In our austere economic times, companies are focused on finding ways to save money, improve efficiency, and do more with less. Here are some ideas, based on our experience of 20 years in the field, about how to streamline business and improve productivity.
1) Reduce paper
Have a look at the amount of paper going through your finance team today, and ask yourself: is it all necessary?
Whether it’s by switching to e-invoicing or expense automation, one of the easiest and quickest ways to improve efficiency is by removing paper from the equation. Expense management tools can help, for example, by accepting digital receipts captured with mobile phone cameras and uploaded via a mobile app.
2) Automate processes
Do you have one system for entering orders and another for sending invoices? Or does your team spend a bundle of time re-keying data from one place to another?
Where you can, look to integrate some of these processes and take re-keying out of the equation. Expense management systems enable organisations to track all of their travel and expense data in one place. Best-practice systems also allow you to build connections between their tool and other applications, like Salesforce, to send and receive data seamlessly.
3) Get the right support
Is it more cost-effective to have your own people process invoices and receipts or is there an alternative?
Outsourcing is no longer exclusively for big companies. More and more small and mid-sized companies are benefiting from using skilled but cost-effective external providers, where appropriate. If you suspect that there’s an area of your business that could be more efficient, make sure you fully scope the requirement and desired outcomes, and approach the market to see if it can work for you. For example, why not get someone else to input all your paper receipts and work out the VAT that your company could be claiming, on your behalf.
4) Reduce unnecessary travel
Is it really necessary for Bob or Mary to go to that conference in Prague? Does the cost/benefit analysis stack up? Has anyone even done the cost/benefit analysis…?!
It’s amazing how easily your sales or consulting arm can become professional event attendees. Make sure every trip includes a benefit for the company: preferably one that’s measurable in local currency! The proliferation of audio and video conferencing tools available give businesses plenty of options – include the options in your meeting strategy, and ask employees to consider them before they book their trips. Some self-booking tools can even be pre-programmed to include an alert like “Before you book this trip: have you considered a conference call instead?” to prompt users to think before they fly.
How many times have you found your team re-creating documents that already exist on someone else’s desktop?
With tools like Microsoft Sharepoint, Dropbox or Google Docs available, online collaboration is a modern trend that can help improve efficiency. Get a collaboration tool and strategy in place, and not only will your employees become more efficient, the extra interaction could create a better workplace culture as well!
To find out more about how Concur helps company improve efficiency join our weekly webinar on Wednesday at 13:00 GMT.