Business administration can make the difference between success and failure for a small enterprise. The management process is all-encompassing, covering a vast range of core activities from overseeing an organization’s budgetary, commercial and financial activities to establishing and meeting business-wide goals, policies and procedures.
Administrative tasks continue to overwhelm SMEs
A UK report from global telecommunication enterprise Immervox recently found that more than a third of SMEs are struggling with admin on a daily basis. The time and resources spent on managing business operations is considered by leaders to be a drain of both time and resources, with more than half of the 144 senior managers surveyed revealing that productivity is being hamstrung by a failure to invest in IT systems and digital infrastructure.
Reducing silos is crucial to the agility of a modern business. SMEs must seek to bring core activities together and connect them to boost productivity, efficiency and compliance while reducing risks.
Immervox marketing manager Tom Brooks adds: “With everything from internal communications, administration, and customer service being run through IT systems in business today, too often we see a lack of investment in the correct systems and innovation, which ultimately is hindering growth.”
Use tech to transform admin
Small businesses will place themselves at a distinct disadvantage if they fail to leverage the plethora of digital tools and new tech solutions that are available today, which can streamline administrative processes and drive efficiency. Tech has been a game-changer for SMEs as they can now use cloud computing and intelligent solutions to automate tasks that were previously time-consuming. These feature-rich applications would have required a substantial onsite physical infrastructure just 20 years ago, but they can now be purchased for a comparatively small subscription fee. These lightweight and scalable solutions can also grow with a business, so a small enterprise can target growth without concerns about being mired in administrative duties.
One aspect of admin that is particularly challenging for a growing business is payroll processing. Paper-based systems for collecting enrollment data and updating benefits information are still common, but they are no longer fit for purpose. Adopting an online system will not only aggregate all critical data in a central location that can be easily accessed and managed by a HR team from a range of connected devices, but it also allows employees to use software to complete complex benefits calculations, add new information and update records in real time. Using online invoicing tools such as https://invoicehome.com can streamline payment admin by empowering SMEs to bill customers and clients for work on time using professional templates.
How to improve administrative efficiency
Tech should be a focal point for admin, but how can you overhaul your current processes? Start by assessing your existing infrastructure and how much time employees spend on administrative tasks that could be replaced while comparing the costs of each new solution. You can then begin searching for various tech platforms that can deliver the solutions you desire. A move toward a connected, automated infrastructure will drive efficiency, but remember to keep your staff informed of any changes. You will still need human experience and ingenuity to complement your new digital admin systems. Once these systems are in place, you can use data analytics to track their performance and identify areas that need improvement and further streamlining.
Tailor business processes to digital
Managing all administrative processes in-house during working hours is an outdated outlook. Modern enterprises must redesign key business activities for a new generation where smartphones, tablets, laptops and other connected devices are capable of completing admin anywhere, at any time. Using online software apps and a secure internet connection, you can manage accounting, payroll, billing and other tasks remotely day and night. This increases the agility of your business as it frees up time for more important tasks that are capable of driving profit and revenue.
The mobile trend is also excellent for project management as web-based tools such as Basecamp and Podio empower small enterprises to oversee projects, share documents, collaborate with employees across the business, and meet deadlines from a comprehensive digital hub.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Small Business Administration (SBA) can provide support to your business if you need assistance with day-to-day management. The government agency offers a range of online courses through its SBA Learning Center, so entrepreneurs, managers and employees can learn more about business planning, business management, finance accounting and even surviving a slow economy.
You cannot underestimate the importance of business admin. Managing the minutiae of processes and activities effectively can give your enterprise the best chance to survive, adapt, thrive and grow in an increasingly competitive business landscape.