Starting a business is hard work. What's more difficult is operating one in a tough economy like today.
Apart from the increasing competition, organizations today face challenges within multiple internal aspects – maintaining accurate financial records, managing business expenses and cash flow, hiring, training, retaining employees, customer service, marketing, and much more.
This has brought almost every business to crossroads where they have to decide between two: to continue slogging through manual processes, which make managing all aspects challenging, or to embrace change and go ahead with automated processes.
Formstack conducted a survey in 2018, where they took in responses from 280 companies across the U.S to understand how automation was perceived. To their surprise, over 62% of respondents reported that three or more inefficiencies they faced in core processes could be fixed with automation.
They also found that managers seemed to spend 8 hours or more a week on manual tasks that didn't bring out any business outcome.
If you're thinking about how automated processes could improve your work, read ahead, and I'll show you.
What is business process automation?
Business process automation is when organizations increase their productivity by using digital technologies to automate manual tasks requiring plenty of human intervention.
The aim here is to improve the efficiency of everyday tasks and minimize the chance of human errors.
By diverting the responsibility of completing routine everyday tasks to machines, automation allows employees to focus on jobs with a higher business impact.
"Automation tools help you organize work done by you and your team while also simplifying numerous aspects of their workflows from setting reminders and updating tasks to even sending follow-up emails to clients" - Shruti Kesavan, Content Head at Fyle.
Note to remember: Automation tools handle all manual and time-consuming processes in your business.
What business processes can you automate?
Computers and programs are great for following processes that have clearly-defined steps. This means you can automate any process that would have rules or multiple steps in between. Some of them are:
How does automation software work?
Automation softwares use rule-based logic to automate everyday business processes, including all those within core business functionalities like finance, human resources, and marketing.
Some of the most popular uses of business process automation software happen in email marketing and human resources. For email marketing, it can automate several components of the process, from follow-up emails to confirmation responses, and customer contact management, while for Human Resources, it can automate data entry where employee information is automatically entered into payroll.
Additionally, automation tools can make sharing information in real-time with team members easier while ensuring compliance, making all inherent processes more efficient.
Since it takes over all the tedious aspects of manual processes and leaves little room for errors, accounting is another major area where automation comes into play. The most commonly automated aspects of accounting are expense tracking, reimbursement processing, credit card reconciliation, and travel requests.
Note to remember: Automation tools use rule-based logic to automate processes that have multiple intermediate steps. It's most popularly used in marketing, HR, and accounting.
Automated and Manual Processes: A direct comparison
Key benefits of automating manual processes in your business
Note to remember: Use this as a handy checklist of features your automation tool should enable you to do.
Often the one thing that ensures your business stays on the path of continued growth is automation.
It requires investment, but the benefits reaped much later in time make it all the more worthwhile. By centralizing all your core processes, automation ensures that you’re better equipped to deal with the perils of an uncertain economic climate.