5 Steps toward a more efficient, profitable year in 2017

5 Steps toward a more efficient, profitable year in 2017

Organizations are likely taking a look back at their performances in 2016 and evaluating which areas of the business are in need of improvement. Every year should be more profitable than the last, and this is possible with the right planning. Strategies will tend to dictate how well a given entity performs by way of efficiency, productivity, revenues and profit margins, and this goes for all industries throughout the public and private sectors. With the right attention to detail when forecasting and planning out the strategies for the new year, including goals and action points, 2017 can be a more fruitful year, especially with the American economy remaining in good form going into December. 

Let's take a look at five steps all companies should take - if they have not already - to ensure that their operations, systems, workforce members and assets are positioned for success in the new year. 

"Paper-based transaction management can be wasteful."

1. Automate transaction management
Many organizations still rely on paper-based transaction management strategies. This can lead to a lot of waste, especially in terms of workforce productivity, as the era of automation has continued to intensify. If accounts payable and receivable departments are fishing through countless files in cabinets, there is simply no way that they are operating as efficiently as possible. What's more, this can be a nightmare from an invoice processing perspective, and when trying to close out the year's finances and taxes. Transaction management is one of those areas that can be stuck in the past, but one that desperately needs a makeover for the betterment of the average organization. 

Optimize transactions through automation software to ensure these issues do not continue in 2017. 

2. Bolster record management performance
Even if an organization has gone paperless, or will do so soon, this does not mean records management is being handled perfectly. Rather, there are several key metrics that will indicate the company needs to take a new approach to its document management strategies, including the following:

  • Too much friction when users are trying to search and capture documents. 
  • An inability to monitor activity across all systems and users.
  • A lack of intelligence tools that transform data into valuable insights.
  • No automation within storage, organization and access frameworks. 
  • Longer than necessary document approval times. 

All of these issues and many more can be overcome when organizations are using the right solutions, as well as consistently monitoring how their policies are playing out. Information is arguably the most critical resource a business has today, meaning that investing the time, budget and effort necessary to perfect document management is a smart move. 

3. Improve document security
One data breach can devastate any company, and these events tend to be especially dangerous and expensive for small and medium-sized businesses. Unfortunately, they have been rising in frequency across most of the public and private sectors throughout the past several years. Identity Theft Resource Center has already counted 901 data breaches in the United States this year, as well as more than 34 million exposed records. Businesses and health care providers remain at the highest risk, accounting for more than two-thirds of recorded breaches so far in 2016. 

At the same time, IBM estimates the average cost of a data breach to be $4 million today, which is higher than the $3.8 million recorded in 2015, and far more than many businesses could afford to overcome. Do not allow data or systems to be compromised by hackers and other threats - use the right security and management solutions to keep information safely out of harm's reach in 2017. 

Document security must be prioritized in 2017.Document security must be prioritized in 2017.

4. Integrate disparate systems
Most organizations rely upon a range of systems to function on a daily basis. This includes everything from accounting software and enterprise networks to enterprise resource planning and document management solutions. When these systems are not properly integrated, several issues can begin to appear. For example, Informatica reported that bad integration will tend to translate to poor data quality, which in turn makes it more difficult to properly manage the entirety of operations and best-serve customers. In fact, the news provider cited a finding from Ovum Research that revealed companies lose about 30 percent of their revenues to poor data quality when it becomes a problem. 

Better integration, both among systems and with the management solutions in place, can dramatically improve data quality, better positioning the company for a successful new year. Because integration is often a highly technical and complex endeavor, and many organizations will not have the skills necessary to handle the tasks involved in-house, service providers can be powerful allies in these pursuits. 

5. Leverage electronic workflow solutions
Digital workflow is one of the centerpieces of the paperless economy, as well as one of the more powerful elements of a modern workplace. Rather than relying upon dated systems and policies to ensure that workflow is moving seamlessly and quickly across the business, electronic tools can be used to reduce the amount of time it takes to best manage all of the moving parts involved. What's more, electronic workflows can also cut down on error rates, communication breakdowns, lapses in productivity and many other risks of note.

CPA Practical Advisor explained that electronic workflow deployments can be especially powerful in the accounting department when they are used to handle audits, expense reports, recordkeeping, invoicing, AP/AR and other relevant tasks. Boosting the efficiency of accounting while simultaneously reducing the rate of human error can have benefits that transcend that particular department as well. 

For these steps and more to be truly valuable in the new year, business leaders must handle their various demands and requirements properly. Managed service providers have become far more popular of late, and this trend is largely driven by the ability of these entities to step in and handle major changes more efficiently than a company could on its own. Be sure to partner with the right service provider in 2017. 

To learn how PaperSave can help your business capture, integrate and automate your business processes, feel free to watch our personalized demonstration or visit our case studies page to read about our clients' success stories.