Your back office is where pragmatism and straightforwardness reign supreme. It’s also where efficiency can drive huge gains in productivity. From contracts to invoices, it’s the ultimate culmination of the hard work you’ve done to grow your business. And while you may have spent years honing a system that works for you, you’re doing yourself and your company a disservice if you aren’t taking advantage of automation in the workplace. Here are three everyday back-office tasks that can be solved right away if you’re willing to take the plunge on an intelligent information management system like M-Files.
The billing process is always going to be something of a nightmare for companies. The most important function of AR departments is to maximize cash flow — by doing anything and everything to get payments in the door on time. There are steps you can take to streamline your operations to help make that a reality. If it takes your back office several days to prepare and send an invoice, you’re losing valuable time and payments that can seriously hurt cash flow.
Automation makes it easy and fast to send out a bill quickly while simultaneously reducing the likelihood of human error. A core function of any document management system is the automation of key AR processes. An intuitive document management system reduces the time it takes to send an invoice and standardizes the process and the actual document — which will make it easier for clients to settle their debt immediately.
The faster cash flow moves, the more working capital you can invest back into the company. Even shaving a few days off your billing process may be able to spur growth, considering the compound effect those few days have on hundreds or thousands of invoices. Plus, your clients will form a better impression of you as the streamlined process contributes to a better customer experience. If your billing process is inconsistent or confusing, clients get frustrated trying to decipher what they’re paying for and when it’s due — or even worse, where that invoices is when it’s late.
If your staff is spending hours a day clarifying information or looking for documents that are buried under a stack of other documents, then automation can make a huge difference in your back office.
If you’re still using a traditional filing system, it’s likely because it works for you. After all, you have a concrete piece of paper in their hand with a verified signature rather than a virtual file that came from who knows where. However, even the best filing system can’t save a company from the hours it takes to manually sort through and find the documents they need. Plus, there are simply too many one-off situations that make it an unsustainable strategy. Building automated processes around the contextualization of information with metadata simply makes data easier to find for everyone.
If a current client calls you, you know exactly where to look to help them. But the next day, a client from five years ago calls you and you’re not nearly as certain where their information is. Is on a piece of paper in a file cabinet? Is it on someone’s laptop? The next day, you find out you’re being audited and need to supply receipts from the last three years. Some might be looking for scraps of paper everywhere. Some may have them digitized into a filing system. But the best of us deploy automation that lets us classify and organize information in digital files far more effectively so that even the most obscure data can be found in seconds.
How much time do you spend on paperwork, supplies and the time it takes to sort and process them? From postage to shredding services to hourly wages, you’re likely spending more than you think. Plus, you’re taking time away from employees who could be using their time for value-added tasks.
Your business can free up its budget by eliminating paper and its related administrative costs. In addition, you can automatically process documents over a secure platform. Automation today is heavily focused on security, especially as cyber-criminals find ever-more creative ways of accessing your private information. When businesses are hacked, their reputation suffers as much as their bottom line does.
But with the right digital security measures offered by document management systems, companies don’t have to sacrifice convenience for privacy. Automation gives your staff the means to securely receive information, catalog documents, and take appropriate follow-up action faster than ever before. You spend less time paring down mountains of paperwork and more time servicing your clients.
Automation turns your back office from a confusing wasteland into an efficient powerhouse. It eliminates the need to send out manual invoices, comb through files, and process paperwork. If you’re looking for ways to make your business more profitable, it may be as simple as moving away from a paper-based system to a more digital solution.
For more, take a look at our 10-minute video 6 Back Office Problems Solved with an Information Management System: