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August 31, 2021

Time lost in checking bad data

By Zoya Malik

Accounting platform Dext has found that accountants are losing an hour a day manually checking client data for errors. Taken across a firm of 15 accountants, the figure equates to 3,284 hours in the year or 19.5 weeks.

Surveying 2,183 accountants and bookkeepers across six countries, Dext found that accountants and bookkeepers spent 4 hours and 46 minutes per week detecting financial data errors – and over an hour correcting each error per client.  

When initially polled many accountants and bookkeepers anticipated less than 2 hours (1hr 48mins av.) were spent checking bad data; a new survey reveals the time spent to be much higher.

Firms surveyed confirmed that many of these hours are not billed to clients, impacting on the recoverability of services provided. 

Dext Precision Co-Founder, Helen Lloyd, commented: “Bad data is a bigger challenge than many accountants and bookkeepers initially realise. Many of the accountants we surveyed want to invest time in developing new services for their clients. Time spent manually checking client data is an opportunity cost to firm growth and new revenue lines.”

“Automating the checking of data across your practice is the equivalent of giving yourself one hour back each day. Knowing the quality of your client’s data before taking them on allows you to price more accurately, not to mention the benefit of detecting tax risks or lost opportunities from miscoding quicker.”

Early and frequent data management saves time on major tasks such as VAT returns and year end accounting.

According to the survey, South African accountants spend the greatest number of hours checking for bad data (5.3 hours each week) closely followed by French accountants (4.71). British accountants spend 4.4 hours but it is US accountants who spend the least time by comparison, at 4.15 hours each week. 

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