do something faster than the competition and also draw the benefit of eliminating my bugginess. In our company, we have an accountant’s decalogue, where one of the points is the application of innovative elements in the field of accounting. Of course, another point is the quality of advice explained in human language.

  • How you have set up your company’s document submission processes. How should directors participate in the control of accounting?

We currently bill up to approximately 400 clients, where we try to maintain homogeneity in the processes we set up. About 70% of our clients upload documents to our server by storing them in specific shared folders. Of course, there are a few clients who still send or deliver documents physically (old school). Generally for CEOs, or for larger companies in the CFO position, it is very important that they participate in the accounting to the extent that they push the accountant to report the results to them at least on a quarterly basis. This is a very important process of control and I’m going to crack the whip now, but this is how you find out how complete an accountant’s bookkeeping is. Alternatively, you can ask the general ledger and inquire what the individual account balances consist of. If you get an inventory or a relevant answer from the accountant on this, the accountant knows what is going on in the books.

  • Is the choice of banking institution important for the company?

I dare say that many companies underestimate this choice. At the end of the day, choosing the right bank can save time not only for the accountant, but also for the client. Unfortunately, some banks do not support innovation, even if they pretend to, and the basic problem remains the export of a bank statement in xml format. In human language this means that the accountant has to post the bank statement manually = the client has to pay more for posting (as manual posting takes about 4-5 times as long as import posting). Last but not least, it is also the possibility of linking the banking institution directly with accounting software or other applications, where you can make payments directly from the accounting system or external application.

  • What experience do you have in linking management programs with applications or accounting software?

There are about 4 most used accounting software in Slovakia, where everyone has their own philosophy – they don’t want to let anyone into their kitchen. Therefore, even the API connection itself is often very cumbersome. We are looking for ways around the unavailability of individual accounting software. Basically, data entry is based on import vs. export. And somewhere in between that import and export, you need to use a smart IT guy who can program the transfer bridge. It is certainly advisable to consult your accountant when choosing a management program, online invoicing application or other program, or read references for the product and ask what all the program can be connected to and what exports it allows.

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