Business

Accountants spend over 3,000 hours checking bad client data, study finds

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) and British (4.4 hours)

Accountants are losing an hour a day manually checking client data for errors, which taken across a firm of 15 accountants, equates to 3,284 hours in the year or 19.5 weeks, according to accounting platform Dext.

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

It said that when initially polled many accountants and bookkeepers anticipated less than two hours (1hr 48mins av.).

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

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.

Dext Precision co-founder, Helen Lloyd, said: “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.”

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