The main difference between manual and computerized systems is speed. Accounting software not only processes data and creates reports much faster than manual systems, but also allows faster data entry. Overall computerized accounting will save you a lot of time, as it allows documents such as invoices, purchase orders and payroll to be collated and printed quickly and accurately.
Traditional manual accounting is a tedious process requiring accountants to spend copious amounts of time mathematically checking numbers in the company’s accounting information. Simple mistakes such as transposing numbers or entering information into the incorrect column could create significant errors. Computerized accounting systems allow accountants to process more information than before by creating accurate financial reports. Because of its efficiency and ease of use, computerized accounting systems also allow you to improve inventory control and payment collection, saving time and improving cash flow. Accountants can potentially spend less time looking for errors and more time analysing information for decision purposes.
Manual accounting is a much more tedious compared to computerized accounting. You have to add columns accurately, double-check your work and physically write in numbers. These routine tasks are handled efficiently by computerized systems, which update records automatically, and on the go. All calculations are done automatically in software programs, minimizing errors and increasing efficiency.
Integration of accounting with other business processes
Accounting by itself is not an isolated activity. It is interlinked with other business processes, such as sales, purchases, banking, taxation etc. In manual accounting, in case a transaction is bound to affect different processes, you need to record it at multiple places to ensure that all the relevant ledgers are affected. In computerized accounting, all it takes is one instance of data entry, and all the integrated processes are accordingly taken care of.
With a manual system, it can take time to locate the information from each book and compile it into a report. Under manual system of accounting, data needs to be collated, aggregated and compiled to generate a particular report. In manual system ‘What If?’ analysis will be tedious. Computerized accounting allows for quick data retrieval. With a computerized accounting system, information or reports for a particular period of time can be compiled quickly, as accounting software will automatically pull all relevant ledger entries for the period reports. Computerized systems can also provide instant reports on stock evaluation, profit and loss, receivable and payable reports, payroll and sales analysis, again, allowing faster adjustments in your business strategy.
Compliance is one of the crucial activities for any business, more so now, because of the introduction of GST. Businesses ideally want to be compliant, but also want to spend the least possible time on it, because of its time – consuming nature. Be it direct taxes (income tax, 44AB audits) or indirect (GST), it is almost next to impossible in the current day to handle all of this in manual books. Computerized accounting is the way forward, which allows for quick checks for transaction level compliance, matching of books and ultimately filing accurate returns based on accurate business data.
A crucial difference between manual and computerized systems is the ease of backup of a computerized system. All transactions can be saved and backed up, in case of fire or other mishap. You cannot do this with paper records, unless you make copies of all pages, which in itself is a long and inefficient process. Also in case of a mishap, computerised systems allow for quicker recovery from data loss.
Data storage, security & management
In manual systems, where accounts are maintained in books, it requires a lot of effort to store the crucial business data – as it requires space. Most importantly, the security of the data gets compromised, as the business owner needs to place his trust on a few individuals in his organisation and hope that nothing will go wrong. Computerized accounting allows for a robust system for storing business data, such that it requires lesser efforts and costs to store data, and also allows for automated security levels to be set within the organisation, which will give the business owner peace of mind.
In short, key business processes – accounts receivable, accounts payable, bank reconciliation, outstanding tracking, financial reporting and compliance – are taken care of much faster, saving up a lot of time for a typical business. But, most importantly, it allows the business to become more efficient and focus on business growth – all the while making sure that it stays compliant as well – which is clearly the need of the hour in light of recent happenings.