Manual processes may have worked for you in the past, but you’re leaving money on the table by not automating.
If you’re still composing handwritten invoices or personally inputting each sale into your records, you aren’t alone. A new study from Wakefield Research and Concur reported by Small Business Trends found that 84 percent of small businesses are still using some sort of manual process. There’s nothing inherently wrong with manually inputting data, but there are more automation options available now than ever before.
The survey found that 69 percent of small businesses were still utilizing spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel to track spending and budgets. Excel is still a flexible tool great for businesses just starting out, but more feature-packed options are available.
According to the study, 60 percent of businesses still utilize filing cabinets for storing important files. Sometimes, paper remains the best way to go, but if your business is hurting for space and can’t afford to add another filing cabinet to the mix, you could invest in a scanner and upload digital copies of all of your files to a computer or cloud service such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
Small business owners who don’t utilize automation may also be losing money. The study found that 42 percent of small businesses relying on paper trails had errors matching clients with invoices. That could come as the result of poor processes, a misfiled paper, or just an unfortunate slip from even the most seasoned owner. Automation and digitization tools can help minimize errors like these and also provide options like digitally searching for records.
The survey also found that 41 percent of businesses without automation were subject to late fees due to payments that were lost or misplaced. A good system can help reduce these instances, and automation can help reduce issues like these even further.