Automated workflows are a great way to save money and time by reducing both manual, repetitive tasks and the number of errors in these tasks.
Why is this necessary?
It’s no secret that the world is changing, and fast. And it’s not just because of technology. The way we do business has changed dramatically in recent years, as well.
Every business uses workflows. These are the sequences that are employed to organise everyday tasks in order to ensure that a particular objective is achieved. They might be in the form of a checklist or a to-do list or a series of jobs that take place one after the other. They are frequently used for the more routine or repetitive processes that take place every day in the business, such as accounting.
But it is not just about using workflows. It is about automating them.
This is where the benefits lie. It enables more tasks to be completed in a shorter amount of time, which has many advantages for productivity and efficiency.
In this guide, we’ll look at what automated workflows are, the benefits they offer in an organisation and how to implement them using trusted systems such as SunSystems and NetSuite.
What is an automated workflow?
An automated workflow is, as the name suggests, is a series of tasks that are automatically completed in sequence.
Unlike traditional workflows, they are not done manually by people but are completed by software systems.
The system takes care of all the preparation, setup and completion of each task in the workflow based on pre-set instructions and configurations. These can be administrative functions, manual steps or any other tasks that are repetitive in nature.
For example, automated workflow may be used to streamline an invoice or supplier approval process to speed it up and provide the opportunity for more analysis of the way in which certain accounting decisions are being made.
Benefits of Using Automated Workflows
Below are the benefits of using automated workflows:
1. Streamlining processes
Manual workflows may involve a lot of paper being passed from one person to another. If they are electronic then they could result in high volumes of email traffic. Not only is this wasteful and inefficient but it will also affect the way staff involved handle other parts of their roles too.
Automated workflows reduce the back and forth and help to improve the performance of processes by streamlining them. Using NetSuite or SunSystems for instance, this might be an opportunity to have suppliers e-sign contracts that are then archived in the system, or set up automatic payment schedules.
2. Introducing new efficiencies
Manual workflows often have issues with accountability – who is responsible for which stage and where information should be deposited so that it is accessible by all who need it.
Automated workflows remove uncertainty and ensure that anyone who has the right access can see the information required. This means that no one is left out of the loop and everyone at every level in an organisation has access to information they need when they need it.
3. Empowering employees in their work
Where the right processes have been set up, employees understand what is expected of them and are much better equipped to be proactive when it comes to completing tasks and taking the next steps.
Automated workflows provide clarity and give employees the tools to be proactive in what they are required to do. The time and effort needed to process information is much reduced so staff can focus on delivering the best possible customer service.
4. Improve the speed of processing
Manual workflows can be incredibly slow and the impact on the business may be significant.
Automating many of the most essential workflows provides the opportunity to speed up everyday processes and improve the productivity and performance of the business overall.
When processes are sped up, staff can focus more on delivering what matters to customers rather than having to spend so much time carrying out routine tasks.
5. Reducing the potential for error
Automated workflows don’t rely on human actions to complete them and so are much less subject to mistakes and errors than manual workflows are.
Many organisations who make the switch to automated workflows are often surprised to see just how much more accurate and error-free results are than when reliant on manual processes.
The drastic reduction in error packs a huge punch for the business – not only is there less wasted time and effort as a result of mistakes but productivity, revenue and customer satisfaction are also improved.
6. Improvements in consistency
While a manual process may be dependent on a range of different variable factors, automated workflows deliver the same results every time.
Consistency is considerably improved with automated workflows, which makes processes and systems much more reliable, every time. On a wider scale, this leads to a much more reliable company overall, which in turn gives stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, and investors confidence when doing business with you.
7. Improve security and compliance
By overseeing both the operational and access elements of workflows, automated systems can improve compliance and security across all areas of the business.
With automation in place, security is much improved when it comes to processing information and managing sensitive data that needs to be routed through the right channels.
There is also less reliance on individual staff members knowing where information should be stored and how to handle it – instead, there are clear instructions on what to do and when, which helps take the pressure off everyone.
All of the above add up to savings in costs, time and efficiency that translate into tangible results for any business.
The financial systems we implement (SunSystems and NetSuite) are powerful accounting and ERP software that enables the automation of key financial and business workflows to improve the performance of your organisation.
Get in touch with FinanSys today to find out more about the exclusive benefits that our automated workflow solutions could bring to your business.