The Key to Automation Success: Take it Slow to Grow Fast
During a financial-services session conference, a CFO at a firm with multiple entities discussed their journey in building a financial tech stack. The firm spent months analyzing its business processes before implementing automation efforts to ensure it got it right the first time.
The CFO’s summary was, “We went slow to go fast,” emphasizing the importance of taking time to analyze and streamline processes before automating. A Winston Churchill biography, which the author read during his flights to the conference, provided a similar idea: “The longer one looks back, the further ahead one can see.”
The author stresses that taking a methodical and phased-in approach to automation is more advantageous than hastily automating a flawed process.
He suggests starting with automation in accounts payable, billing, payroll, and tax compliance and finding ways to streamline processes to ensure successful automation. For this, using reliable, cloud-based construction accounting software can prove to be helpful.
1. Billing Automation
An automated billing system can invoice customers with little to no manual intervention, making it an ideal solution for businesses that utilize a subscription or retainer model.
Customizable pricing models and billing templates can be set up to match your business needs, allowing for faster billing, decreased days of sales outstanding, and increased cash flow to grow your business.
By managing revenue and financials from a single source – the contract -, you can streamline your billing process and automatically recognize revenue throughout the customer lifecycle.
Any contract changes, such as renewals or upsells, will drive automatic updates to revenue recognition, billing, and financials for improved efficiency and accuracy.
Automated billing systems work by invoicing customers, accepting payments, or automatically charging customers with on-file payment methods.
Construction companies can benefit from identifying recurring charges to customers and clients and automating them to cut costs and improve cash flow.
Implementing an automated billing system can help save time, reduce errors, and eliminate confusion, allowing businesses to focus on growing their operations.’
2. Accounts Payable Automation
Construction accounting departments often prioritize automating their accounts payable process as it can be time-consuming and lacks automation.
With contractor billing software, you can keep track of the AP process without any hassle and stay ahead of your competitors.
The AP process typically involves receiving a purchase order from the purchasing department, an invoice from the vendor, matching and validating the PO to the invoice, and paying the vendor.
Depending on the organization, a two-way match or three-way match may be used to check the receipt of the goods.
However, this process has challenges such as exception management, missing documents, matching errors, double payments, delayed payments, unnecessary or unauthorized purchases, theft, and fraud.
3. Payroll Automation
Automating payroll can significantly reduce the amount of manual work required in the payroll process. This includes calculating wages, integrating payroll with time and attendance, paying employees, generating payroll reports, withholding taxes and deductions, and accessing necessary tax forms.
For instance, automating the synchronization of employee records, hierarchies, and changes to employee information or status can save time and effort.
Additionally, automating the setup or updating of hierarchies, approval workflows, expenses, timesheets, journal entries, and purchasing can allow for accurate mapping to the general ledger.
In conclusion, taking a slow and steady approach to automation is crucial for success in the long run. Rushing into automating processes without proper planning and preparation can lead to errors and setbacks.
By mapping out strategies, identifying pain points, and selecting the right technology, organizations can ensure that accounting software for contractors is implemented smoothly and effectively.
Furthermore, ensuring employees are trained and engaged in automation can lead to greater buy-in and support.
While it may take time to see the benefits of automation, the long-term advantages, including increased efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings, are worth the investment.
Ultimately, taking it slow to grow fast is a smart strategy that can lead to sustainable and successful automation outcomes.