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Getting back to work: automation becomes a priority

Getting back to work: automation becomes a priority

Rachel King

As we write, the lockdown due to the coronavirus is being lifted in the UK, around Europe and in many other countries across the world.

Workers are returning to their offices and other work locations, and social distancing measures are in place meaning that many of the familiar ways of working will have changed.

In this blog, we explore why, in this new reality, office automation – and in particular, automation of manual, paper-based document processes - is going to be even more important than ever before.

The ‘new’ landscape

COVID-19 has impacted on businesses and organisations across all sectors in a multitude of different ways.

As employees have been furloughed, the ‘back to work burden’ may be felt by those that are either back to work or have been working throughout the lockdown.

While teams await the welcome return of colleagues, it is a good opportunity to review how certain processes that depend on manual document management are impacted by a lack of manpower.

Impact of COVID-19 on manual document processes

Because manual, paper-based processes are time intensive, jobs such as sales order processing, invoicing, collections, expense management and supplier invoice processing can take longer to complete when team members are not around due to lockdown or furlough.

While teams have been working from home or across multiple distributed locations, many paper documents have still been sent to central or head office locations, requiring them to be collected and then re-distributed by post to individuals who are responsible for processing them.

Clearly this slows down paper document processes even further, with potentially critical knock-on impacts to other areas of business such as cashflow.

COVID-19 and cashflow

With cashflow for many organisations under intense pressure as a result of the lockdown, processes such as cash collection and invoicing have become much more important.

Many fundamentally viable businesses can go to the wall simply because they run out of cash, and this has been the case during the first half of 2020.

More specifically, failure to collect payments on time is seen as a significant contributor to  business insolvency as this survey found.

Document process automation is a priority

Prioritising the automation of document management processes that until now have been paper-based is a very good way to relieve pressure on under-staffed and distributed accounts teams and, specifically, to help improve cashflow.

By transforming manual, paper-based functions such as sales order processing, invoicing, collections, and supplier invoice processing into streamlined, online, automated processes, organisations can speed up these processes, reduce the costs associated with postage and stationery and improve their cashflow situation.

It means also that employees responsible for these jobs can do their work remotely, and no longer need to go to a physical office to search for and retrieve documents such as invoices, purchase orders and statements from a central file.

Why automation should now be part of your organization’s strategy

Of course, document management automation should not be a priority just because of the challenges thrown up by the COVID crisis.

Implementing document management solutions should be part of every organization’s digital transformation strategy.

The benefits in terms of reduced costs, faster and more efficient processes have been outlined above, but as we head into the future, its clear that retaining customers by offering excellent customer service is also going to be much more important.

In fact, automated document management also enables the speedy resolution of payment disputes and queries, in turn having the dual benefit of faster cash collection and improved customer service.

While it is certainly true that document process efficiency via automation should be the goal of every organization, it’s also clear that engendering customer loyalty and retention through superior, faster, more seamless, and efficient customer service processes is going to be a major competitive differentiator.

To summarise, document automation promises time-saving, case saving, efficiency improving, and cashflow enhancing benefits for every organization that chooses to implement it.

In today’s ‘new world’, document automation is also a powerful enabler for distributed teams who need to, or choose to work remotely, offering a significant boost to customer service operations as well as everything else.

At Equisys, we are one of the leading providers of cloud-based document management and automation solutions. Our renowned Zetadocs suite of software replaces paper-based processes such as invoicing, collections, purchasing, travel expenses, project management, and fax.

Find out more about the time-saving benefits of our solutions here, or visit our website to discover more.

Our cloud-based document management systems have proven invaluable for many businesses that have had to resort to complete remote working during the COVID-19 crisis.

The document management capabilities of Zetadocs can offer your business benefits for the future where documents are stored electronically for easy and fast retrieval, enabling employees across the organization to collaborate productively and securely wherever they are.

Contact our team of experts today to start your journey to improved document efficiency.

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