In today’s business world, competition goes far beyond the quality of a company’s products and services. Firms are no longer focusing on the functional benefits of commodities to do better than their counterparts. In 2019, it’s all about improving your processes in a way that benefits both the end consumer and the company.
Yes, we’re talking about business process automation.
Automation is important because it helps you save on time and effort. The information generated is accurate, up-to-date, and timely. When there’s less human intervention, your tasks are less prone to errors. At the same time, you also produce more output with fewer resources.
Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can automate your small business:
AI and machine learning are the way to go
According to a report by Forbes, you can now use AI-infused CRM platforms to streamline your sales and marketing departments. This can be done with the help of platforms like Salesforce.
You can use AI to initiate customer communications by using chatbots. Instead of hiring customer service personnel that address clients’ queries, the chatbot communicates with the clients. All you have to do is get the right natural speech algorithms going and coalesce information regarding your products and services.
Small businesses can also use artificial intelligence to automate the human resources department. AI can help you screen out and shortlist candidates according to the requirements of a certain job. This will not only help you avoid unnecessary hassle, but you’ll also be able to hire the best possible candidate.
Schedule transactions and correspondence
Most businesses incur repeated transactions. Let’s say a client has to be paid on the 15th of every month. There’s no need for you to visit the bank every month to fill out forms and to make a transfer. All you need to do is set up automated transactions and payments. This can take place both through a bank account and your online accounting software (if you are using one).
Similarly, you can schedule repeated correspondence with stakeholders, employees, and clients. You don’t need to send out notices and memos across the organization every month if all of it can be pre-scheduled.
You can also schedule posts for most social media platforms. All you have to do is set up a date and time and all your posts will be uploaded and messages will be sent on their due time.
Get accounting software
Accounting is one of the most complicated processes that a business has to perform. Not only do you need to comply with international financial reporting standards, but you also need to generate accurate data. The accounting information you produce is used for high-level financial processes, like forecasting, budgeting, and reporting.
Accounting software like QuickBooks helps you generate all essential financial reports online—with just a few clicks. You can also customize these reports and add extra columns for data if you wish to.
QuickBooks comes with the additional benefit of automating your invoices. You no longer have to manually write invoices and keep them saved in heaps of files. Manual invoices also lead to discrepancies at the time of bank reconciliation.
The computerized invoices generated by QuickBooks can be emailed to clients and can be directly used for financial reporting purposes. Furthermore, you can also take snapshots of invoices received from vendors and the software will directly export the data into the system—manual data entry can be skipped.
One of the most prominent benefits of QuickBooks is that you can choose the timeframe for the financial reports that you want. Whether you want an income statement or a balance sheet, you can generate them ob weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. You can also choose to rectify and edit the reports whenever you wish to.
As a bonus, you can integrate QuickBooks with your bank account and schedule all recurrent payments in advance.
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