There aren’t enough hours in the day, and for many small business owners, bookkeeping is done at night, on weekends or any spare moment found. Many owners are untrained and don’t dedicate adequate time. Bookkeepers may have many clients each with hundreds of entries to reconcile. Under these circumstances, it’s easy to make mistakes.
Duplicates are common bookkeeping errors that cost businesses money and time. You can find and fix duplicate bills, invoices and contacts with XBert, a Xero connected app.
Duplicate bills and invoices raised or paid, and having more than one record for contacts in your cloud accounting data are a hassle to fix. Your business loses money if bills are paid twice, invoices are sent to the wrong address, trading partners lose confidence in you and your financial reporting is inaccurate. Using false reports to make critical business decisions could cause a huge financial headache for you further down the track.
Money lost to simple bookkeeping blunders that can be avoided is mistake money.
Duplicates, account coding errors, incorrect GST payments and claims, Australian Business Register (ABR) discrepancies with your contacts and trading with cancelled business are all types of mistake money.
It's hard to keep track with numerous suppliers sending you bills each week, and things can go wrong. Maybe you only get partway through your accounts and payments before needing to do something else or forget to flag a bill as already paid. Perhaps you have a few people handling your books stepping in and out of the process when needed. Bookkeepers reconcile hundreds of transactions and a duplicate could slip through.
If neither you, your bookkeeper or your supplier realise you've paid a bill more than once, then the business has lost money forever.
Imagine that your bookkeeper is on holidays. You need to move forward with a lucrative project and pay an urgent bill for $20,000 from a supplier. Things are frantic. You forget to tell your bookkeeper the bill's been paid. The bookkeeper returns and pays the bill, again.
This double payment goes unnoticed for weeks until your bank balance becomes dangerously low. You contact your supplier hoping they can refund the second payment or provide credit for your next order. Meanwhile, you have very little cash available for all the other things you need and suppliers awaiting payment, putting the project deadline in jeopardy.
If you'd known in advance that the bill had already been raised or were alerted as soon as it was paid twice, then you could have acted quickly to correct the mistake.
Raising duplicate invoices inflates your sales making your forecasted income unreliable. Decisions are based on inflated figures which hurts the business when you spend money that isn’t there. You or your bookkeeper waste time chasing invoices and money you're not owed.
Sending duplicate invoices can also damage your trading relationships. Your customers get annoyed and think you're disorganised or incompetent, or worse, believe you’re trying to scam them sending invoices they’ve already paid. They may lose trust and decide to take their business elsewhere.
Just say that you’ve signed up a new client to spend $8,000 each month for the next year. Great news! Somehow there’s a mix-up, you invoice the client twice, and they pay. A few weeks later, your client realises the error, demands a refund, and you have egg on your face.
It’s a mess. You already committed to additional expenses next month because you thought your income was $8,000 more than it actually is.
Having more than one contact record for a customer may seem like the least of your worries when trying to run a business.
Making a small typo like incorrectly spelling the company name, or using a different abbreviation, e.g. using Pty Ltd instead of P/L, or Ltd instead Ltd(.), can result in contacts getting duplicated. It's okay; you know who you’re dealing with. Besides, you plan to correct and de-duplicate records when things slow down.
However, multiple contact records can delay invoice payments. You may send the invoice to an old or inactive address, so nobody receives them. Your records are more likely to be outdated and incorrect if there are multiple relating to one contact.
For example, you’ve recently finished a four-month job that's pushed the limits of your cash flow. You send the invoice and expect immediate payment. When that money hits your account, you can finally pay your suppliers and get them off your back.
Three weeks pass, and there's no payment. Your expenses continue to pile up. You follow up and are told your customer never received the invoice. Frustrated, you send the invoice again, demanding instant payment. Another week passes, yet still no payment.
After some anxious phone calls, you take a deeper look because your client assures you no invoices have come through. Oh, bugger! You've raised the invoice on a duplicate contact record with incorrect details. This record is over six years old.
All that stress because your client records weren't clean and up-to-date. Meanwhile, you’ve missed bill and loan payments so get whacked with late fees, and have delayed payments to your valued suppliers.
Duplicate contact records do impact reports, and it's hard to determine how much you've spent or earned with that contact. You won’t know the true value of that relationship when transactions are spread across different records.
Whoever enters your transactions might create a new record because they can't find an existing one that matches. If you've had different bookkeepers or finance staff over the years, your contact list may have many multiples. You should have a single contact record for each customer or supplier.
It's not unusual to have duplicates in your cloud accounting system. Typos and errors get made and can leave you out of pocket, especially when they’re repeated or undiscovered.
The trick is knowing duplicates exist and being able to correct the issue before any money is lost, relationships are damaged, or poor business decisions get made.
Perhaps you hurriedly do the bookkeeping yourself, or you have multiple people managing the books, stepping in and out throughout the process. Duplicate errors and messy bookkeeping happens, are time-consuming to correct and often go unnoticed until it's too late.
You want your data to be clean so that you can make the right business decisions, and for bookkeepers and accountants to provide the right advice and meaningful value for their clients.
There is a simple and affordable way to automatically audit your bookkeeping so you can find and fix duplicate bills, invoices and contact records.
XBert has you covered and helps ensure the integrity of your data and reports.
XBert is a great tool for business owners, finance teams, bookkeepers and accountants to enhance collaboration, save valuable time, resolve risk and save money.
Bookkeepers, accountants and advisors have XBert CONNECT to manage multiple business organisations easily and efficiently from one dashboard. They take control of practice process flows with a unique, customisable system, streamline workflow and track clients’ finances at a glance.
XBert is a Xero add-on powered by AI (artificial intelligence) and the latest advancements in data science. XBert analyses your cloud accounting data every hour searching for duplicates, anomalies, human errors and potential fraud.
Many of the manual bookkeeping checks and audits are automatically done for you, giving you more time to spend on other aspects of the business and growth activities.
You’ll get alerts (called XBerts) about mistake money and financial risks to your business, or your client’s business, before you know the risks exist!
For example, you receive an XBert about a Duplicate bill raised. You're prompted to review the DRAFT, SUBMITTED and APPROVED bills raised for this supplier and the associated amounts to ensure you meant to enter this bill and amount more than once.
This could be a duplicate bill, therefore XBert has saved you mistake money. Or, it could be a new recurring bill, in which case this XBert can be filed. If this is recurring, it will not be detected as a duplicate in the future.
XBert also detects other types of mistake money like errors in account coding and transaction allocations, incorrect GST payments,trading with an unregistered business, or when the GST status, ABN or company name doesn't match the ABR record.
If you or your bookkeeper have XBert, your bills,invoices and contacts in order, up-to-date and accurate, you'll save a lot of time and stress, and have a clearer picture of business health.
With XBert, you can turn bookkeeping mistakes back into money, reduce financial risks to your business and improve compliance. The automated checks and audits allow you to focus on actually doing business, and not just the books.
Duplicate bills, invoices and contact records are just some of the many risks XBert will find analysing your accounting data hourly. Using sophisticated algorithms, predictive analytics, and machine learning, XBert is there to detect business risks, saving you time and money.