For small-to-medium sized businesses, resources are often tight and company leaders tend to believe that automations and efficiencies that some larger businesses have are out of reach financially. But with the advent of more cloud-based subscription software, enterprise level software is now quite affordable and easy to implement. This is especially important to consider for growing businesses who are considering hiring more staff to handle their operations. These options can add considerable leverage to your operation for a fraction of the cost of new staff – and will improve the work-life and job satisfaction of your current employees as well. To start with – consider these 4 common functions:
Modern Accounts Payable automation solutions offer a variety of features that will not only automate much of the tedious coding, scanning, and filing, but will also improve your financial controls and automate the payment of your vendors. Additionally, tightened control over AP terms, and the related management of cash outflows timing can help businesses easily improve their cash flow no impact on vendor relationships. Vendors worth considering include Bill.com, Tipalti, Beanworks and Mineral Tree to name a few. These solutions will help simplify, automate, and control your AP process for a fraction of your current transactional costs.
Like Accounts Payable, there are multiple vendors who will help automate many of the most tedious aspects of your Accounts Receivable process – including creating and sending invoices and following up with delinquent vendors. Many even offer services to help you collect payments via ACH or Credit Card, which saves you the headache of preparing check deposits. Tightened control over the AR process and improved collections timing is another way to improve your cash flow metrics with very little effort. Vendors in this space include Invoiced, Bill.com, and YayPay.
Expense Reporting and Reimbursement
While the Account Payable and Accounts Receivable functions are often isolated to a small portion of your business, expense reporting is a topic that could affect almost everyone in your organization. Many small businesses accomplish expense reporting with manual spreadsheets and stapled receipts – and everyone hates it. Many software options are now available that can handle scanning, automating data entry and automating approvals to make this process much more controlled and much less painful. Many solutions will even handle getting the expense reimbursement to the employee upon approval, making it one less thing for your Accounts Payable group to handle. Some popular and easy to implement vendors include Expensify, Nexonia, Tallie and Abacus.
We recently wrote a blog on the hidden costs of manual expense reporting and the number of billable hours it consumes.
If you team is responsible for tracking and reporting their time against projects – or in order to feed payroll for hourly employees – it is important to have a solution that is easy and robust, so that your employees do not have to spend valuable time messing around with trying to report their time. Additionally, if you are using a payroll service and/or ERP you should also consider how easily the solution can integrate with other systems. Obviously, it would be best for business if employees are spending their time on value-added processes rather than entering time or performing manual transcribing of time data into another system each pay period. Some popular cost-effective vendors in this space to consider are Harvest, Timesheets.com, and Tsheets.
In summary, growing small-to-medium sized businesses would benefit greatly from taking advantage of the multitude of cost-effective offerings that are available today to automate some of their most routine processes. As mentioned, if your business is in a place where you are considering increasing your staff to handle your daily processes, definitely pause to consider if there is a more cost-effective option. Have questions? Reach out – we would be happy help you evaluate your options.