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9. Automation; An Essential Key to Growing Your Business and Bottom Line

Air Date:

Aug 15, 2022


57 Min

Want to know one of the BEST ways to keep your business stagnant?

Don't automate - automation is a necessary step for actual scaling, and in this episode, we share some great tools that we've used to help scale and grow our business.

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Episode Show Notes :

Title: Profitability with Automation

Punchline: 1) With the labor market getting more and more competitive, and companies looking to manage costs - automation has never been more important for your business! In this week’s episode, we’re talking about how to leverage automation to increase your business’s profitability. 

Segment 1

  • Rise of the machines - what is RPA (if you want even more details check out an interview with my friend Chris Denver with Crowe because he specializes in robotics and automation)

  • Who does automation benefit:

    • Firm - Leverage to scale your operation and business or reduce cost

    • Firm - efficiency and consistent performance

    • Employees - they get rid of some of the boring tasks

    • Client - they get a reliable end result in a faster timeframe

  • What can you do to prepare for automation

    • Document your processes

    • Get organized 

    • Have a transparent conversation with your people (they need to know its coming and they need to know that there are other valuable things for them to do with their time if they don’t know this automation looks like you are trying to fire them)

Segment 2 (current event news clips)

  • Canopy releases new automation enhancement - automatic assignments for subtasks that are conditional on prior step completion

  • BlackLine making progress - the financial closing, and accounting software space is $28B a year and BlackLine is ranked one of the top 100 Software companies but they are likely the only “Financial Accounting Only” software companies on the list. The main point there is a lot of money to be made and software companies know it so they are aiming for it. 

Segment 3: Tips and Resources: What are some of your top automation tools

  • Billing/invoicing

  • Project and workflow management - Canopy, 

  • Bookkeeping - software rules, bank data feeds 

  • Reporting - LiveFlow 

Follow the money: Why are more investors jumping into the financial close, accounts receivable, and expense management space?

  • The industry is $28B so money can be made

  • Larger companies realize that it is sometimes easier to buy a smaller company that services a specific audience than it is to create it from scratch (sometimes specialization matters)

Bonus clip for the LiveFlow’s promo material:

A continued discussion on complementary services:

  • Lola: so Terrell we previously talked about complementary services and recently someone reached out about a video you shared on that. 

  • Terrell: yes we actually launched an additional services a few months ago with a new dashboard simplification that is helping our clients make some huge steps forward and we were able to do it in a way that automates it. We use LiveFlow which is a tool that I really love because it allows you to pull your quickbooks financial data directly into google sheets without having to download, copy paste etc. So what we did is:

    • Set up a liveflow P&L that automatically pulls the data in

    • We created a summary tab using index formulas to compare month over month

    • Then in Google Data Studios we created a simple financial statement dashboard with charts and scoreboards. 

    • We told clients about the new dashboard/score card and started offering this dashboarding tool as an additional product that clients are paying extra for if they want that service.

A continued discussion on processes:

  • Terrell: process is critical if you are trying to get series about scaling your business, and providing more proactive advice to your clients. Normally here are the things you have to usually manage

    1. Connecting bank data to your accounting system - which quickbooks can solve

    2. Classifying transactions and journal entries - a combination of your team and the rules you can create in the system

    3. Review the financial statements for trends any things that looks off and follow up - this is manual and often painful because 

      • you end up downloading the file into a spreadsheet so you can compare

      • Writing some formulas to adjust or compare the right periods

      • Going back into the quickbooks to research details if something is off

    4. Generating reports and sharing them with the client - depending on what the client likes to see this may require you to download a report pull out the data that you need and then make sure that ties back to the financials before you send it over to the client. It’s some what the worst part of accounting and finance that you spend more time checking the work and tying number out and very little actually understanding the numbers to help give your clients the best advice.

The reality is Quickbooks and the team can solve A & B with auto bank feeds and journal entry rules but we found that using LiveFlow allows us to get faster with the financial statement reviews

  • Once the team is done with the journal entries LiveFlow automatically updates the financial statements so we can immediately compare the financial reports and do a reasonableness check and if we need to drill down to look at a transaction we do it in google sheets so things move much faster, if something needs to change the reviewer tells the bookkeepers they change it and we see it update realtime in google sheets

  • Sense we already have the financial reports set up in a google sheet that we share with the client based on the statements that want to see the metrics and key performance indicators that they care about we refresh liveflow and the financials and reports are ready for the client to see all of the data that they care about.

  • Honestly the financial statement review and reporting step used to be a serious customer complaint it was taking too long or there were things that we didn’t explain upfront but this process allows us to get them timely reports and answers faster than ever before.

  • This has also allowed us to take things to the next level in automating the dashboard tools which creates a new stream of income

    • Clients pay us more if they want the dashboard tool

    • Accounting firms & other bookkeeping firms are paying us to create this dashboard for them

We use the same data from LiveFlow to automatically feed into our google data studio dashboards 

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