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Accounting Methods: What’s the Difference Between Manual and Automated?

Posted on 24/04/2023

The days of spending numerous hours entering data into an Excel spreadsheet are long gone. The way accounting activities are carried out has been fundamentally redesigned for the digital era thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence. Consider switching to automated accounting if you’re sick of manual accounting taking too much time and slowing down your company.

Automated accounting benefits and solutions help save your accountant’s time and effort. Accounting automation is the future, and adopting it is the only way to stay competitive

Accounting is the process of gathering, evaluating, categorizing, summarizing, and presenting financial data about a company.

The term “accounting cycle” refers to the process of finishing all the accounting stages. The five phases of the accounting cycle are completed by a business’s financial transactions, which are recorded in five separate sets of books. All financial transactions are first recorded, followed by analysis, categorization, summarization, and presentation to the relevant parties in the firm.

What is Manual Accounting?

As the name suggests, manual accounting is a paper-based accounting method in which an organization’s financial transactions are recorded, categorized, and analysed using journal and ledger registers, vouchers, and account books. Because of its reduced cost, it is frequently used by small company owners, including sole proprietors and shopkeepers, to keep track of business activities.

The manual accounting system’s accessibility is one of its benefits. Also, it has confidentiality, which prevents hackers from accessing sensitive data. Yet, accurate preparation of manual accounts depends on the accountant’s strong bookkeeping and accounting skills.

Moreover, human error—such as inaccurate transaction entry, transaction omission, figure transposition, and other issues—is likely to happen during the production of handwritten accounting and cannot be disregarded.

What is automated accounting?

Accounting duties may be completed automatically by employing software. Although computerized accounting is nothing new, in recent years, automation has dramatically improved the usefulness of these applications.

Accounting software may perform a wide range of tasks, from tracking and recording transactions to creating financial statements, by utilizing artificial intelligence and other complex features.

This frees up accounting experts to concentrate on more important activities by taking care of tedious processes like data entry and computation verification.

Automated accounting is defined as the process of doing routine accounting operations using accounting software. The moment has come to modernize your accounting, even if Microsoft Excel is unquestionably a helpful tool. Options for sophisticated accounting software, such as QuickBooks, may completely transform how your company manages accounting procedures.

A database is a key component of automated accounting systems. The reporting system and accounting application programs use the active interface of the accounting database, which is routinely maintained. These are the top two requirements:

  • Accounting framework: The framework includes guiding principles and a classification scheme for keeping records.
  • Operating procedure: There is a proper procedure for operating the system so as to store and process the data.

Basis of Comparison:

Manual Accounting:

  • Meaning: Manual accounting is a type of accounting that keeps financial information in actual registers and account books
  • Recording: The original entry book allows for recording.
  • Calculation: All the calculation is performed manually.
  • Speed: Slow
  • Adjusting Entries: It is made for the rectification of errors.
  • Backup: Not Possible
  • Trial Balance: Prepared when necessary
  • Financial Statement: It is prepared at the end of the period, or quarter.

Automated Accounting:

  • Automated Accounting is an accounting system that uses accounting software, for recording financial transactions electronically.
  • Each individually created database contains the data content.
  • Only data input is required, and the calculations are performed by a computer system.
  • Comparatively Faster
  • It cannot be made for rectification of errors.
  • Entries of transactions can be saved and backed up
  • An instant trial balance is provided on a daily basis
  • It is provided at the click of a button.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Manual Accounts Payable:

The conventional way of managing bills and invoices is manual accounts payable. Usually, you manually enter each transaction into your accounting software before generating checks or sending electronic payments to your vendors. There are a few benefits and drawbacks to this approach:


  • If you’re a small company owner who wants to keep a tight check on your money, the fact that you have complete control over the process might be advantageous.
  • When you personally analyze each transaction, you may more readily spot mistakes or irregularities.


  • It takes a lot of time and work, which may be a big problem for busy business owners.
  • As long as people are involved, mistakes will inevitably occur while processing payments or entering data.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Automatic Account Payables

On the other side, automated accounts payable employs software to automate the payment of invoices and bills. This can involve the use of software to automatically accept or reject invoices, match invoices with purchase orders, and issue payments. These are this approach’s benefits and drawbacks:


  • Compared to manual accounts payable, it is far more efficient because the program handles the majority of the job.
  • It is less prone to faults since the software is built to detect errors and stop fraud.


  • Especially for small businesses with limited resources, it can be affordable to start up and operate.
  • It will be necessary to rely on the program to detect mistakes or inconsistencies, which might be dangerous if the software isn’t set up properly.

Manual accounting versus automated accounting

The fundamental distinction between automated accounting and manual accounting is that almost every part of your bookkeeping and accounting is handled by software. The software handles the majority of the work for you instead of needing a fully staffed accounting department or hired CPAs to assist you with these chores.

Automated accounting can reduce your reliance on accounting professionals while not totally eliminating the need for their assistance. Although accounting software helps to automate all the little processes required for accounting, your company may still benefit from the insight of an accountant. For instance, an accountant can assess financial data and insights to assist you in making decisions regarding the future of your company.


In terms of speed, automated accounting systems outperform human accounting techniques. It’s feasible that both approaches will require roughly the same amount of time to input data. On the other hand, an automated system helps people add up the findings.

Computers produce reports far more quickly than people do, and you may readily change settings without having to enter entire columns of data by just clicking and selecting options. Automatic systems are susceptible to errors and malfunctions, which might result in a slower response time for you.

Although though manually run systems generate data more slowly, you can easily predict how long it will take to complete specific tasks when using a manually driven system.


To access the data contained in computerized systems, the hardware of the computer must be trustworthy. It could be difficult to access the data if the machine freezes or crashes. By keeping your computers in excellent operating condition and your software updated, you may lessen the risk that this will occur. But you never know when your system will be operational once more.

Ledgers used for manual accounting are always available for the accountant to inspect and utilize. Although uncommon, tangible papers might get lost or destroyed. In order to back up manual records, photocopies may be made, but backing up digital data is much easier.


  • The calculations are finished by the business owner or accountant in a manual accounting system. The transactions are manually added to and subtracted from the ledger. On the other hand, calculations are carried out automatically by the software in computerized accounting.
  • Transactions are identified annually in the manual accounting. Accounting software can automatically identify and classify transactions.
  • The trial balance must also be manually established when using the manual accounting approach since the ledger balances must be manually entered. The trial balance is automatically created when utilizing a computerized accounting system.
  • A manual trial balance must be created when it is required; however, with automated accounting, the trial balance is always available upon request.


Much like with manual accounting, mistakes can be made with digital accounting by inputting incorrect numbers. Even if the initial transaction data is valid, manual accounting still allows for the possibility of introducing inaccuracies. Automated accounting uses software to perform all computations flawlessly on your behalf, giving you peace of mind that the sums are correct.

For whom is it useful?

Sometimes human accounting outperforms digital accounting in comparison. If you run a one-person firm with few transactions and don’t need to produce financial statements, there’s no need to invest in an office computer or accounting software. A hard-copy ledger could be all you need, for instance, if you sell baked goods at the neighborhood farmer’s market once a week. Yet automated accounting looks better the further away from a straightforward, one-person model your company is. There are several things to take into account, including the volume of transactions, the complexity of your accounting, and the number of persons inputting data. For instance, if you need a system that several users can access from anywhere to enter transactions or sales, a cloud-based system is definitely the best option.

Creating Visual Data:

A pie chart or a graph can be used to transform dry data into something more understandable. A competent computerized accounting system can quickly and easily transform data into images. The time it takes for consumers to pay their bills, revenue estimates, and other important indicators may all be shown using dashboards.

What distinguishes computer files from manual ones?

In the event of a physical disaster at the company, paper management software, when used in conjunction with disaster recovery software, ensures that all of your documents may be recovered by a simple “restore from backup” operation.

Hire an accounting team to simplify the day

The main benefits of digital document monitoring are as follows:

  • Your team won’t have to deal with the tediousness of mass paper filing thanks to electronic file management, and simple extra features will make work procedures easier.
  • The same document may be filed under several references, such as Document Number, Name, and Day, because of the strong statement of adaptability, which is not possible with paper documents.
  • You may create a single, logical declaring structure for all of your files by combining the declaring of extra electronic data in addition to paper records.

What traits can you expect from automated accounting?

The attributes of automated accounting are as follows:

  • Automation
  • Precision
  • Reliability
  • Information Availability and Accessibility
  • Scalable
  • Safety and Security
  • Faster
  • Visuals
  • Cost-effective

What other types of accounting software are there for you to choose from?

According to the kind of processes they carry out, accounting systems may be categorized into four classes.

  • Systems for invoicing and billing.
  • Payroll administration systems are number two on the list.
  • Enterprise resource planning systems (ERP)
  • Systems for tracking time and expenditures

What characteristics distinguish a computerized accounting system from a conventional accounting system?

The typical elements of a computerized accounting system are as follows:

  1. The organization’s transactions are examined.
  2. The system receives the transactions.
  3. The appropriate ledger accounts are updated with entries.
  4. The equilibrium positions of the accounts are used to create a test balance.
  5. The accounts are checked, and any adjustments are made as needed.
  6. To create the updated trial equilibrium, the updates are uploaded to the ledger.
  7. The readjusted test equilibrium formula is used to create both the annual report and the income and loss account.
  8. The most recent readjusted ledger is used to create financial statements once the accounts have been balanced.


There are benefits and drawbacks to both manual and automated approaches. On the other hand, automated technologies make work more controllable, which is especially advantageous for large businesses.

A manual accounting system makes it challenging to maintain track of accounts since the volume of financial transactions grows every day. The impacted accounts must be updated individually for each transaction, which will require extra time and work. Manual processes are great for small businesses, but they are ineffective for big businesses that deal with a lot of financial transactions.


Topics: Accounting




About the Author:

Pramod has over 11 years of experience relating to finance and accounts in diversified industries. He is an expert in resource and process optimization resulting in greater operational efficiencies.

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