Industry Views

Effective ways to grow your small business with technology

October 2, 2018

Digital advancement provides us with new ways of working and new opportunities for growth. It allows us to reduce operating costs and to interact with colleagues and associates more efficiently. It allows us to better manage our resources and create memorable customer experiences. So, with that in mind, how can firms use emerging technologies to their advantage and to propel business success?

Leverage IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to ‘smart’ technologies which transmit data and provide insights to users, from wearables to connected cars and office appliances. IoT is becoming increasingly relevant for businesses of all shapes and sizes as it can be harnessed to make processes easier, faster and less expensive to manage. For instance, ‘smart lighting’ and digital thermostats can monitor energy consumption in offices, allowing users to significantly reduce spend on utilities. Connected cameras can be cheaper to install and run than traditional CCTV whilst being just as effective. Elsewhere, stock management tools can monitor inventory or office supplies, and automate orders to replenish products as needed.   

Target the small screen

The accelerating trend of accessing information via mobile devices means there’s a growing opportunity for businesses to engage with customers via digital marketing campaigns, mobile and video content. In order to deliver this content effectively, your website will need to be mobile optimised with a ‘responsive’ design, or similar, to ensure the layout of a given web page automatically adjusts to fit the size of the screen it is displayed on.

Apply OCR technology

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology is used to convert characters from handwritten or photographed paper documents into machine-encoded text. As this type of technology is extremely accurate in its output, businesses are increasingly adopting OCR-based applications to make administrative processes more efficient, such as data entry during accounts payable. OCR can also greatly reduce expense management fraud, by enabling employees to capture receipts via their mobile device and providing the technology to produce more accurate and searchable records for auditors when compiling expense reports.   

Use cloud accounting software

More businesses are rightly adopting cloud accounting software, in order to drive efficiencies, reduce operating costs and more easily manage their finances. By leveraging in-built rules and by hosting data online, this type of technology provides users with a range of benefits. For instance, as information is updated in real-time, users have a more accurate view of their finances, allowing them to make more informed decisions, faster. Working in the cloud provides greater mobility and accessibility to financial records, enabling businesses to access their accounts securely, at any time and on any device, and more easily share documents with third parties.

Those who use accounting software, such as QuickBooks, Sage or Xero, can also reduce valuable time spent on manual processes, by syncing their account with a range of purpose-built applications, in order to streamline administrative functions within payroll, inventory, CRM, data entry and more.

Automate bookkeeping data entry

Automated solutions such as AutoEntry, are being rapidly adopted, in order to automate the routine and time-consuming task of bookkeeping data entry. AutoEntry works by capturing and analysing scanned and photographed paper documents, automating the publishing of data into accounting software. AutoEntry captures tax summaries by default and if requested, full line item details including description, quantity and unit price. AutoEntry also remembers how users categorise their expenses such as the relevant supplier account, nominal account and tax code without ever creating duplicate supplier accounts or posting duplicate invoices into accounting software. AutoEntry even matches invoices to purchase orders where applicable.

AutoEntry’s pricing is based solely on credits and is billed as a monthly subscription. Adding more client companies or employees incurs no extra charges, which makes AutoEntry substantially cheaper than other available solutions. Advanced plans are also available upon request for firms with a high volume of documents.

Ensuring future success with digital innovation

Growing a business is all about focus and it’s important to prioritise the issues that really matter, such as hitting targets, increasing revenues and driving effective customer engagement. In order to do this, businesses should lean on accounting software and automated solutions to digitise outdated and inefficient processes. This will ensure they can keep up with the pace of change and remain competitive in the long-term.

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