Brought to you by
Receipt Bot logo
Receipt Bot is a robotic data entry assistant for accountants and bookkeepers. Leveraging the...
Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

Outsourcing Vs. Automation: What's the best route for efficiency?

31st Jan 2024
Brought to you by
Receipt Bot logo
Receipt Bot is a robotic data entry assistant for accountants and bookkeepers. Leveraging the...
Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

Ambitious accountants looking to grow their practice and improve their margins have long faced a key challenge – traditional accounting processes are not scalable. More clients mean more paper documents to review, more data entry and more time spent managing systems. This, in turn, requires more staff – an ongoing sore spot for the industry

Automation and outsourcing - Best route for efficiency?
Receipt Bot

Fortunately, the rise of cloud and automation technology in recent years has opened the door to more efficient accounting and bookkeeping processes. The ability to store and process financial data and documents online enables firms to outsource manual work to overseas firms or to use AI and machine learning tools to automate work.  

It leaves a crucial question for accounting firms: which route leads to greater efficiency and success? Here, we explore this choice to help advisors chart the right path forward.  

In-house or outsourced 

Whether to automate manual work or pass it to a third party is not just about choosing tools or services; it's about adopting a strategic approach to handling financial data and operations. The right choice will, therefore, depend on your firm's specific makeup, needs and technological capabilities.

The power of outsourcing 

Outsourcing in accounting, once a niche practice, has become mainstream, primarily due to its cost-effectiveness and access to global talent pools. Major factors driving its growth include: 

  1. Cost Reduction: Significant savings compared to maintaining an in-house team. 
  2. Global Talent Access: Outsourcing opens doors to a diverse pool of skilled professionals, often at a lower price. 
  3. Scalability and Flexibility: Ability to scale services up or down as per business requirements. 
  4. Focusing on Core Competencies: Outsourcing frees internal resources, allowing firms to focus on strategic growth areas. 

At first glance, outsourcing seems the most appealing option due to its familiarity – firms have long outsourced elements of their work to third parties. Cloud technology now enables accountants to outsource anywhere in the world – often to markets where prices are lower, and specialist providers exist for this very purpose.  

The simplicity of automation 

While firms may be attracted to outsourcing, this approach often has drawbacks. The shift to cloud-enabled overseas outsourcing streamlines some of these issues, but challenges remain.  

  1. Control and Visibility: Firms risk losing control over financial operations when key processes move outside. Communication barriers, time differences, and data security concerns are prevalent with third parties. 
  2. Long-term planning: While overseas firms can scale their services per your needs, they also increase the prices as more human resources are required. Technological prices scale at a lower rate and lower per-client margin impact. 
  3. Quick Setup: Outsourcing usually involves a lead time to set up, train and refine processes. Technology solutions can be implemented rapidly, with rapid technical deployment and integration with existing systems. 

Case study: Receipt Bot's transformation 

We started as an outsourcing firm and transformed into an automation platform provider. While offering outsourced services, we found that the right tools were essential in offering competitive, accurate, and seamless service. 

We developed a data extraction and management platform specifically for accountants and bookkeepers, offering: 

  • Simple handling: A platform that can handle multiple input formats and modes of upload. It also eases the stress of data handling. 
  • Easy Data Extraction: Our main goal was to provide a simple and easy-to-use application with accurate data extraction from various document types. 
  • Error Handling and Analytics: Tools to identify inconsistencies and fix errors efficiently​​ at scale. 
  • Integration Capabilities: Receipt Bot integrates with various accounting software, including Xero, QuickBooks, and Sage. 

Making the right choice for your firm 

Running and scaling a modern accounting practice is all about choices – where to invest, what to prioritise and what good service looks like to you. This year, one of the most important choices you can make is how to source, process and organise your clients' accounting and bookkeeping data without hours of manual work and data entry.  

Receipt Bot is bringing in the latest AI and machine learning tools to help firms spend more time where it matters, without the risk of relying on complex outsourcing arrangements. To learn more about how we can help you automate your data extraction and management, sign up for a free trial of Receipt Bot today.