Is your business showing indications of being inefficient? The accounting department has several responsibilities. Managing cashflow, producing financial statements, and future predictions on the financial health of the company, to name a few. When the accounting department starts to show signs of inefficiencies, the rest of the company follows suit. Bit by bit, production slows down, bottlenecks in purchasing appear, shipping times in jeopardy, and ultimately the customer is unhappy. As a responsible business manager, you need to be able to spot these inefficiencies and remedy them. Here are four signs that may have you reconsidering the systems you have in place.
Inefficiency Number 1: Lack of Automation
As accounting software experts, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a phrase we often hear. However, your current systems don’t have to be “broke” to be inefficient. Automation of repetitive tasks such as recurring orders, purchases and payments can be set to repeat. You decide the frequency with nothing more than a click of a button. Rekeying all the same information can be a thing of the past. When you set up recurring entries, you can have all or most of the transaction information repeated and make minor changes where desired.
These minutes saved off each entry can add up to hours over a week, month and year. Ask your self what other repetitive tasks can you automate in your current system. Having automated processes in place means more time for your staff to focus on other revenue generating, customer satisfying, meaningful work.
Inefficiency Number 2: Inaccurate Business Intelligence
How easy is it for your staff to generate a report or answer a quick question? Whether it’s a financial statement, an inventory report, or a custom inquiry such as “which items were the most popular sale in the last two quarters”, the ability to generate simple reports should be at your fingertips. Writing code, Crystal Reports or paying an expert to create a custom report every time you have a simple question should not be part of your day -to-day. You need to be able to answer that “I just have a quick question” promptly.
Meaningful and insightful data isn’t just a catchy phrase marketers use. Having immediate access to data allows you to make thoughtful decisions regarding the performance of a department or overall, your company. Part of maximizing efficiency is to provide your staff the tools they need to get you the answers you’re looking for. Business intelligence can’t exist if you and your team don’t have the right software in place.
Inefficiency Number 3: Not Going Paperless
Understanding the regulatory requirements to going paperless is a smart move for any office manager. You can find this information online and read it carefully before forming your new paperless policies and procedures. While the CRA offers several web pages with information answering questions that come up (Electronic Record Keeping, Acceptable Formats,) it is important that managers understand that being paperless is not only about the software that turns your paper into PDF, but more importantly that proper document management is really what most of these regulatory requirements ask of you.
An easy Google search will define document management as “The processes that control and organize documents throughout an enterprise, incorporating document and content capture, workflow, document repositories, Electronic Records Management (ERM) as well as output and information retrieval systems.” The CRA also offers information on their regulations for document management here. A good “Paperless” software is really more about document management. After all, Adobe has been turning our paper into PDF’s for years now. However, how we store, keep and have access to these documents is crucial to having a well-run paperless office.
Inefficiency Number 4: Stuck with On Premise Only
Beyond all the chatter and trend of cloud software, identifying the reasons your office may need a cloud-based solution is critical. Some businesses have a financial motivation. Subscription based software (SaaS) with monthly payments vs the investment of an outright purchase, offer an easier cash flow for some. Another financial factor maybe that your infrastructure is antiquated. Your server and workstations predate the technical requirements recommended to ensure that your programs are running at their full potential. The cost of replacing an organization’s infrastructure typically starts in the $10,000 range. Another motivating reason is “working in the new normal”. Remote work is now a requirement for many organizations. The ability to access your software from a place with a reliable internet connection can mean the difference between your operation coming to a grinding halt or continuing to run.
Consider the Cloud
Security can also play a part. Cloud solutions typically offer better security against malware and other viruses. These companies have extremely thorough anti-virus protocols and practices. For example, they aren’t receiving direct email exchanges where predators usually attack via phishing scams. Modernizing overall is one reason organizations consider bringing their operations to the cloud. Often, we see a handover in change of management to the next generation. This younger generation is looking for the most contemporary solutions. Considering what has always worked well for the company and how to bring that into the new world can be challenging but sometimes very much needed.
Identifying inefficiencies and rectifying them will serve your company best from a financial management perspective and for your employees’ health and well-being. Creating a comfortable and pleasant work environment means also making sure that your staff is not feeling overwhelmed. When our accounting staff faces manual and mundane tasks or are not feeling valued, they lack the room to thrive and grow. We can unknowingly create an unhappy workplace. Unhappy staff is proven to generate shoddy quality work. But how exciting can accounting possibly be? Here are a few simple steps you can take to help make sure your accounting staff is happy and productive:
Encourage Independent Thinking:
Micromanaging will drive anyone nuts. Empower your staff to make decisions and solve problems. This will also instill a sense of trust in them, resulting in more confidence and productive work.
Show Your Appreciation:
A peer-to-peer recognition program is a great way to do this. Prizes don’t have to be big. A simple award for a team member who has been elected by their peers gives staff something look forward to.
Promote Work-Life Balance:
Accounting can often demand long hours. Make sure to encourage your staff to take their vacations and their daily breaks. The best way to do this is by example: often, the leadership can forgo lunches and breaks – set the standard by demonstrating a better work-life balance yourself.
Spend the time checking in with your staff other than when the annual or quarterly review times are scheduled. Have lunch with them, sit amongst them, and not just in your office. This establishes that you are a part of the team and not just the leader of the pack. Creating an environment that makes it easy for them to come to you and not just awkward when you’re checking in on them.
For more expert tips on how we can help your business be more efficient contact us today.