Intelligent SME.tech Issue 27 - Page 23

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// EDITOR ’ S QUESTION ?

SIMON KEARSLEY , CEO , BLUQUBE

A ny investment business owners can make now which will help ensure cash flow in the second six months of the year will very likely be seen as money well spent .

This includes the critical infrastructure of finance systems . They should be as frictionless and efficient as possible and help identify costly inefficiencies and if and where essential revenue may be going missing through crystal clear reporting . This visibility is key in enabling SMEs to make data-driven decisions and remain more agile in the face of economic downturn .
Automated software should always be assessed on its useability and its capacity to interoperate with other existing systems in the process chain . Just as the finance department never operates in silos , financial software needs to be able to integrate with the necessary programs and processes to be truly effective . When interacting with and leveraging data from other areas of the business , financial software can become a more powerful tool for performance insight and offer a more strategic overview , acting as a wider decision support mechanism .
SMEs should also consider whether they ’ re using the automation capabilities of their finance system to their full extent . By automating more time-consuming manual processes , for example , using OCR systems to eliminate the data entry usually required for purchase invoices arriving by email , organisations can move finance teams away from monotonous and error-prone tasks and on to more productive responsibilities .
A vital application of automation is to debt management systems . Rather than requiring staff members to physically spot and chase missing payments at a late stage , outstanding debts can be chased using automatic processes that generate emails and letters without employee intervention . This allows SMEs to boost efficiencies , reduce debt write-offs and crucially , receive payments faster . Similarly , automated bank reconciliation minimises instances of payments entering the wrong account , while bringing assurance that business-critical financial decisions will always be based on consistent and accurate information .
To help spread costs and protect cashflow , organisations that aren ’ t already using cloudbased software should consider making the switch . Cloud software eliminates the requirement for internal data storage and the need to buy and maintain hardware as it ’ s held remotely on external servers . Not only does this reduce the requirement for skilled IT employees to manually manage these processes and servers but , as cloud software is usually provided on a monthly subscription basis , organisations can cut unnecessary costs and retain vital revenue by only paying for the functionality that they need .
Combined , these considerations can improve efficiency , recoup lost or wasted revenue and drive-up productivity ; qualities we all value in commerce at any time . But in a recession , these can be make or break . �

SMES SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER WHETHER THEY ’ RE USING THE AUTOMATION CAPABILITIES OF THEIR FINANCE SYSTEM TO THEIR FULL EXTENT .
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