Data Streaming: Why Can’t We Just…..

Data Streaming: Why Can’t We Just…..

Hands off bookkeeping that takes care of itself is just about everyone’s’ dream.


Just “set it and forget it” seems to be what we hear over and over in marketing campaigns from apps, software companies and services.  The idea of entering a few passwords and creating total automation of accounting systems is appealing for sure. QuickBooks Online, an Intuit product, sells this to it’s customers quite possibly better than anyone else.  Their streaming feature for your banking and credit card transactions is a real selling point in their online marketing and customers seem to be buying.  Time and time again I am questioned about why we aren’t just using the streaming, or why we are entering some transactions even though streaming is set up.  “Can’t we just,” has become a very common retort from small and mid-sized clients alike. Trust me we ALL want automation.  I’m certainly not clinging to data entry work, but as the technology stands now some data entry still needs to be done by hand.  This is largely driven by the need for job costing and client billing.  The data import and automation tools offered by companies like QuickBooks Online are great because they create rules that automatically allocate transactions to various expense accounts, but they don’t automatically post items or the client and billable fields. If you are using your bookkeeping system to track inventory purchases, items, billable costs, or if you are doing any kind of project or job costing automating the entry of your bank and credit card transactions will create transactions that aren’t capturing any of this needed detail. This results in either needing to touch every entry a second time to repost using items and client data, or not having that information in your bookkeeping system.

There is good news, however.  There is a compromise.  I minimize my data entry time by importing some transactions that do not require the client assignment or item fields and hand enter those that do.  By entering only those transactions that need items and clients assigned I cut my time down significantly.  Here is the process I currently follow:

  • Post those transactions that require data entry due to client or item allocation.
  • Post any transactions that affect my cash balances.
  • Import data from bank and credit card companies.
  • Review import information for matched transactions to be sure the items I have hand entered aren’t duplicated.
  • Reconcile
As the technology evolves someone will figure out this need and create an interface that allows for the adjustment of these fields in a transaction prior to final import or approval.  At the rate of change in this area of technology, it should be soon.  In the mean time the answer to “can’t we just” will have to be “sorry no” for just a bit longer.
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