What value can automation bring to your business?
Automation has the capacity to revolutionise your efficiency and productivity. But how many of the automation features that are available to you are actually being used? And could you be getting more value by building automated processes into your operational framework?
Removing the manual workload to streamline your processes
There’s a very simple mantra when it comes to making the most of automation: if there’s a manual task in your business that’s taking up time, automate it now!
The more time you and your team spend on low-level administration, data-entry and form-filling, the less time you have available for actually running the business. With your software tools maximised, your automated processes can be chugging along in the background, doing the heavy lifting and freeing up your time to focus on client service, sales and strategy etc.
So, which elements of your everyday operations could you be automating? And which apps and software solutions can help you to achieve your automation goals?
Here are some areas where automation and smart systems can really help to add value:
- Automated bookkeeping and digitisation of paperwork – apps like Dext offer you the opportunity to automate your bookkeeping and record-keeping. These solutions let you snap a photo of a receipt or invoice, digitise the contents and then automatically create an expense claim or bill in your accounting system. There’s no keying in and the whole process is synced with your choice of cloud accounting platform.
- Automated employee expenses – apps like Soldo and Pleo give you automated control over your employee expenses. Using either virtual or physical credit cards, your staff can pay for expenses and payments are then automatically synced with your main accounting platform. That means no late expenses claims, no need for petty cash and no wasted time keying in the receipts. All employee expenses can be tracked, measured and paid, with the whole expenses process automated from start to finish.
- Automated payment collection from your customers – with payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe and GoCardless you can automate your cash collection. By using a modern payment gateway, you make it easier for clients to pay their bills. But you also automate the actual cash collection and bank reconciliation process too. Money can be instantly paid to your main business account and all the transactional data pulled across to your accounting platform. That means less admin, and faster payments too.
- Automated POS, stock management and inventory – running a retail or hospitality outlet comes with a lot of operational admin. Apps like Vend or Shopify POS give you an all-in-one point-of-sale (POS), stock and inventory management system, automating your till sales and syncin g everything with your choice of accounting platform. The inventory system will also be automatically updated when an item is sold, keeping your records and stock listings completely up to date.
- Automated marketing and social media posts – digital marketing is key to finding customers and growing your business. With tools like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign you can automate a large chunk of your marketing work. These solutions let you create automated email cadences, target specific customer audiences and track your return on investment (ROI) in forensic detail.