27 August 2019

Working your business’ core

Submitted by Bronwen Dowman

By Colin Timmis, General Country Manager, Xero SA and professional accountant

Think of your business like a human body, because in many respects it is: there are systems that need to work together for it to accomplish what it needs to on a daily basis – and these systems need to be maintained.

The core is one of the most important systems of all. It stabilises the body, allows you to build strength in other areas, and crucially, ensures you have the right balance. When it comes to your business, you need to give serious consideration to its core systems – and your financial systems are easily your most important. You need robust financial management, a solid business plan, and a clear strategy for future growth, among other things. Focus on this and your company will become stronger; neglect it and it will become weaker.

Fortunately, strengthening your business’ core is easier than you might think. In the new digital world of work, you can build solid foundations by using relevant technologies. Here are some of the most important tools:

Automation and AI can replace time-intensive tasks

AI isn’t just a fixture of sci-fi anymore: it’s come a long way in recent years, and it’s already making a difference in the modern workplace. Today we have computers which are capable of analysing data and reaching conclusions without the need for human involvement.

Automation can take care of administrative tasks like accounts payable – making it much easier for small business owners to complete time-intensive manual tasks. This can make businesses far more productive. And far from rendering human employees redundant (a more common fear than you might think), it stands to make them more effective by reducing their admin and increasing time spent on commercially or operationally important tasks.

Use the cloud for a bird’s-eye view of your business

Another way to strengthen your business is to use cloud computing. With a centralised information database system, you can access your IT infrastructure through your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or any other internet-enabled device. The cloud lets you improve efficiency and reduce costs: benefits that you simply can’t ignore.

Chances are you’re using it already. Gmail and Dropbox would be typical examples of cloud technology: they can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, from a variety of devices, opening up access to your messages and your files as long as you have an internet connection (or simply work ‘offline’ if your internet is down). With some software tools, you can reconcile receipts with bank statements in minutes – from anywhere in the world. This means tasks that used to take hours can be done almost instantly. Accountants and business owners can also benefit from greater collaboration, remote access to data, enhanced responsiveness, and better cash flow management.

Connect with a good app integrator to boost business productivity

There are some great app integrators out there who serve as experts in recommending and setting up the right add-on apps for individual businesses, depending on their unique needs.

It’s easy for application data to become siloed, which forces businesses to miss out on the productivity gains of technology. App integrators can help you bring these gains back in a big way, ensuring that your IT infrastructure can be configured to share information easily. They also advise on which processes can be automated and streamlined across the entire IT ecosystem. With consulting support froma qualified app integrator you can benefit from the best-in-class apps for specific jobs and processes – making it easier to automatically synchronise data across tools and save time, effort, and frustration.

In 2019, you can’t really afford to ignore new technologies any longer. They’re often the difference between a weak core and a strong one.