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What’s the bottom line on automation?

By CCIWA Editor 

When computers started becoming a household item in the 1990s, people were excited about the time they’d save and the prospect of a paperless office.  

Three decades later offices still have paper and many business owners and staff are still struggling with work-life balance and getting everything done in a working week. 

But business process automation can save time in your business as well as help you grow without putting on additional staff.  

It is often misunderstood to be an IT project, but it’s basically a way of streamlining your business for simplicity.  

It works with many aspects of business, ranging from a school automating how excursion permission slips are sent out and having an online payment option, to streamlining how invoices are handled, to changing the way you store data and information. 

It can cost a business $20 to $70 to process an accounts payable invoice and most of that is labour cost. Automation can significantly reduce the amount of labour time to put the invoice through your businesses’ processing systems.  

This enables managers and business owners to get an accurate picture of liabilities and cashflow much sooner, which then helps the business do things like take advantage of early planned discounts and manage cashflow better.  

Head of digital service with Compu-Stor Stephen Wellington, which was established in Perth in 1987, says the business process automation is essentially a fundamental shift in how the business looks and how it does business.  

“If someone receives an invoice by email and they have to remember to action it and then that action then causes three to four other actions so there’s all of those sorts of processes, Wellington explains 

Automation streamlines that process. It works for all types of businesses.  

For example, in the mining space a business could be receiving dozens of deliveries and it might be the distribution, receipt and processing of parts and equipment from suppliers. 

“It’s about being able to track that process. When all you’ve got is a delivery docket that’s handed over by a truck driver, relating that back to your supplier’s invoice to confirm everything has come in can be an incredibly laborious process and inaccurate.  

Automation can take out the labour and speed the process up, without human error.” 

Wellington said automation works for all document inbound processes, ranging from receiving supplier invoices or information, receiving CVs, or even school permission slips.  

In addition, it works for all document outbound processes like accounts payable invoices. It even works for compliance.  

“You might run a warehouse and your staff need their forklift certificates updates every year. That can be automated so four weeks before the renewal is due a reminder is sent out with the appropriate forms and information,” he says. 

When computers started becoming a household item in the 1990s, people were excited about the time they’d save and the prospect of a paperless office.  

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