6 Steps to Streamline Processes and Amplify Productivity: Part 1
Got clunky processes? If you haven’t reviewed them in the last six months, you probably do.
Consider paying bills. Do bills get lost or overlooked? Does your company regularly face additional fees for late payments? Are you worried about protecting your organization’s finances from fraud? A response of “yes” to any of these questions may indicate it is time to take another look at how you pay bills.
Processes are living organisms. They should regularly be reevaluated and refined as your company grows, contracts, adds new services and more. In fact, if you don’t revisit processes (once a year or even once a quarter), you can find that they can work against what you are trying to achieve—efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
In this two-part series we’ll outline the six steps you need to take to completely transform your clunky, troublesome processes.
Let’s begin with Part 1: Steps 1-3!
Step 1: Research
The first step to refining processes is to identify which ones are the most cumbersome and troublesome—the low-hanging fruit.
You most likely have an idea of where to start, but extend your research and involve employees. Ask them what processes contain errors or require a disproportionate amount of their time. Are there other employees that should be involved? Or too many? If so, why? Consider processes from a cost point of view as well. Could supplies or related expenses be eliminated?
Anchor that research with input from contributors monitoring compliance and security for the business (or your thoughts regarding those areas.) For example, sure it would be great to reduce the amount of time or people involved in approving an invoice. But are you jeopardizing the separation of duties and possibly opening the door to fraudulent activities?
Step 2: Identify and reduce roadblocks
Roadblocks can refer to anything that invariably delays or halts processes. Paper, for example, is a massive culprit in this respect. Shuffling it from place to place, filing it, copying it, and mailing it only serves to reduce transparency and efficiency.
The same applies to outdated equipment. Would a mobile device or remote access help employees complete tasks more quickly?
Step 3: Turn to technology
Your company doesn’t have to invest in expensive, large software implementations. Today’s technology is agile, user-friendly, and mobile compatible.
For example, consider AP. The process, especially when it contains paper, can drag on too long, involve too many people, and have little transparency. If you pay with paper checks then you have the added complications of printing check stock, tracking down the approver, stuffing, addressing & stamping, mailing, and waiting for the checks to clear so you can reconcile them.
With AP automation, an invoice for payment enters the system, routes to the first approver and continues the workflow from there. Only those authorized to access the system and workflow can do so as designated by your permissions. Each transaction, question and comment are preserved automatically. Payment is made online via ACH, credit card and more, so that paper—and its complications—are eliminated from the process. Reviewers can also access AP automation and documentation through a mobile device. If they’re out of the office, it only takes a few taps to get what they need to review an invoice. Overall, a cloud-based process such as this will be much more efficient and productive for your company.
Tomorrow, watch out for Part 2!
Can’t wait to streamline your processes and amplify productivity?