Wish you had more time to spend growing your business instead of getting bogged down in the mundane tasks necessary to manage it? Automating repetitive but time-consuming administrative tasks in your back office can free yourself and your staff to focus on more important work, like that project that always gets pushed to the back burner or the analysis you never get around to doing.
Not only can automating back office processes save time and money, but “the more you can automate, the more you can redeploy those resources to more sophisticated and higher margin tasks,” says Brad Shaver, XMI’s director of outsourced accounting. That means instead of sinking hours into hiring and managing more employees, you can concentrate on making your back office more productive.
When deployed properly with the right amount of skill and expertise, automation can “change how you operate and your cost structure,” Shaver says. For example, it may help you get your financial statements out a week earlier for more timely insights or allow you to provide more administrative support to your executive team.
In the case of one XMI client, Shaver notes, these time-saving technologies freed up a third of the administrative staff’s time, making it easier for the team to assist executives with pressing tasks.
“If everyone provides a higher level of services, eventually it will create more capacity at the top—and that’s the most expensive to free up,” Shaver says.
Error-proof and remote-work friendly
Automation also leads to fewer mistakes caused by human error, especially for high-volume tasks like invoicing and payroll.
“You still have to check the work the computer does, but it doesn’t get tired like humans do,” Shaver says.
Along with its speed and ease, automation can also help you eliminate antiquated paper-driven and mail-intensive processes—a growing priority for businesses operating in today’s post-COVID-19 world. Concerns about mail delivery, germs on high-touch items like checks, and the need for remote access have many companies exploring paperless processing for the first time.
“Clients who used to want to print and sign all of their checks themselves are more open now to doing it electronically and remotely,” Shaver says. “It cuts down on the need for people to be in the office or be in close proximity to each other.”
With the economic fallout of COVID-19, businesses are also keeping a closer eye on their cash flow, Shaver adds. Automated, cloud-based software like Bill.com, which virtually transfers payments between accounts, enables companies to stretch their accounts payable closer to the actual due date for payments. The software also provides greater internal controls for check approvals and integrated storage for creating a virtual paper trail.
Back-office tasks ripe for automation
Looking for the quickest and easiest ways to automate your back office? Start with these accounting and HR processes:
Automated payroll software simplifies time-keeping, wage calculations (including bonuses, commissions and reimbursements), and deductions for tax withholdings, benefits, etc., along with recordkeeping. Checks are generated automatically and may be directly deposited into employee accounts, including final payments for termed employees.
Benefits automation eliminates redundant paperwork, updates records in real time, and provides employees with automatic reminders of enrollment schedules and deadlines. It also includes self-service tools enabling administrators and employees alike to better evaluate costs and coverage and find the right plans for their needs and budget.
Automating onboarding streamlines information gathering and paperwork, allowing managers to focus on more strategic initiatives during orientation, and creates a more consistent experience for new hires. HR portals provide employees with easy access to company policies and procedures as well as benefits information and prompts for asking questions.
Virtual training via apps and online programs enable new hires to complete training at their own pace and during times that work best for them. Automated training can also bring employees up to speed faster, increase their engagement and nudge them to finish incomplete tasks.
5. Accounts payable and receivable
Automated accounting tools, such as Bill.com, allow vendors to send bills to a dedicated email inbox, where invoices are automatically coded and routed for approval. Checks are signed digitally with multiple internal controls and approvals along the way. Not only do technologies like these sync up with other accounting systems like QuickBooks and Sage Intacct, but they also create a virtual payment network enabling you to send automatic payments and flagging vendors with a record of fraudulent charges. You can also automate invoicing through bill.com, which expedites payment from customers and boosts collection efforts.
XMI has experience leveraging automated technologies for businesses using our outsourced HR and accounting services. By partnering with us, you can benefit from a smaller monthly fee for automated programs as well as our expertise with implementation and syncing these programs with other systems. Our team is bill.com certified and highly proficient at managing automated programs like these. Learn more about solutions for automating your back office by contacting us today.