The term “workflow” has become a buzzword in the workplace, and has come to mean different things to different people. The challenge is that most businesses have very real workflow problems, and often they aren’t even aware that there’s an issue.
Improving workflows could be as simple as streamlining approval for expense reports and as complex as finding ways to optimize an assembly line manufacturing process. To illustrate how an inefficient workflow can negatively impact a business, let’s use an example that most businesses can relate to: accounts payable.
Let’s assume that you have a business with three separate locations. Currently, your CFO processes accounts payable manually from the company’s main location. Because there is a lot of paperwork involved in processing accounts payable (invoices, delivery receipts, etc), your CFO spends a good portion of his day dealing with this–time that he could be spending improving business strategy and the company’s bottom line.
With the current structure, in order to process invoices, all invoices must be scanned and emailed to the finance department. The finance department then prints the invoice and manually fills out the rest of the information. The invoice is then re-scanned for record keeping, and the payment is submitted to the vendor. The challenge with this process is that it’s slow, drains productivity, and creates the opportunity for error.
By optimizing how accounts payable handles invoice processing, a lot of wasteful time-consuming steps could be eliminated. An improved way to process invoices would include an employee scanning the invoice directly to the accounts payable workflow system so that it can be automatically processed. If finance needs to be involved for approval, the department will be notified. Payment is sent to the vendor, and a record of the payment is automatically reflected in the accounting system. This optimized workflow is much smoother and eliminates the need for manual entry. Invoices are processed faster, and records are automatically uploaded to the accounting system.
This is a classic example of how a repetitive process like invoice processing can be optimized (or even automated) to minimize errors and increase productivity. Please contact us to learn more about how you can optimize workflows in your office to reduce busywork, increase productivity, and improve employee morale.