If you have ever heard the words efficiency and streamlining, you might be picturing a robot working in a factory doing a repetitive mundane task really quickly. This is what physical production automation is, where people are taken away and robots are put in doing the same job but at 10x the speed and at a 10th of the cost. But what if your small or starter business is more service based or you don’t have to produce anything in house? Is there still room for automation and such cost cutting? Definitely; there’s a high chance you are doing it already! In terms of accounting, sales and bookkeeping there are hours and money to be saved if you’re not already.

The biggest driver for automation with robots and software to do such tasks is that of human error. We all think that we would pick up any inconsistency or default but the reality is humans make mistakes. This isn’t to say that a robot can’t make a mistake or malfunction but honestly statistics show which is better at any given job. In terms of accounting and book work human error is the cause of billions of company dollars every year worldwide going missing or not being accounted for. It should be recognised and eliminated so that accuracy can be established.

Writing your sales and banking cheques in person is in the past now. If you are doing this still today in 2016, please understand that there are better ways. They first thing to do would be to get some type of accounting software for example, Xero, Reckon online or Quickbooks to name a few. This will allow integration of your accounts to be visualised, tracked and monitored, automatically. How much time does it save? Let me ask you how many hours a week where done doing it yourself? That’s how much time you will save if you set it up automatically. We know, it’s a lot.

These systems where accounting is concerned automate by connecting directly to your e-commerce set up. So as soon as somebody purchases a product, it has already been accounted for, for you by a program. The benefits for this are limitless but in short, human error is almost entirely removed. But what else can be automatized and how do I keep saving time? Keep reading…

If you find yourself having to do things on a regular basis, whether it be call a client every month at a particular day or even write multiple similar contracts for example. Then scheduling and templates would be a good way for you to organise both your time and your calendar. If you are using outlook for example, you have the ability to set dates and times so that they recur and notify you when you want to be notified. Gone are the days of missing phone calls and having to ‘squeeze’ people in to talk to them. A well organised calendar is one of the first steps in automating your day to day spread of workload. The Templates example works on the basis that there are a lot or repetitive tasks that happen often. Simply have the content ready to go ahead of time and where all that is required is to change to minor numbers or content for each varying option. Instead of rewriting or building a form. Which would you decide?

Answering the phone is another big element when it comes to cutting down time and maximising on efficiency. Imagine for every call you get, you have to forward it to another person in the company because that client’s requirement and request isn’t in your department. Now with the use of an IVR (interactive voice response) system, your clients can automatically pick from a number of options and get send to who they need. This may not sound like that much of a time saver but if you consider for example, how long it takes to answer, talk and then redirect and then multiply that by how often it happens; It starts to look more and more appealing. It depends really how big your business is and which people need to be contacted most often but in growing companies it will quickly become required.

If your business uses social media or other marketing channels then it can be seen that to be as productive as possible you should automate this as well. Now this doesn’t mean that your posts are going to write themselves and that there is a software that can make engaging content. You will still have to create the information but doing so in bulk and ahead of time will free up the rest of your week or even month. It is the posting on various platforms that can be done automatically that is the time saver. Software like Hootsuite and Buffer that allow users to create the posts ahead of time and send them to the correct platform when desired is great time saving mechanism; especially if you are busy all the time. Which if you are running a growing business probably are.

Ultimately if you value your time at all and want to do your tasks faster, automation is for you! Automation and streamline now should hold new meaning to you hopefully. Recognise what systems are outdated and do something about it to ensure not just fast turnover but future proofing so that you can let your company grow faster and easier.