Last Updated on 6th February 2021

Want to get more work done in less time? Embracing automation could be the solution.

Automation involves programming machines or software to automatically carry out tasks. This can prevent you from having to manually carry out these tasks, saving you a lot of time.

There are other benefits to automation too. By using computers to handle tasks, you can ensure that they’re carried out with the utmost accuracy. Automation can also be useful for handling those small tasks that you might otherwise forget such as following up emails.

Many modern businesses use automation. Below are just some of the multiple ways in which you can use automation within your business.

Finances

Running a business requires a lot of financial management. Fortunately, many of these financial management tasks can be automated using software. By automating your business finances, you can spend less time counting up figures. Automation may even help to reduce mispayments and miscalculations as a result of human error.

Below are some of the financial tasks that your business could consider automating: 

Bookkeeping

Every business needs to keep clear records of its earnings. This is important for calculating tax and expenses.

This is a process that can benefit a lot from automation. Modern accounting programs can calculate all your tax and expenses for you so that you don’t have to do any manual number crunching. By using software, you’re also less likely to make any accounting errors. 

Billing and invoices

Billing clients is essential if you want to get paid for your work. For many businesses, this can also be a time-consuming process.

Fortunately, there are programs and apps that can similarly automate this process. By choosing the best invoice app, you can automatically bill clients as soon as your work is done and even send automatic reminders if customers haven’t paid by a certain date. This is certain to make billing and chasing up less of a chore. 

Paying staff

If you’re an employer, paying staff on time could be a priority. This can be a challenging task to do manually – especially if you’ve got lots of employees working irregular hours on different hourly wages. You’ve also got to be able to keep track of absence and holiday.

Payroll software could be a way of automating all of this. Such software can pay all your staff for you, while also keeping track of employee benefits such as sick pay or bonuses.

Paying suppliers

Your suppliers also need to be paid on time. Fail to pay them on time and you could get into costly arrears.

This is a process that can similarly be automated. Supply chain software can be used to keep track of all your suppliers and handle payments when necessary. 

Employee management

If you’re an employer, you could find that you spend a lot of time organizing employee matters. It’s possible that you may be able to automate various tasks within this area of your business. A few examples include:

Recruitment

The recruitment process needs to be done methodically and professionally if you want to increase your chances of finding and hiring the best applicants. This can take up a lot of time that business owners don’t always have. 

Automation may be able to help make the recruitment process easier. There is software out there that can screen resumes for you. There is also software that can send out automated replies – including interview requests and follow-ups. This could reduce the workload considerably when dealing with lots of applicants. 

Work scheduling

Scheduling work out to employees can be a time-consuming job. This could include coming up with weekly shift rotas or distributing clients and projects among your employees.

Fortunately, there is software out there that can automate this process for you. This could include rota building software or project distribution software.

Work monitoring

Many employers like to be able to monitor the work of their individual employees. However, this too can take up valuable time. 

For some jobs, it could be possible to use software to automate this process. Such software may be able to send you alerts whenever an employee has completed a project. You could even consider software that sends you an alert when an employee has been idle for five or ten minutes. 

Marketing

Marketing is necessary for attracting customers. While marketing can typically be a very creative and experimental process, there are still many routine marketing tasks that can be automated. Below are just a few ways to use automation within your marketing.

Email/SMS marketing

Emails and texts can be used to nurture leads and generate return customers. By using automation, you may be able to make this form of marketing easier.

When it comes to communicating with mailing lists, there are programs that can allow you to send emails and texts in bulk. These programs can also be used to set up individual automated emails – these could include birthday discounts, appointment reminders and confirmation messages. While not all emails and texts can be automated, the majority of routine everyday messages can be taken care of with software.

Advertising campaigns

Automation can be used in many forms of advertising campaigns. The likes of Google Ads can be automatically set up to rerun with the same parameters.

You can even go further than this by using scripts. These may allow you to return advertising campaigns with slightly different parameters based on the results of each campaign – this could reduce a lot of time spent setting up ad campaigns. 

Social media

Social media relies heavily on being inventive, however there are still ways in which you may be able to automate certain social media posts. 

Blog posts and videos can be automatically shared to social media the moment you publish them by using automation tools. It’s also possible to schedule social media posts and automatically repost content after a certain amount of time (for instance, you may want to repost a promotion on social media every other month to remind followers that it’s still on). 

General organizing

There are many organizational tasks within business that can also be automated. This could be useful for keeping your business running smoothly. A few examples of general organizing tasks that can be automated include:

Task reminders

Need to remind yourself of a meeting at a certain time? Or need to remind yourself to reply to an email? 

Automated task reminders could be the solution. These could stop you from forgetting vital tasks – your smartphone is likely to have this feature in its diary/calendar settings. 

Phone call handling

You may even be able to answer phone calls using an automated receptionist. Using a recorded or digital voice, it’s possible to set up a phone menu that then directs callers to the right department. This could save you from having to transfer calls manually. Automated queue systems can also be set up.

You won’t be able to handle entire calls using software. However, for initially connecting callers with the right person, automated receptionists can be useful.

Ordering stock

Ordering stock is another task that can be automated. Stock keeping software can be used to monitor inventory levels and place new orders when a certain product or item is running low. This could prevent you from ever running out of stock again. It could be particularly useful for retail and ecommerce companies that may ordinarily spend a lot of time ordering stock manually. 

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