When running a small business, there are hundreds of jobs to do, deadlines to meet, and staff to support. Keeping on top of the workload is challenging, and it is vital you have facts to hand and have a good work-life balance. Automation of some of your processes can help you efficiently manage the company, but it also gives you the time and opportunity to grow your business.
How businesses benefit from automation
Small businesses have a limited budget, so they need to maximize the best use of their workforce. The payroll is one of the biggest expenses for a small company. Today, many processes in commercial environments can be automated, which reduces the need for administration and repetitive processes. That allows you to streamline your workforce and improve productivity. Unlike a human, an automated system can work 24/7 and all year round to ensure continuity.
One of the best ways of getting started with AP automation (Accounts Payable) is to introduce the system to your payments and purchasing. It takes time to raise invoices and purchase orders manually and keep track of what has and has not been paid. Once the paper system has been removed, you will immediately discover the time and resources saved with an automated system. And you will be paper-free from day one with an all-electronic invoicing system. The automated system also produces reports so you can track your business income and expenditure.
Accounts payable automation eliminates the paper processing from your business and produces accurate invoices in a fraction of the time of a manual system. That means you get paid faster. Automation reduces errors and delays as well as improves customer service. You now have more time to focus on growing the business. The system also tracks late payments, sends reminders, and connects your accounts, so money flows from the client to your bank account. Regardless of how small your business is, getting this process in place can be a significant change and help you speed up your sales strategy or plans.
Automated postal services
Another way to automate your business is to focus on postal services. You must get communications to customers to generate more business, but manually packing brochures and fliers to mail is time-consuming and expensive. Just imagine if all that pressure was taken from you. With an automated postal service, documents are delivered to a central hub, printed, and distributed. You save money on the costs of mailing people, printing expenses are reduced, and the time it takes to process it is yours to grow your company. When the clients contact you as a result of automated mailings, your business will flourish. The automated process using state-of-the-art technology makes your company look professional and efficient.
You will probably spend a lot of time in another area, and it’s a complex one. Calculating salaries and taxes manually is a big job for someone. Get it wrong, and you not only risk upsetting your staff, but you can get in trouble with the law as well. An automated system for human resources and finance can calculate salaries and make sure the wages are paid on time. They can highlight incremental rises too and adjust for sickness and absenteeism or vacations.
Additional benefits of having an automated payroll are that it can be linked to mandatory training requirements. Hence, you have accurate records of an employee who has completed required courses such as safety awareness. That helps when it comes to demonstrating you meet industry standards. The system produces up-to-date reports, too, so you can track trends.
Electronic document distribution
If you have ever dealt with legal and technical documents and attempted to provide an accurate audit trail, never mind signatures, you will know how time-consuming it can be. You can also automate this aspect of your business, enabling a tracking process and a faster way of dealing with commercial documents.
An automated electronic document system speeds up processes, lets you know when a contract has been received, for example, and keeps track of signatures. You can replace wet ink signatures with a validated digital one which gets an agreement sorted out much faster. As a small business, you will be able to make a deal quickly, which affects your cash flow and the work program in the company. It allows you to grow your business successfully and efficiently. Overnight, you can become more competitive by having a solid business process compliant with industry standards.
Accounts payable automation and other automated processes are the way forward for small businesses to work in a more streamlined and effective way. Operating in an agile and automated manner saves more time to focus on customers and the developing business.
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Brit Worgan. The photo with the cat and the coins was taken by Miguel Frontera. The picture with the money bills was prepared by Pablo Nidam.
Source: Vlad Rusz (Entrepreneur) / Corcentric portfolio