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Why Automation Should Be Your Number One Priority When Choosing Accounting Apps in 2024

Accountants, bookkeepers, CFOs, and controllers have common goals, even though their day-to-day work may vary.  Accurate books, timely closes, and keeping on top of regulatory compliance issues are table stakes, however quality of life and quick access to business insights are becoming increasingly more important. 

The stakes get higher when clients add additional sales and payment channels because the additional workload and complexity make it difficult for even the most experienced accounting professionals to keep up. And each platform is different! Imagine pulling each separate report, analyzing that data, and manually entering it into the preferred accounting system. According to research done in 2022, three-quarters of businesses report that ecommerce platforms have created additional manual bookkeeping work, with firms estimating that these extra processing steps cost them 5-7 staff days per month.

This is where accounting automation apps come in.  Carefully chosen and vetted, the right app makes all the difference.  Accuracy, consistency, and time savings are an immediate byproduct.  Automation also allows accounting teams to focus on the joyful business advisory work instead of having to calculate and manually type in entries all day. It accelerates accrual-based bookkeeping, supports more efficient workflows, and makes businesses more aware of their daily financial health. 

Automation can also drive improvements in work-life balance for accounting team members as well.

To help facilitate the seemingly impossible task of coaching college softball during tax season (she and her team no longer call it “Tax Season” anymore – it’s “Softball Season” now), Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE, and founder of Powerful Accounting, Inc. made automation a key priority and took the time to vet and choose specific apps to fill requirements in her workflow.  These automations freed up enough of her time so that she could have the work/life balance she craved. She now teaches her proven process to others in her popular book The Designated Motivator


Dawn’s System:

Her system includes a list of accounting apps that she has personally vetted and uses every day.  Since she loves the softball metaphor she dubbed these favorite apps her “Starting Lineup.”

Bookkeep is delighted to be a key player in Dawn’s Starting Lineup, covering the critical task of Revenue Automation.  Since Dawn and her team serve a variety of clients, and each of them either sells directly via ecommerce or retail systems, and/or accepts payment electronically, she puts her clients onto Bookkeep so that the daily sales, sales tax, and payments from multiple different systems can be automatically summarized and transferred into QuickBooks Online each night while her team sleeps.  

It doesn’t matter how many sales or payment channels her clients use (or add) because Bookkeep’s deep automation just handles it.  In fact, adding a sales channel is so easy it’s practically “set it and forget it”.  Time savings are tangible – because the daily sales and payment journals are automatically calculated and booked to the client’s accounting system, Dawn’s team no longer has to do manual calculations then update each client’s accounting system – instead, they come in each morning to revenue and cash figures that are up to date daily.

“If any of our clients utilize ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Square, or PayPal, it’s imperative they’re on Bookkeep. Its daily bookkeeping automation streamlines processes, eliminating the need for manual reconciliations or adjustments. Freaking Awesome App”  Dawn Brolin

Dawn’s automations go well beyond Revenue Accounting, and each of her apps plays well with the others.  Here are some of the other apps she uses to create accuracy and added efficiency in her practice.

Practice Management: Because her team manages all their client engagements from end to end in Financial Cents, the benefits are huge.  She is able to stay on top of where each client is at any given time and ensure that the workload is evenly distributed so that no team member is overworked. Handoffs are seamless and nothing drops through the cracks even in the busiest softball/tax season. Workflow templates make it easy to replicate work across different clients, and ensure consistency. 

Secure Client Communications:  For secure communications with clients, client task lists, document signatures, and client invoices, Dawn and her team use Liscio.  Her clients love the ease of the mobile app with its built-in scanner, and Dawn and her staff love that Liscio notifies them whenever a client has sent in a message, uploaded a document, or completed a task. Liscio keeps her client communication secure, simple, streamlined, and best of all, visible to the entire team.  This is something that email just cannot handle, and Liscio has changed the game when it comes to security, team visibility, and ease of use for clients and staff.

Secure Document Storage and year-over-year tax file organization is handled by SmartVault.  SmartVault creates so much efficiency for Dawn and her team that she can’t imagine not using it.  Whenever a new tax year comes around, she can click one button and all the folders are automatically created. Additionally, SmartVault handles signatures, to-do lists, and more.  Clients love being able to self-serve their important documents, and that the system is simple and intuitive.  Dawn loves being able to restrict clients to just the folder she wants them to interact with.  Nothing gets lost, and everyone can be more productive.

For Financial Planning and Analysis, Dawn uses Jirav. To advise her clients, Dawn relies on accurate books (powered by automation like Bookkeep) and then leverages the power of Jirav to do forecasting, budgeting, reporting, and dashboarding.  The ability to model financial statements into the future, and walk clients through “if/then” analysis allows Dawn to support her clients’ growth in a much more meaningful way than she could prior to leveraging Jirav. 

Reasonable Compensation Analysis – In order to ensure her clients stay compliant with the complicated rules surrounding Reasonable Compensation, Dawn relies on RCReports.  The rules surrounding reasonable compensation for closely held businesses are complex and penalties for not complying are stiff.  Dawn loves that RC Reports makes the process of doing these calculations effortless.  Plus, they hold up under IRS or audit scrutiny, so she is able to create peace of mind for her clients as well as mitigate risk.

Hosting and Cyber Security – to keep her clients’ critical information secure, and create an easy-to-use secure environment for her firm, Dawn chose Visory.  It isn’t easy to create a secure workplace.  Firm leaders need to ward off cyber attacks, run the IT for their firm, and keep staff, clients, and the practice safe.  Visory wraps all of this into one neat package, and with their obsessive support, Dawn and her staff always have the help they need.

Taken together, the accounting apps and services that Dawn has chosen for her firm not only create efficiency for her team, but they allow the practice to produce higher quality work and deliver for her clients quickly and accurately.  But for Dawn in particular, they also allow her to coach college softball during the thick of tax season with no adverse effect on clients, deadlines, or her sanity.


Plan your Own “Softball Season” 

You can have the life you want to lead too!  It starts with understanding where your bottlenecks are, then taking steps to find automation that can help.  And in this area, you are not alone.  Start with your peers, find out what they use, then take those free trials!  

Your next steps:

  1. Reach out to peers to find out how they have solved their challenges
  2. To learn more about tried-and-true apps, please check out Dawn’s Starting Lineup page.
  3. To experience effortless ecommerce, retail, restaurant, or cannabis dispensary Revenue and Sales Tax Automation, take a free trial at

Start a trial or book a demo.