5 Keys to Successfully Grow a Business
Going Digital to Go Big and the Role of Accounts Payable Software
By this point, most of us have felt the financial crunch of pandemic in some way--At Fidesic AP, there are free and affordable options for AP Automation to help businesses ease the crunch during these times. But some businesses face a different challenge. This post is for businesses who have seen Zoom-like (or Zoom-like-ish) growth in demand for their product or service. If you are growing your business through the pandemic, the 2020 Zoom story might be on your radar already*.
And while it’s true that Zoom’s growth numbers weren’t as glamorous as they initially seemed to be in April of 2020, Zoom did have to invest major talent and resources to keep up with the growth it did have. According to an Entrepreneur.Com article, Zoom rapidly grew its server capacity and its customer service capacity in early last year.
Many businesses trying to seize the moment and dominate their market, are adjusting to meet growing demand. With IT teams working round-the-clock to meet growth requirements, growing an accounting department might not be on the top of the spend list for a lot of businesses. But accounts payable automation is a key resource for meeting the requirements of a growth strategy without expanding accounting overhead. Implementing new or upgrading lightweight entry-level AP solutions should be seriously considered by any growing company.
5 Keys to Successfully Grow a Business and the Role of AP Automation
If you search the web to find tips for growing your business during pandemic you will come across these 5 tips multiple times. So let’s look at these common tips and how AP automation can help you achieve these so you grow without having to grow your accounts payable department.
1. Streamline and Improve Productivity
While this might be mostly geared toward delivering products or services, unpaid invoices can mean vendors don’t deliver and this can slow down your front-end or plant operations. What’s more, accounts payable has been a notorious source of bottlenecks in the accounting process. Manual processes like rekeying invoice data into multiple systems, hunting down approval signatures and stuffing envelopes are the classic culprit behind this accounting bottleneck. Even with some level of automation, many businesses struggle with outdated software or are outgrowing entry-level systems that frequently hold up the entire accounting department. Investing in a best-in-class, cloud-based automation software can significantly reduce the time it takes to process an invoice. Learn more about improving AP efficiency.
2. Reduce Operational Costs
The idea of paying a monthly fee for new cloud-based accounts payable automation might seem like it would increase operational costs. However, the efficiency gains mentioned above translate to major cost savings. With the right solution in place and deep automation, AP software can reduce the cost of processing an invoice by 80%. Learn more in this breakdown of the cost of invoice processing.
3. Leverage Your Data
Buzzwords like “Big Data” are often used to oversell, especially to SMBs who aren’t in the position to hire a staff of data scientists. But data is critical to planning and innovation across departments, even for businesses who don’t need big data at the moment. You never know what the future holds. Maybe you need to get your books in order as you prepare to sell your business. Maybe you are going public and expect deeper and more regular audits of your financials. Or maybe you just want to get more insight so you can better seize the moment and go big in 2021, AP automation is a key part of your accounting data. It’s never too early to have a powerful analytical and reporting solution in place. The right AP software should integrate directly into your enterprise resource planning and accounting solution to help deliver holistic data insights.
4. Strategic Accounting
Accounting is no-longer just seen as a back-office function and has become a critical part of strategic planning, according Chron and many other experts. We discussed the power of data already so admittedly, this is really more like number 3.5 on this list, but strategic accounting goes beyond reporting and forecasting. “Strategic planning is developing and defining a big picture strategy for how your business is going to succeed. Both internal and external factors are analyzed as well as how all factors are going to work together,” said Chron. They say strategic planning starts with three questions (Where is my business now? Where do I want it to be? And how am I going to get there?) To get full answers to these questions, AP tracking is going to play an important role.
5. Be More Flexible
Maybe you are a fast-food franchisor and you’re seizing a drive-thru boom due to dine-in closures and you’re adding locations. Maybe you are a managed service provider who suddenly has to expand your support and sales departments. Investing in scalable, flexible technology now is going to be really important for you to expand to meet demand, switch gears into new markets and even contract when the seasons change. This is true in all back-office, production and customer-facing processes. AP software, especially one that supports multi-entity accounting, is key to keeping your accounting department adaptable to change. Simplified user-subscriptions, cloud accessibility and decentralized accounting capabilities make the right AP software extremely scalable and adaptable.
Conclusion: Go Digital to Go Big
Keeping up with accounting might be doable early on, but if a business wants to grow effectively, they have to invest in some tech to digitize back office processes. The tips listed above are pretty common around the internet and what they are all pointing to (even if they don’t say it directly) is that digitalization is critical to growing a business. Even if you are growing your business during pandemic, 3 big ideas are mentioned in every tip article about meeting rapid growth--keeping up with new demand, keeping overhead low and focusing on innovation to seize new opportunities. Digitalization is one of the ways you do these three things.
*Zoom’s foible last year of mistakenly saying it’s user base grew from 10 million users in December to 300 million in April, caused a bit of a stirrup. However, from February to March last year, Zoom’s overhead did double according to TheVerge.
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