Ever since accounting software became mainstream, back in the early 2000s, accounting departments (and small business operators alike) have been switching to digital account management processes.
The results are easy to see, with massive reductions in accounting workforce numbers (across nearly all industries), but how does this apply to small businesses? Does accounting software really streamline financial processes? What are some other ways of enhancing accounting, especially in regards to small businesses?
Reducing your organization’s resource-related expenses is vital to increasing ROI and improving overall performance. There are many strategies that small businesses can use to streamline their accounting process. Most of what’s covered below can be applied to any size business, no matter if you’re the sole operator, or have an actual accounting department.
Stop Using Paper and Make the Transition to Digital
Invoices, checks, banknotes, and account summaries are just some examples of wasteful paper-use that nearly all businesses make the mistake of doing. The easiest way to solve this problem? Stop using paper.
Getting business checks cheaper than banks is one avenue to explore in regards to streamlining your business’s office management process (and cutting costs while you’re at it). You can also reach out to your suppliers, wholesalers, partners, etc. and ask that all communication be performed digitally. Not only will this reduce costs, but it will also lead to a more seamless workflow (in regards to client/organization communication).
Consider Using a Centralized Document Storage Hub
Vendors often send multiple copies of the same invoice, along with other documents. Keeping track of all of these different documents can be a nightmare (especially if you’re a larger-sized small business). When it comes to saving these documents for potential future issues, having physical file cabinets is a thing of the past.
Transferring your file management system to a cloud-based app is the best way to go about doing this. There are several business document storage apps available, with varying levels of storage options and features. If you’re looking to consolidate your document control processes into one standardized system, this is a good idea to explore further.
Software Consolidation for Multiple Workflows
Just like document storage and access, consolidation can also be applied to software services as well. There are many different software providers that offer suites of their products. From a workflow POV, this would make your business run much smoother, faster, and become more optimized in general.
Software consolidation means combining different types of software that have different functionalities into one central system. The benefits of doing this include the following:
- Increased workflow capabilities
- Less time wasted working on different software types
- Standardized system for easier integration with other departments
Analyzing Your Organization’s Current Workflow
Believe it or not, many businesses (especially small businesses) don’t even know what their workflow is. Which is why it’s important to establish exactly what your work process is, and then identify the key stages of the process that can be optimized.
The objective with this type of analysis is determining where your company has gaps in its workflow/process and then filling in those gaps with optimized systems. One of the best ways to achieve this is by communicating with managers/employees about what they feel can be done differently (or better).
Documentation Is Vital for Improved Workflows
Being able to analyze your company’s work process is one thing, but having the fortitude to actually document every single step of that process is another thing altogether. Documentation is very, very important when it comes to establishing a solid work process. Generally speaking, if a process isn’t documented, it isn’t really a process.
Write down each step of your business’s various work processes. After that’s finished, you can identify which steps need to be improved upon (and yes, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to workflows).
Automation Is Becoming Increasingly Popular
Whether you’re a small business or a giant corporation, automation is becoming the new norm across business verticals. How does this play into accounting and work processes? Automation makes accounting easier and workflows more seamless. Most accounting software has at least some form of automation built-in, and that level of automation will only become more advanced as AI develops.
Go Digital, Automate, and Refine Your Workflow
Improving your business’s accounting and back-office management comes down to making the switch to digital-based apps, refining your various work processes, and automating anything that can be automated. The world is becoming increasingly digitized, and if your business doesn’t follow suit it will be left behind by your competitors.