Dinah McNav, the ERP Agony Aunt, answers the problems and pressures faced by businesses everywhere. This letter comes from a member of a finance team who’s concerned about the impact that her paper-heavy workload is having on both her own efficiency and the environment.
I wonder if you can help me, I have a big dilemma at work.
I work within a small finance team of a professional services agency and one of my tasks is processing all invoices and employee expenses. The majority of what I do is paper-based and it takes quite a bit of time to gather the information and input to the system. The amount of paper we use is incredible and bordering on being an environmental concern.
The business has seen quite considerable growth in the last 18 months and we have expanded across the country, opening 5 new offices. However, we still centrally manage our finances at this office so my workload has increased with more expenses and more invoices to process. Because of this, we’ve seen a massive increase in the amount of paper that’s used and the time it takes to complete tasks.
The business has always used a rickety old accounting system, Exchequer, which was fine when we only had 1 office and 10 staff, but now we have a lot more offices and even more staff it doesn’t have the scalability and flexibility I need to get my job done fast. On top of this, my desk now looks like a recycling plant with mountains of paperwork piled up for processing.
Because our business management system is lacking in functionality, my team and I are spending far too much time manually entering data into the system, chasing up and matching invoices, and searching payment history against previous orders. All of the extra time I’m spending on these tasks is having a serious impact on the other work I have to do.
I want to tell my Director but I don’t want him to think that I can’t do my job. There has to be something I can do to reduce both the time and paper that’s being needlessly wasted.
What do you suggest?
Ms Bea Green
Firstly, if you have a reasonable Director it’s unlikely that they think you can’t do your job. In fact, most business owners will want to be made aware sooner rather than later about anything that could improve productivity.
Lots of businesses face challenges when they expand, not least of which is managing more processes and the increased paperwork this produces. If you are using what’s classed as an entry-level accounts system you are always going to have these issues and, unfortunately, your job is only going to become more challenging.
I would suggest that you recommend to your Director a shift from Exchequer to an ERP solution like Microsoft Dynamics NAV. This will help to automate and streamline more of your workflow processes, allowing you to increase productivity and reduce costs. Moving to NAV also has the additional benefit of flexibly adapting to specific industries, such as your own professional services sector.
NAV is also able to integrate with value-added solutions that can help to automate processes such as accounts payable (AP) management. Having an AP system integrated with NAV ERP will significantly reduce long hours of data entry and searching for missing documents. Because of this integration and automation, you’ll heavily reduce the amount of paper that’s being used, which is good news for both you and the business. You’ll find that the time it takes to process transactions will speed up, which should mean that you can send out invoices faster and get paid quicker.
On top of all of this, you can also feel good about the fact that you are doing something good for the environment. It’s a win-win situation.
Hope that helps
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