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Receipt bank taking over?

Will my bookkeeping job be automated

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Hello everyone

I have been working at an accounting firm for 6 months as a junior bookkeeper and have been really enjoying it. The majority of my work at the moment is entering invoices and receipts and bank statements into the computerised accounting software. There is always plenty of work to do, which is good. However I have heard that there is an app called Dext (receipt bank) among others which can automate this process. I have already seen bank statements being entered via CSV (so no need for reconciliation). Will apps and innovations such as these make my job obsolete in the future? Would appreciate any answers.

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By Open all hours
16th Sep 2021 21:54

When (?) the tax system is simplified and AI grows up we are all stuffed. In time your job (and mine) will change but for quite a while there will be a place for someone who actually understands how the figures relate to the world beyond the soulless spreadsheet.

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By Paul Crowley
16th Sep 2021 21:58

Not in Millenium will compterised operation be able to apply common sense
Your job is secure and will be in increased demand starting April 2023
Get a bookkeeping qualification as a priority and then search any answers for MTD

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By DKB-Sheffield
17th Sep 2021 00:35

Bilal trainee accountant wrote:

Will apps and innovations such as these make my job obsolete in the future?

NO! (But it may change!)

Dext, Autoentry, HubDoc, Paperless... fulfil one role of many. They take a receipt/ invoice, extract data, and suggest where it should be coded.

They are AI. They do not apply "human" logic. They act on 'learned' information. They are never foolproof!

Human intervention is needed to 'teach' the logic. It is required to check the information is correct. It is then required to correct the errors.

You may not ge aware but, despite their increased popularity, these tools are not new!!!! Large corps have used OCR AP processes for decades. I remember in the 90's being told AP departments would be obsolete by the early 2000's (through a combination of OCR, EDI etc.). Now, 3 decades on and those big corps are STILL recruiting AP clerks!

The limitations of AI are the key, and the reason you should not be overly concerned! I often refer to Amazon whenever I explain this to clients (inc. receipt capture, bank feeds etc.). Amazon supply EVERYTHING! Dext reads 'Amazon' on the invoice and assigns it to the learned nominal of 'stationery' (the category I assigned, or used last - depending on configuration). It ignores the fact the purchase was for a laptop for my client's daughter! Even if/ when Dext improves and knows this is a laptop, it will probably not know the fixed asset policy, and will almost certainly not know that the laptop is a gift for my client's daughter (non-business). That is where human intervention is required (and is certain to be required well into the future)!

As others have suggested, good bookkeeping skills will be in great need over the next few years. Your current employer is likely to value your skills more than ever. Train, self-learn, qualify - whatever you need or want to do. But ALWAYS remember, tools are there to HELP you do your job. If you ever believe the tools are there to DO your job, you will come unstuck! If I had a penny for everytime I heard a bookkeeper/ accountant say 'Sage did it' or 'that's what the autopost did'...!!!

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By johnhemming
17th Sep 2021 06:53

Accounting and Book keeping have been subject to changes as a result of technology for decades. Originally there were no calculators and everything was hand written.

Technology will continue changing things, but it cannot do a completely automated job replacing human judgment entirely.

I am not an accountant. I am in fact someone who writes software (inter alia). However, my suggestion is to concentrate on learning how to use tech to do accounting. That way you can stay ahead of the curve and be the person people come to when working out how to handle the inevitable changes.

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By Elena @ ESA. Ltd
17th Sep 2021 10:06

Bilal trainee accountant wrote:

Hello everyone

I have already seen bank statements being entered via CSV (so no need for reconciliation).


Whether the bank statement is imported or bank fed, all registered bank accounts still have to be reconciled.
Not every transaction goes via the main business account. There is always a transaction or two that slips in from the additional source: petty cash/DLA.
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By williams lester accountants
17th Sep 2021 10:37

Receipt Bank taking over? I certainly hope so....

It is far more reliable than the majority of bookkeepers, works when i need it to, never has a day off and learns from its mistakes. What more could you want.

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Replying to williams lester accountants:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
17th Sep 2021 11:45

Remember the typist pool? And bank clerks, who'd sit there all day with comptometers (adding machines) producing hand crafted bank statements!

You'll still need bookkeepers, just not so many; and more highly skilled so that invoices to Norway or a supplier payment that doesn't tally can be taken from the Receiptbank mainstream and dealt with.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th Sep 2021 10:42

There is no question that automation has reduced parts of bookkeepers roles. We have had a number of clients ditch or reduce the hours for their bookkeeper when moving from SAGE to Xero for instance as its just much quicker and lower skilled work.

But with quarterly reporting coming down the road, good bookkeepers are always going to be valued people. Computing just makes bigger mistakes, you need skilful people who can question 'what the computer says' and make correction. These tend to be more interesting roles too than punching figures in.

More widely there has always been a dearth of good bookkeepers. Whenever I find a good one they stop taking on new clients inside of a couple of years. Get good and you will never be out of work.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Paul Crowley
17th Sep 2021 11:22

Agree
Not enough good bookkeepers to satisfy the demand for bookkeepers

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th Sep 2021 11:47

@Paul, lots of bad ones about.

And quite good ones who then think tax returns are easy and then play "make believe" accountant as its just a few boxes etc etc. Groans.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Paul Crowley
17th Sep 2021 13:19

Agree
Bad ones, we see quite a few
The problem is usually lots and lots of unexplained journals

With others the client is the problem

I no longer make introductions
The good ones all too busy

Have in the past lost clients to overambitious bookeepers
Both came back after it turned out that the bookkeeper had overstretched

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Leywood
17th Sep 2021 13:29

Some absolutely dreadful ones out there Paul. I know a couple who are QBE, do a fair to middling job as bookkeepers but now declare they are Accountants, the latter clearly without even the QBE bit and offering services to the public. Scary.

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By johnt27
17th Sep 2021 12:15

No, but the likes of Botkeeper and QBO would like you to think that bookkeepers and accountants are obsolete...

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By Bilal trainee accountant
17th Sep 2021 13:23

I hope that I am a 'good one'

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Replying to Bilal trainee accountant:
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By spilly
17th Sep 2021 15:17

Probably not truly good yet, but another year’s experience should help you get there. And as said earlier, get your book-keeping qualifications as they give a really good rounded base of knowledge.

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By GHarr497688
17th Sep 2021 15:52

In the future if these add-ons are made more user friendly I would say that book-keepers might be less in demand but not yet. The apps are far too complicated - prone to error and only as good as the person who checks the data. In an ideal world they would be great , sadly the world is far from ideal as Coronavirus has shown !

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