Category Archives for "Technology"

Does Your Small Business Need a Consultant?

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Small Business , Technology

Most small business owners are very hands-on and want to be involved in all aspects of their business.  They find it difficult to delegate tasks to employees or outside consultants.   

However, as their company grows, they may find that too much time of their time is being spent on activities that others could do just as well or better, so they should consider hiring a consultant.  They  need to decide what their time is worth vs the cost of contracting out some tasks.

Bookkeeping and Accounting

For those who find bookkeeping tedious or if the business has a large amount of transactions it makes sense to let a professional handle it.  A bookkeeper can usually keep your record keeping up to date in a few hours a month.  They can pay your bills, do payroll, submit invoices, pay government taxes and get your accounts ready for the tax season.  

An accountant will keep you updated on tax laws, make recommendations such as when to incorporate and give you financial advice to grow your business.  You may only need them for a few hours a year, but it may be well worth the cost.

Information Technology (IT) Services

Technology changes at a rapid pace and most businesses need the help of an IT consultant to keep up and to solve issues with hardware and software.  They will back up your data, set up cloud computing services, install hardware and software, provide training and advise on upgrades to technology to streamline the business and improve productivity.

Human Resources Services

Most business cannot afford a HR individual or department to deal with personnel issues, so they  hire a consultant to deal with employee relations.  HR consultants are knowledgeable about recruitment of new staff, dealing with discipline and terminations, planning training and orientations and managing employee safety and welfare.  

Marketing Services 

Attracting and retaining customers is an essential requirement for business growth. A marketing consultant can implement an overall marketing strategy and design and implement marketing campaigns. They are experienced in social media, email blitzes, website and blog promotions, press releases, flyers, and arranging educational seminars for clients.  In addition, they can set up charity event sponsorships that give your company publicity and cross-promotions with other businesses.

Legal Services

Although many legal tasks such as setting up a business name, incorporation and setting up contracts with vendors can be done by a business owner. More complex legal issues such as partnership agreements, share allocations, lawsuits, real estate or franchise agreements, and trademarks require the services of a lawyer. 

How to Hire a Consultant:

  1. Assess your needs – whether you will need weekly or monthly service or on-call emergency assistance (especially for your IT consultant).  
  2. Make a list of potential candidates – word of mouth is a common way to find a good consultant.  You can also get recommendations from the local Chamber of Commerce and by networking with other people in your business.
  3. Meet with the candidate to discuss your requirements and their qualifications to see if you are a fit.  Ask questions about familiarity with your business, when they are available especially when needed, how you can contact them and of course their rates and how they bill.
  4. Once you have decided who to hire draw up a contract for their services.

 

Tips for Improving Your Accounts Receivable Process

By Randall Orser | Cloud-computing , Small Business , Technology

One of the most important parts of running a successful business is making sure that you are getting paid on time by your clients.  Your cash flow affects all aspects of your business and you need a streamlined and efficient AR process to keep the money coming in.  It is a good idea to set up your AR process when you are starting your business so that customers understand your payment terms right from the beginning of your relationship with them.   

Not setting up your AR system from the beginning can lead to extending credit to unqualified customers as well as not following up on past-due accounts in a timely manner. Poor AR practices take time and money from your business that can be easily avoided.  Not paying attention to the accuracy of bills and invoices and not issuing reports to find potential problems can have far reaching consequences for your business.

Optimizing these Accounts Receivable Processes will benefit your business:

Make sure payments are applied correctly to the correct customer and invoice so that future disputes can be easily settled.  Create a billing dispute process so everyone knows how to handle disputes when they arise.Make sure payments are applied correctly to the correct customer and invoice so that future disputes can be easily settled.  Create a billing dispute process so everyone knows how to handle disputes when they arise.

  1. Maintain accurate client data, update contact information and audit accounts regularly to check for unusual payments, credit terms, discounts etc. making sure that all is in order.  Changes should be documented, and controls put in to prevent unauthorized edits. 
  2. Establish a clear and concise credit approval process - extending credit can be good for your business but there must be a system established that includes instructions on when and how to evaluate and override credit limits and when to put accounts on hold.  The process should be regularly reviewed, and changes made if necessary.
  3. Set up an effective billing process that is accurate and streamlined.  Make sure that all pricing and units of measure are correct as errors can cause many problems.  Invoices should be sent in a timely manner, and reports used to identify problem accounts. Setting up a customer portal will allow customers to access their accounts and check the details easily.  Bill clients electronically if possible, this will make the billing process more accurate and cost effective.
  4. Make sure payments are applied correctly to the correct customer and invoice so that future disputes can be easily settled.  Create a billing dispute process so everyone knows how to handle disputes when they arise.
  5. Payments should be applied quickly so that you always know which accounts are current and which are past due.  Monitor your AR at least once a week to quickly identify and correct errors.
  6. Optimize the payment process by offering your customers a number of payment options such as e-transfer or retaining a credit card on file.  
  7. Consider reducing your payment terms, you do not have to use net 30 days you can decide what is best for your company.
  8. Once delinquent accounts are identified your collection strategy should be consistent and methodical, make collections a top priority.
  9. Automate your accounts receivable process as much as possible to avoid errors.

You don’t have to make these changes to your billing and collections process immediately but any steps that you do take will help to optimize your accounts receivable and will pay off in the future.

 

How to Protect your Small Business Data

By Randall Orser | Cloud-computing , Small Business , Technology

Backing up your business data is vitally important.  Only keeping data on your computer can be a big mistake.  Programs on your computer can be reinstalled but if you lose all your correspondence, documents and transaction details then your business could be seriously compromised.  Having paper copies is not the answer.  If there is a catastrophe such as a flood or fire, then again, your data could be lost. 

If losing your data will seriously affect your business, then you need to set up a more reliable back-up system.  Your business data should be backed up regularly, should be saved on reliable media or in the cloud, and should be kept in a secure off-site location.

Backing up or Archiving your Data

Your data should be backed up for the short term, but data that is no longer in regular use should be archived.  This includes everything from emails to accounting information.  A good reason to use cloud-computing in your business is that you can retrieve your information should something happen to your desktop computer.  

However, cloud services can still be hacked or sabotaged which can cause a loss of data, so it is a good idea to save it to a storage device such as a USB drive or an external hard drive.  Once you have identified the data to be archived you can install a backup software program that will do that for you on a regular basis.

Once again, do not leave these backups on site unless you have a fire-proof safe, they need to be stored elsewhere.  Some businesses will store their backups in a security box at a bank and others at the homes of different friends and family members.   

If you have a local area network, you can back up files to another computer or server, but it should be in a different location that is secure.  If you want to back up a lot of information for long term storage, then tape backups can be the best option as they are reliable and can store huge amounts of data.

Most importantly make sure that you use strong passwords to protect your data and change them regularly.   For extra security make sure that the backup files are encrypted.  If you use cloud storage this is done for you.

Improve Your Business with Integrated Workflow and Financial Software

By Randall Orser | Cloud-computing , Small Business , Technology

In the business world, time is money, and one of the biggest time sucks in your business is the sharing of information. What are you wasting too much time doing? Examples are downloading content, faxing documents (yes, we still do that especially to government), emailing lost files and simply running across the building to get that important file. Now your staff have less time to actually do what you hired them to do, and even though the tasks don’t seem that important in the overall scheme of things, they do lower productivity and then your bottom line.

Improved Productivity

An integrated workflow and financial (accounting) software system will help to boost the long-term productivity of your business. The reason is that they can directly access system resources, without needing to go to a superior or other source. You have the necessary information right at your fingertips so you are no longer wasting time searching or making pointless phone calls, emails or faxes (one day we’ll have stopped using this archaic transmission feature).

Your employees have everything direct at their fingertips, and with this easy access they’re spending less time from their desks and on needless tasks. With this new workflow system, they can remain focused without the tasks they would normally need to complete. All of this makes it much easier for your business to produce the necessary products and services without spending time on those other tasks that waste time.

Greater Financial Security While Avoiding Downtime

The financial software aspect of this integrated Workflow system is perfect for companies with multiple departments providing financial information. The sales department may need sales figures, while the marketing department must provide advertising costs.

Without the integrated workflow and financial software system available in the business, all data must first be emailed or sent to the financial department, who then compiles the data in order to come up with the accurate financial report. This is incredibly tedious and does leave the window open to possible errors and incorrect numbers, especially if someone forgets to provide their content by the designated time frame.

However, with software, it’s now possible for every department to easily upload their figures, which is fully integrated with the rest of the company and every other department. Your staff no longer have to run around collecting data just to create and finish that financial report. The software automatically collects this data and allows the financial department to quickly produce the financial report.

Reduce Waste

It’s important for any business to reduce waste as it allows it to focus this time elsewhere on other tasks, which in turn improves productivity and the overall number of necessary tasks completed. It may not seem much of a waste of time running around to various departments to gather files and reports, but over the course of a year that can definitely add up. Having an integrated workflow and financial software system in place is exactly why you can reduce this wasted time considerably. Everyone can complete their tasks, upload it to the system and even gain access to the files which they need without ever having to leave their desk.                                                                                                          


Improving productivity is always important, which is why applying such a system has very favourable meaning for the business. By integrating workflow into the financial structure of your business, you can save time, cut costs and boost productivity. All of which comes back and helps boost your bottom line.


You may be thinking, I’m a small business and don’t have departments as it may only be your or maybe a few employees. However, you still have departments as you have employees doing certain jobs and you can break up tasks accordingly and using integrated workflow and financial structure system can help you relieve the work maybe only you’re doing. You can achieve this with QuickBooks Online and Hubdoc (or Receipt Bank), and other software that works with QuickBooks Online. This can help sales people do invoicing as it happens or work orders are entered and the worker can turn it into an invoice.

Clean up Your Invoicing Practices

By Randall Orser | Cloud-computing , Small Business , Technology

Surprisingly, many small business, and maybe yours, are making it hard for your clients to pay, improper invoicing can slow payment, which could bring your whole operation to a halt. You may even get much less than you expected, simply because the client found a hole in the deal. The following ways can help you improve your invoicing and keep your company healthy.

Short Payment Terms

Stay away from 30-day payment terms as they aren’t good for your business. Those kinds of terms mean you wait an entire month for your revenue and this increases the amount of capital your company needs to function, because you don’t immediately recoup your expenses. With today’s technology, you don’t need to wait that long. You can email the invoice and many accounting programs allow the receiver to just click a button and pay. There’s also e-Interac®Transfers, online banking, and credit cards. In this day and age there’s no real need for payment terms anymore. Always, encourage your customers to pay right away, or better yet, prepay.

Bill Clients Regularly

Your business is probably like most that you can get away with requiring payment right away. If you’re in a situation where that’s not possible due to the nature of your business or clients, you will have to determine when you should bill your clients. There’s no one set of rules that apply to all companies, but there are some best practices, so check with others in your industry and see what they’re doing, and those practices may depend on the region you’re in.

No matter how often you send invoices, shoot to send them when their inboxes are less full, like a weekend. Barring that then Tuesday is usually the best bet.

Automation

Invoicing can be a time-consuming, though albeit very important, task. Rather than slaving away at your invoicing, you should automate it as much as you can. The time savings allows you to work on other aspects of your business, especially if you have recurring invoices. As we work on a value-based pricing model, we bill out the first of the month, and apply to a credit card, and thanks to QuickBooks Online this makes it very simple.

Set Your Payment Terms in Stone

Before you even sell your product or service you need to set your payment terms in stone, too many small businesses make this mistake when starting out. Without clear rules, either party could start trying to get more out of the deal, possibly hindering the process or turning it into a worthless endeavour. Every contract should answer things such as payment options, invoicing, as well as any other incentives.

Never Hold Credit

Once you spend your money, you’re not getting it back until you get paid for your product or service. By holding credit, accounts receivable, for your clients, you’re putting your business in pickle. Holding credit can impede you from meeting orders, and if you don’t get paid on time, it could affect your relationships. Your suppliers may not look favourably on your business if you can’t pay them. Ensure your customers know this from the beginning.

If you can’t get paid quickly, and on-time, your small business will never survive. Overhaul your invoicing and ensure you get what you deserve.

Automate Your Business to Grow!

By Randall Orser | Business Income Taxes , Investments , Small Business , Technology

Mention "business process automation" and for most people, it’s the complex IT systems of the bigger business establishments that first come to mind. Yet the smaller businesses, even the start-ups and home-based enterprises, can make use of and benefit from business process automation.

What is Business Process Automation?

Business process automation refers to the use of technology and software applications in operating a business. It is the complete or partial automation of repetitive tasks and regular business processes so that labour is better utilized and costs are contained.

Tools to automate a business are aplenty: tools for accounting, inventory tracking, email marketing, order taking, customer relations, and many more. A good example is the automation of inbound calls to a company. Do you remember years ago when a telephone operator was a must for most firms? These days, callers interact with a voice response system that takes care of standard calls or inquiries and routes specific calls to the right person or department.

Benefits of Automating Your Home Business

Automation has become necessary for businesses of all types and sizes. Consider the following benefits you are bound to gain by automating your business processes:

1. Business process automation will save you time.

If you are a one-person operation, you can be freed from handling the everyday routine tasks and devote your time instead towards marketing and growing your home business.

2. Business process automation will cut down your costs.

By automating many of your processes, you can streamline your operations so you will not need to hire as many employees as you would if your operations were run manually.

3. Business process automation will minimize errors.

Human errors can be costly and can lead to financial losses or poor customer service. Automated accounting systems, for instance, guarantee accuracy in computations, ensure timeliness of sending billing statements and improve the efficiency of your inventory management.

4. Business process automation will help you manage information better.

As business owner, you need to be informed about all aspects of your business operation. With automation, information is sorted, classified, and ready for your retrieval anytime you need it.

5. Business process automation will facilitate communication.

With correct and timely information, you get to know exactly what your customers want. You can communicate directly with your customers to address their needs or resolve their problem with your product or service.

How You Can Automate Your Home Business

If you are not yet sure which of your business processes to automate and what automation tools to use, you may want to take stock of your various business processes and learn which can be automated. Make sure to break them down where needed so you can decide on the appropriate software or application.

Take for example your marketing process. You can break it down to the following tasks: generating leads, distributing marketing materials, sending out sales letters, following up on leads, conducting surveys, and gathering feedback. For lead generation, you can design your website to include a subscription form or an opt-in box where visitors can submit their contact information. The pooled data go to your mailing list, which you then feed to your email auto responder that will in turn generate automatic responses to the email inquiries or send out pre-scheduled messages, newsletters, or sales pitches to those in your customers’ list.

With the right apps on your website, you can engage in e-commerce and run your online store where everything is automated from the order taking to receipt of payment and processing of shipment. If you have affiliates or if you advertise on other websites, you can also monitor their performance using a tracking system. Your accounting system can incorporate bookkeeping, invoicing, inventory management, payroll, voucher preparation, and so forth.

In the end, it is a matter of identifying the unique needs of your business and choosing the appropriate business process automation tools. Depending on your budget and the degree of automation that you want, you can hire an IT professional to develop an automated system for you or you can purchase one of the many canned programs that are readily available. A few solutions that you can download for free are available if your needs are simple and your volume is low.

How Smart Entrepreneurs Manage Inventory

By Randall Orser | marketing strategy , Small Business , Technology

Inventory management isn't exactly made for the highlight reel. When people think of entrepreneurs, they think of bold ideas, trailblazing, and making money, not counting how much of your product you have. But inventory management is as important as accounting or securing your patents. Not enough of your big product to go around? Too bad, you just lost a chunk of your customers. The two basic things that your product needs to be are "functional" and "available for purchase". Fail the second one and it doesn't matter how good your product is - you're going to lose money.

Proper inventory management involves more than good hiring practices and keep an eye on your products. There are a couple of problems you'll need to solve.

1. Tracking Your Inventory

The Problem: So you know how much you expect to sell. The problem then becomes figuring out how much you have available for sale. Human error can put the kibosh on your finances. Inventory miscounts can occur when they're sold, when they're received, or when someone decides to use their five-finger discount. You'll also have to take scrapped items into account.

The Solution: Bar codes and electronic data interchange can help make sure that everything is accounted for. While you can count your inventory daily, it can put your employees and your finances under severe stress. A good alternative is to count a few items at a time. Pick a few of your products and see if they match your records. Put more emphasis on your best sellers - count them more often.

2. Having Too Much

The Problem: Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Making too much product can result in storage and production costs eating into what could be your profit. Anything that sits on a shelf for long enough is at risk of being stolen, damaged, or even becoming obsolete. Old product is notoriously difficult to sell, which can result in unplanned discounts or hoping that the overseas markets have room for your old stuff.

The Solution: The first thing you should do is figure out how much you need to have and when you'll need to have it. Take a look at how your sales have been over the past year. Take note of any peaks and dips and figure out if those deviations are connected to specific events or seasons. You can also figure out if you have spikes during specific times of the month, such as at the end of the month.

3. Data Loss

The Problem: Your inventory is properly marked and recorded and you're ready to turn in when your computer suddenly shuts down and refuses to turn back on. You get the repair guy to come in, and he tells you that your hard drive is gone. What do you do?

The Solution: There are a lot of things that can compromise your data, from viruses to theft. So when the inevitable "bad thing" does happen, take a deep breath. Take a look at your backup copy, which you should have. When you update your main file, make sure to update the backup as well. Software is available to both automate the process and to make sure that your data is recoverable. You can also have another copy of the file available to someone who needs it regularly, such as your accountant.

4. Skewed Priorities

The Problem: Inventory checking, for the most part, is a manual task. Someone has to visually confirm the existence of your products and note it down. This takes a lot of time and effort, both of which increase as your company grows.

The Solution: Entrepreneurs know that the first thing to do when solving a problem is to figure out your priorities. In this case, the priorities should lie in your most important products. Figure out how your best items are doing inventory-wise. Make sure that they're always in stock and up-to-date. Then take a look at your second-best items and so on and so forth. While it is possible to cover all your bases, focus on making sure that the most important products are protected. Your resources and your personnel are not unlimited.

5. Misused Spreadsheets

The Problem: Spreadsheet programs are often used as a way to easily track inventory. Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice software are used as computer lists. The problem is that computer files can be lost or modified. Changes are difficult to track, and synchronizing files across multiple branches can drive you to insanity.

The Solution: Entrepreneurs know that you have to use the right tool for the right job. Go with accounting software that has built-in inventory management systems, such as Quickbooks Online (QBO); maybe use an app for inventory that links to QBO. They'll ensure that human error is minimized and even provide vital functions such as a centralized database.

Your inventory might not be the most exciting thing in your life as an entrepreneur, but it's no less important. Mismanaged stock can easily result in lost sales, lost customers, and lost profits. Keep an eye on your product no matter how boring it gets and it will pay off.

Drive Your Business to Success with Smart Outsourcing

By Randall Orser | Cloud-computing , Small Business , Technology

You’re going to go through many challenges while running your successful business all the while wearing multiple hats during your work week. There comes a point where you’re spread out so thin that it starts to harm the business, and you need to outsource some work to allow you to focus on the main reasons why you originally got into business. In your business where can you start outsourcing?

Credit Control

As a small business, you have the dilemma of being subservient to your cash flow, but probably don’t have the funds to have a department devoted to making customers pay on time. You could look at a factoring service (where you sell your invoices to a company), which solves the issue of outsourcing your credit control operations and the administration that goes with that. Invoice factoring also greatly strengthens your cash flow. With invoice factoring you get a part of the invoice right away, with the remainder paid upon collection less a fee. By combining the improvement in cash flow and lower administration costs makes credit control your first choice when outsourcing.

Staff Recruitment

Finding the right employees is the essence of a successful business, nevertheless finding and hiring able staff is tedious, and it’s usually not a skill most entrepreneurs have. A recruitment agency can help you find, interview, and select the best candidate for your business that’ll boost your human assets hugely, and for comparative little cost in both your time and money. Remember to hire slow and fire fast, don’t rush to hire someone just to fill a vacant position.

Digital Marketing

Your online presence via a website and social media as given rise to a new term, digital marketing. You could never be expected to keep on top of this whirlwind that is digital marketing, however, it’s a crucial part of success in today’s commerce. Finding the right agency will take time, and you probably will devote much time to finding that professional that is a fit; however, this can totally pay off by driving profitable business for years into the future.

Public Relations

While public relations is related to marketing it is a separate practice than can have a huge impact on your business success. A good public relations agency is continually on the lookout for ways to develop favourable publicity for your business, incorporating your reputation into the fibre of your niche. A PR agency has the expertise, experience, and carefully refined contacts list to promote your business in ways you probably wouldn’t have thought, thereby, allowing you to concentrate on getting your business ready to convert this exposure to profit.

Office Cleaning

You may not think it, but cleaning is a crucial approach to running your business, which is often underestimated as to its value. First impressions count whenever customers or others visit your establishment, and a messy office can suggest a carelessly managed enterprise. Now you’re probably thinking you don’t have the funds to hire a professional cleaner on your tight budget; however, when you do it yourself it’ll always drop down on your priority list. We all want our work place to be pleasant, and outsourcing the unglamourous activity of office cleaning to a professional cleaner can be cost-effective, and repay itself by improving your company’s image.

You started your business to carry out your passion and satisfy a drive and then these day-to-day nuts and bolts get in the way constraining your company when it should be flying. Smart outsourcing releases you, letting you concentrate your energies to drive your business forward toward success.

Is it Time to Outsource Your IT?

By Randall Orser | Cloud-computing , Consulting , Freelancing , Small Business , Technology

Technology is very important to businesses today, and when it fails, it can be an utter disaster. You have two choices when it comes to your Information Technology (IT) operations. Do you hire someone in-house to install and maintain your servers, and train your staff on the latest software? Or, do you outsource it to an external IT expert? The choice of the latter has many reasons to pick and smart business owners recognize the value of outsourced IT.

The benefits of outsourcing your IT can be quite clear, however, some are not as clear. Here are ten benefits to outsourcing your IT.

Lower Costs

You can lower your overheads with outsourced IT, as you’re just renting the equipment or space on a server, and pay a monthly fee rather than having to outlay tons of money for in-house equipment. You end up paying only for what you need.

Enhanced Security

Data security is crucial for your small business, and managed service companies are experts at protecting your data safe. These IT providers can easily increase data security, and make expensive data breeches less plausible.

Decreased Training Costs

It can get quite costly keeping your IT staff up-to-date on the latest operating systems and other software, not to mention the constant updates out today. Outsourcing your IT can reduce or eliminate these costs lowering your overhead even more.

Hiring Issues are Gone

Most business owners are not techies, and you’re probably not either, so hiring an IT person can be difficult when you don’t understand what it is they do. These hiring challenges can be eliminated by outsourcing your IT.

Dependable Backups

You have so many things on your mind as a business owner that backing up your data may fall on that list way down. You may have a setup where your data is backed up automatically, however, are you checking those backups. Managed service companies ensure that backups are done regularly and that those backups are usable. You’ll definitely be pleased about this when something goes wrong.

Technical Abilities

You’re an expert in what you do and the niche you’re in, however, IT is probably not one of those. Through smart outsourcing of your IT to an expert, you can focus on what you do best, and not have to worry about your IT.

Better Budgeted Costs

You can better budget what you’re spending on your IT each month as you just pay a fee based on the infrastructure or services you bought. When you have in-house staff, that’s much harder to do, as when something breaks down, you’re responsible for paying for it.

Easier Scaling

With an in-house IT staff, it can be much harder to scale up, however, with outsourced IT can be as easy as letting them know what you want. Is your business in a growth phase? Then you’re perfect for outsourced IT.

Better Productivity

The goal of any business is to be productive and efficiently serve customers, and that’s much easier when you outsource your IT. If your goal is higher profits, as I’m sure it is, then better productivity and lower costs ensures those profits.

Give Yourself a Fighting Chance

As a small business owner, you can keep up with larger competitors by outsourcing your IT. Outsourcing has always been a great way to level the playing field, and outsourcing IT lets you win in this global world of ours.

Finding ways to do more with less is the way of the startup as well as the growing business. A great strategy to do more with less is for your business is to outsource your IT, it has ten great advantages as mentioned above.

Five Major Benefits of Business Process Automation

By Randall Orser | Small Business , Technology

Every business will have inefficiencies of one type or another. Your business might be profitable, but certain processes can still slow down decisions, damage productivity, and lead to recurring errors. Altering the structure of the business could be unnecessary, though, with the overall workflow being beneficial to your operations. A better way to make improvements is to use process automation, replacing repetitive human tasks with efficient, optimized software models. Streamlining processes will have a number of benefits, with the following examples illustrating why you should consider automation in your business.

Root Out Inefficiency

Countless hours can be wasted performing tasks that are not improved through manual effort. General administration work is time-consuming and repetitive, but most small business owners feel they have to complete these tasks themselves. Even employing staff to perform admin duties can be inefficient, with wages better spent on productive activities. Automation can change the approach to day-to-day procedures, freeing up time for activities with a high ROI.

Improve Communication

A lack of organization can result in poor communication between staff and clients. Many businesses still rely on writing notes or sending individual emails, but these can get lost or removed from their intended context. From a communication perspective, automation ensures all interactions take place within a framework, allowing for easy reference back to the projects they are discussing.

Save Costs

Automation can reduce staffing requirements, create a paperless office, and end inefficient working methods. You may not see the savings immediately, but there should gradually be a reduction in wasteful practices that lose time and money. An improved workflow should also result in higher productivity, so you can develop, produce, and distribute more within the same time frame.

Accurate Data Analysis

The ability to study analytics will help spot areas of workflow that can be improved. Frequently, decisions are made by estimation, with business owners happy to use a gut feeling. While human experience is important for any business, it will often lead to common errors. Automating processes with software can provide accurate reporting, so you can feel more secure in your decisions. The data might still need to be interpreted, but the accuracy of the information, along with the savings in time, make it one of the first areas to employ automation.

Systematic Workflow

The use of process automation ensures a systematic workflow, with employees taking responsibility for their area of the process. In many cases, a business already has a system in place, but it fails due to human error. Automation is not infallible, but it makes it far easier to see the inputs that caused the process to fail.

Automating complex processes will not be an easy process, with any difficult transition posing challenges. Thinking into the future, though, effective process automation can be one of the factors determining if your business can survive. New startups will look to squeeze every last drop of efficiency and productivity from their processes, so inefficient businesses can find themselves outdated compared to new competition. Automation will not always be easy to implement, but the long-term benefits are there for all businesses to see.