Client Mistakes: The Problem in Accounting No One Is Talking About
Sometimes, no matter how much training and support you offer clients, mistakes crop up in their records and it’s left up to you to fix them.
Unfortunately, when it comes to discussing client mistakes, it can become a sensitive subject. Clients can get defensive if they believe they’re being accused, particularly if they think they did everything right. This leads to some tension in the client-accountant relationship which makes things a bit more difficult for everyone.
However, it’s a very real problem that accountants have to deal with on a daily basis. Client errors and mistakes can take up lots of time to fix, which in turn costs your firm money.
Where bookkeeping software is concerned, it can take accountants time to identify errors that have slipped through undetected– meaning they are spending what should be account completion time on essentially playing tech support.
So, why are clients making mistakes, even with highly advanced software? It’s a question we’ve continually asked ourselves, and we’ve used it to influence our development of Pandle from the beginning.
The best way to combat this problem is to understand why it happens in the first place. We have identified two major reasons why client mistakes are so common.
Overly complicated software
One of the most common causes of bookkeeping errors is because clients are unsure how to use the software correctly.
Some software on the market can be pretty unforgiving, particularly to new users who are a little inexperienced. With tons of complicated features, many of which the majority will never use, the whole thing can become very overwhelming. Therefore, mistakes can happen and when they do, they can be difficult to locate or troubleshoot – especially if the software doesn’t register them as errors.
Lack of error-reducing features
Following on from the previous point, if clients use the software in a way that’s technically correct, or seen as correct by the software, mistakes are still easy to make and can go under the radar unchecked.
In these cases, it’s difficult to find the source of the problem because nothing has been flagged up by the system. This can cause tension with clients as they believe they’ve done everything right and that it must be the software’s or their accountant’s fault.
The possible solutions to this problem
If you want to do something about client mistakes, there are a couple of options that can reduce errors.
Take care of their bookkeeping for them
One way to ensure that bookkeeping records are accurate and error-free is to take care of the bookkeeping for them.
However, while this is something you can charge for and use to increase your revenue, handling everyone’s bookkeeping simply might not be worth the time you spend for the money you make.
In most cases, it’s simpler to let the client manage their own records so that you can go in and do the rest. This inevitably saves them money also, so it’s good for the client too.
The spreadsheet method
A lot of accountants still expect their clients to work with Excel because fixing software issues can get confusing and frustrating for both parties. This is particularly so for accountancy firms who have been reluctant to switch over to software.
However, Excel is outdated and time-consuming in itself. Without the automation of good bookkeeping software, users can end up losing as much time as they save.
Pandle is a modern solution to a common problem. We felt that a lot of software on offer was overly complicated and prone to errors, so we wanted to reduce this by:
a) Making the software simple to use for anyone, whether they’re experienced or not
b) By building error reducing features into the software
Features the reduce errors automatically may appear limiting in some ways, but they save so much time for everyone.
Pandle’s error reducing features
Our software uses machine learning and automation to dramatically reduce errors and therefore save everyone time and frustration.
For example, in some pieces of software, a user entering an invoice with a typo dated for the year 2048 won’t necessarily be picked up as an error. That means the data could potentially sit in their books for the next 30 years unless someone manually checks everything.
Pandle doesn’t allow errors like this through its intuitive machine learning capabilities.
Another example is that VAT codes cannot be accidentally applied to transactions that are not applicable to VAT, such as bank transfers or liability accounts.
There will, of course, be times when users need to enter data that looks incorrect to the software. In cases like these, the software will warn the user about the data they are trying to input to check it’s correct.
In those cases where errors are inevitable, Pandle can help users sort them out quickly with its Bulk Editing Tool. This takes the hassle out of manually correcting mistakes if there’s several of the same one.
Pandle will also limit the amount of features a user sees if the features are not relevant to them. This keeps everything as simple and clear as possible, and of course, can be adjusted if circumstances change.
Pandle’s partnering options
If you’ve found yourself spending a lot of time cleaning up client mistakes, our software can make things a lot easier.
We currently offer a few partnering options to accountancy firms. If you’re interested in learning more, simply follow this link, tell us a little about your needs and we’ll come up with the best solution for your practice.