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June 2, 2022

Still managing operations on paper? You’re doing it wrong


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Tired of paperwork?

Scheduling projects accurately is critical for a smooth operation. Budgets are tight and a lot of time can be saved by tracking your work, especially where it concerns cost management. Documenting everything correctly is the key to staying on top of every task and budget.

Within any company’s documentation process, it’s common to discover that there are likely a few bottlenecks slowing it down. This is especially true for traditional businesses that are still managing all of their operations on paper. Some of the most common problems that these businesses have incorrect coding, not enough documentation, out-of-date systems, and tasks that require too much labor. 

If you’re managing all of your business’s operations on paper, then you risk wasting valuable time and resources, as well as having a limited overview of your operational spending. When everything is on paper, it will take longer to compile necessary data, it will be more difficult to find specific information quickly and you also might lose or forget about an important document because it gets lost in the mix. It’s even more difficult to incorporate a good filtering and documentation system because that too will take up a lot of valuable time that you and our employees might not have. 

But don’t get too alarmed! Every “only-paper” business goes through this and has had similar bottlenecks before they’ve gone digital. And although going digital may seem a little scary at first, we’ve made a list of some of the most important operational processes that you can start digitizing today! 

Go digital with these 4 tips!

Digitalize invoices 

Our first tip is to digitalize your invoices. That way, you will have shorter invoice cycles and save time and money. Digitalizing invoices can help your business to become more efficient. The automation of this process means that as your company grows, managing your invoices will be easier and less time-consuming. This is why more and more accounting firms are now switching to digital invoices. Not only are they cheaper, but they also produce other benefits like reduced administrative costs and higher client satisfaction. What’s more, is that automation can significantly help small- and medium-sized operations manage large document volumes because they don't need an in-house staff.

Digital invoices are also incredibly easy to track. Especially if you use AP management systems like OpenInvoice, you will be able to communicate with suppliers on a network-connected system. This means that you can track your orders in real-time and speed up payments while also keeping an eye on your supply chain at all times. This way you’ll shorten your invoice cycles and also create the possibility to negotiate discounts for purchasing earlier, which means that you save even more money.

Better manage company spending with automated price compliance  

For many energy businesses that are still managing their operations on paper, one of the most important aspects of their operations is reducing OPEX and optimizing CAPEX. One way to optimize these is by managing the digital price books. With it, you can support automation in your business and manage compliance with prices through better control. With digital price books, suppliers are encouraged to regularly update prices before they approve purchases. This way, there is less work required on your part and so it helps to save time. 

Automate invoice approval

Any type of automation, simplification, or alteration in workflow steps can be an effective way to speed up your operations management process. This is why automating invoice approval is especially important. Why you may ask? Well, in many cases there is one person who approves the field ticket and the invoice - meaning there is double the effort for one task. What happens then, is that people start to use less and less time to review invoices because they may be dealing with a large influx of low-value invoices that need to be approved.

Being able to automate invoice approval for these low-value invoices will save your employees a lot of time and encourage them to look more closely before approving high-value ones. An example to do this is having automatic approval for field tickets and invoices that have the same information. You’ll greatly reduce repetitive and manual work, improve invoice processing times and have your team pay more attention to analysis, forecasting, and budget control.

Time and GPS tracking tools will be your best friend

Workers often need to work away from the office or without close supervision. It can be hard to accurately track the location and time spent commuting to these job sites. That's where new technology comes in. Workers can now use their own devices or employer-provided devices to track the path they take during their shift, and this will guarantee that their routes and working hours are accurate.

Mobile devices can detect the location of work and use geofences to automatically capture details for your suppliers, clients, and internal tracking purposes. With an app like Atto, you can keep track of the hours you spend on routes and locations and use this data to make better forecasting, project planning, and cost estimations.

Now that you’ve learned about different ways how to improve your operations, you can look at your own company to try and figure out which bottlenecks you can digitalize for easier operation management. Once you start an audit, you'll start getting new ideas - and that’ll be fantastic! Make a list of potential improvements, and do a strategic analysis. Assess the impact of each initiative on your organization and how much time it would take to execute it. You don’t have to do everything at once, but rather see what makes sense to complete first.

In the end, what you get out of digitizing your operations is lower overhead, you prevent overbilling, better budgeting, and improved collaboration - and a thriving business that fits in the new digitalized world.

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