When you’re looking at your startup’s finances, how many tabs do you have open on your browser? Let us guess… multiple spreadsheets open too?!
Increasing your productivity and speed of decision-making is either the thing that will propel your startup forward or weigh it down. And not having a single view of your financial operations is at the top of the list of productivity killers.
Streamlining accounting processes and reducing errors from transferring financial data between systems, software, or platforms will put you light years ahead of the competition. An integrated account system does this by pulling all of your accounting functions and financial operation into one place, one workflow.
Read on to learn how these systems work to help free you and your team up to concentrate on tasks that increase profitability and, ultimately, your success.
What Is An Integrated Accounting System?
An integrated accounting system is a software platform that consolidates your company's financial information and functions – at Zeni, we also call this a financial operations platform.
When using one of these systems, you no longer need to manually move transaction data from your journal to your general ledger. Automatically track and manage expenses. You can automate billing and invoicing, and most importantly, you can view your financials in real time.
It’s like an automated butler for all your accounting needs! The system anticipates your needs and serves up all the necessary calculations before you've thought to ask for them. There's no silver platter, but the principal is the same.
Features Of Integrated Accounting Systems
An integrated accounting system can have many features. We’ve listed the most essential for startups to consider below.
Finance Tool Integrations
As the name suggests, integrations are key to successfully running an accounting or financial operations system. An integrated accounting system will support your existing finance stack at every turn – from your credit card and bank accounts to your payroll software and payments tools.
Daily Bookkeeping & Accounting
Your startup shouldn’t have to live without daily bookkeeping or the ability to track your payments and expenses in real-time. As you grow and track more transactions, this becomes even more important.
Add to this list of features any accounting tasks that are consuming your time, like reconciling accounts and AP & AR tasks. Integrated accounting solutions do this for you, simplifying the rest of the accounting process.
Automated General Ledger
The general ledger is an account of your daily transactions. Ledgers record these transactions by account type or category, like an asset, liability, capital, revenue, or expense account. You can then use your general ledger to build your financial reports.
With an integrated accounting system, all of this gets done automatically. So instead of going through your bank statements each month and updating your general ledger accordingly or manually categorizing your transactions, AI steps in and does the work for you.
Cash Flow Management Functions
Because the integrated accounting system tracks your financial data daily, you can quickly access information about where your cash is in the pipeline. This feature is critical. All business functions under the assumption that cash is king and having enough or at least being liquid enough to pay off those short-term debts is essential.
4 Key Advantages Of Integrated Accounting Systems
There are several advantages to using integrated finance and accounting solutions.
1. One Centralized Location For All Financial Data
We’ve all experienced scattered data and having to log into multiple platforms to get an accurate picture of our finances – bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, bookkeeping tools, and payment platforms. Whew!
In business, having a centralized place to see your financial data at a glance is crucial. An integrated accounting system brings all of these disparate functions and platforms together into one view. With all that information at your fingertips, you can make projections and strategic decisions more confidently and urgently.
2. Automated Transaction Tracking
Say goodbye to logging transitions manually when you make a sale or receive a payment. An integrated system will log transactions from your bank or credit cards directly into your ledger and update your financial statements simultaneously.
3. Reduce Human Error
Humans make mistakes. Typos, putting info in the wrong spreadsheet column, or accidentally crediting an account instead of debiting it are all common accounting errors. Automation guarantees that transactions are recorded and transferred accurately, reducing the chances of errors on your balance sheet.
4. Accurate Financial Reporting
Because an integrated financial system automatically aggregates your data across accounts and platforms, your balance sheet, cash flow statement, and other financial reports are always viewable or easy to generate with the click of a button. Real-time financials make reporting more accurate and ensure you have the most up-to-date information for your investors.
Which Accounting Software Integrations Are The Most Important?
There are dozens of accounting applications available to startups, but to get the most from your money, pick one that works best for you. Several are specifically designed for startups, making them more relevant than other applications. Applications that combine bookkeeping, accounting, and reporting benefit startups the most.
Why Startups Must Streamline Their Accounting Processes
Accounting workflow and processes take up most of a startup founder's time, interrupting your focus on guiding your business toward profitability and growth. Integrated accounting software automates the process and creates more accurate accounting results, giving back the time you need to run your business.
Additionally, you'll get immediate feedback through up-to-date information and reports. So when your investors ask for information, you have it at your fingertips to serve on a silver platter. No butler required.