Not long ago, running a successful business was a variable of hiring the right people. As far as you had the right people working in the right positions, your operations would equal clockwork. That started changing as a reality when businesses started seeing the need for comprehensive software solutions to make processes efficient.
There is a limit to hiring the best talent. The best talent in any industry is limited and usually comes at a high price. Allocating the right degree of capital is a more risk-averse move because, with the right software platform, you will have repeatable processes of efficiency. So, instead of having one rockstar running your sales, you might have ten salespeople who can now work as well as a rockstar.
Deciding that you want to have office automation software in place is just one part of the equation. The other part comes when you decide what do you want. Should you go for an accessible cloud application that is delivered with SaaS? Or, should you hire vendors to come and develop the system at your premises?
These are fundamental questions. And answering them would require a greater focus on the right framework to assess each work management software. Here are some key parameters you can consider, when evaluating a comprehensive software solution to automate business processes:
Degree and Effectiveness of Automation
Software, in its simplest form, is a set of programmed rules that help a computer execute certain tasks with greater efficiency. Hence, when it comes to office automation software, the limelight is on the term ‘automation.’
Getting the sales figures projected and prompted on your screen may sound cool, but it’s very preliminary. You can have a basic multilinear regression function to do that for you. You want the office software to have a good number of reliable automated processes.
Generally, process automation includes Reporting and Updates as the basic tenets. A traditional reporting software would perform well on the reporting front, but automating the reports wouldn’t be equally easy. An effective office management system should have seamless communication that is aided by automatic notifications about the beginning, development, execution, and closure of every business process.
- Automated reporting– takes the everyday reporting procedures and automates the parts that are repeatable and can be coded as rules. For instance, – accounting firms are often analyzing into quarterly reports or pushing out due diligence reports. A high proportion of this analysis is rule and formulae-based. Hence, the accountants can save a ton of time if the basic work is already done with the automated results reported and sent across the relevant team members. Then, the responsible team can begin with these basic results and add their industry expertise to provide value.
- In order to make it more user-friendly, the ideal platform should also carry auto follow-up functionalities. Such features generally include automatic notifications on every update and follow-up reminders on clogged or inactive processes.
Painters, writers, and artists often produce their best work when they are away from it. The comfort of their home or shower lets them think without inhibitions. Do you think accountants have that kind of privilege? Not exactly.
Most accounting teams have to deal with heaps of paperwork. While some people may argue that this helps make the information more digestible, the data hence generated is definitely not accessible all the time. This is why it is important to decide what kind of platform you will run.
- Web Application: A web app is generally hosted as a cloud application that is accessible to everyone who has login credentials. This way, even the accountants and auditors working from home can easily access and amend their work, as far as they have a laptop and working WiFi.
- Mobile Application: Some accounting firms don’t see the value of having a mobile app make the work data accessible. They forget that many employees are traveling long distances between home and work. It would be very tough to have a laptop to pass an edit. A mobile app with the right data integration can save the day in such cases.
Hence, make sure your work management software is hosted on the cloud and is accessible across devices.
Security and Privacy.
As an accounting firm, your clients have entrusted you with confidential data about their business. This set of data contains the impact of all proprietary procedures. While most accounting firms make sure that they have watertight NDAs in place to stop young associates from unwillingly leak any information, they don’t pay the same attention to their enterprise software systems.
If your platform is available on the cloud, the first rule of security and data privacy that should easily satisfy is data management. With each update, the data still has to be available. At the same time, data security is also imperative. End-to-end encryption, security licenses, and added device-level security might help you fulfill these requirements.
In Conclusion :
Having the right enterprise technology in place is much more than having just the most cost-effective alternative. You are changing the work processes, and that will have an impact on the work culture as well. Hence, carefully evaluate each criterion and select the alternative that suits you.