Every business owner is aware of the importance of keeping costs low while continuing to offer customers the best service possible.
Equally, that no matter how profitable your business is there is always a bit of fat that could be trimmed away to reveal a faster, leaner, more effective operating model.
Rapid advances in technology are making this balancing act much easier by allowing increased automation and streamlining of many everyday business processes.
Here are nine easy ways advances in technology are driving change and creating opportunities for business and where RSM is working with clients to find the right solutions:
1. Digital marketing
Traditional marketing methods enjoy a good success rate when executed well, but they can also be expensive in terms of materials and time.
Digital methods enable you to bypass a lot of the more costly aspects of traditional marketing. For example, instead of printing and distributing a brochure, there are a number of free programs available that enable you to quickly and easily design and send out an email.
There are many online marketing platforms and tools available to allow you to quickly develop, target, execute and analyse your own digital campaign. As the costs are more affordable and the nature of digital marketing allows you to make changes as you adapt to real-time customer intelligence it can, not only keep you on par with competitors, but can enable you to compete with industry leaders.
2. Regular website updates
These days most people will go online and research products and companies before they make a purchase, if you don't have a website you are missing out on all of this potential business.
Simply then having a website is not enough. Your website should be up-to-date and refreshed with new and useful content regularly so that search engine ranks it well and your potential clients are able to find you easily.
3. Automate everything
Data entry tends to be slow, tedious and prone to errors. In this day and age, there’s a way to automate at least the routine parts of basically every business function. This can free up time and resources for growing and improving your business.
4. Cloud accounting systems
Cloud accounting enables you to save your data files ‘in the cloud’ rather than on your computer's storage media. Your accounting, taxation, invoicing and payroll can all be handled from one single tool.
Usually this is done on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. Advantages include:
- saving you time in your end-of-month bookkeeping
- no software to install or updates to run
- save on hardware and software costs
- boost business efficiencies and experience real-time business oversight
- experience less disruption at tax time
- provide you with multi-user access
- save space – no more piles of paperwork, backup tapes or internal servers
5. Data integration
One of the best ways to integrate your data is through automated bank feeds, which link your accounting system up to your financial institution.
This ties in with cloud accounting and surveys carried out by MYOB show that SMEs using bank feeds save an average of 10 hours and approximately $700 per month on data entry.
6. Outsourcing services
Employment can be costly in terms of wages, paid leave, superannuation, workers compensation insurance, training and performance reviews. By outsourcing certain functions, such as payroll and HR, you can be provided with an expert service as you need it, and only pay for what you use.
7. Online communication portals
Portals enable more efficient communication, collaboration and file sharing, reducing the time required for meetings, phone calls and sending slow-loading files by email. Your clients can each have their own portal that is adapted to their needs, providing them with better self-service as well as faster communications.
8. Electronic timesheets and rostering
Planning rosters and processing time sheet data can be complex and time consuming. Automating the process through time tracking and scheduling software can streamline the whole process, saving you time and money at the same time.
9. Housing hardware
Historically, the software you run for various aspects of your business has had to be housed somewhere, usually in large servers. With the advent of cloud technology this is no longer the case.
You can now house your data on cloud-based storage systems, through third party vendors or all-in-one cloud computing platforms. The savings this can have on capital expenditure are huge, not only initially but also in the future. Should your needs grow you can simply upgrade to a higher package, rather than upgrading costly machinery.
At RSM, we understand change can seem overwhelming and we are more than happy to answer any questions you may have around how these advances in technology would work best for your particular business needs.
For more information about this article, please contact your nearest RSM Office