Technology does not have to be scary.
Do you own a business and have employees who depend on you?
Do you have a side-hustle or a work-from-home “be your own boss” gig?
Are you responsible for recruiting and hiring? Or, sales and marketing?
Or, perhaps even all of the above?
If you fall into any of these categories, then you know the importance of good record-keeping and the necessity for accurate data tracking. You likely also wish it was less time-consuming and less frustrating. You’re not alone. I was at a conference recently, and one of the give-a-ways from an automation vendor was one of those strip calendars that sits right on your keyboard. It read, “Because ‘I LOVE DATA ENTRY!’ said nobody ever!” So true.
The Right Tools for the Job
The reality of working is that it’s always easier when you have the right tools for the job. It’s much more effective to pound a nail with a hammer than it is with a screwdriver. It’s much more sanitary (and significantly less painful) to flip burgers with a spatula rather than using your fingers. The tools you choose for your business are no different. The technology you implement, the add-ons you select to work with that technology, and the ways you gather and track data can all make a huge difference in how you accomplish your job.
Understanding your core technology infrastructure, or what some refer to as your “digital plumbing,” can help you streamline your business processes, lower your costs, and enable you to scale easily as you grow. It was explained to me like this: Your technology infrastructure is like the pipes in your plumbing system and your data is the water that runs through those pipes. Once you recognize how the data flows, you can begin to visualize your entire workflow and make sure it’s set up the way you want it to be. This is key, because adding technology to a bad process does not make the process better, only more complicated to fix.
When you really understand the flow of information (data), and you trust that your processes are sound, you can choose the right tools for the job, integrate them (connect the pipes) and automate as much as possible. Automation will help you save time, and that’s just the beginning. Automating also enables real-time reporting, reduces the likelihood of error, and significantly reduces risk. Automated data collection empowers you to use your information effectively. You can make better business and financial decisions, screen and hire talent more productively, market your business more efficiently, and ultimately, serve your customer more successfully.
Integration and automation affords you the opportunity to spend less time collecting information, and more time putting it to good use!
I love examples… so here are a few that demonstrate what I mean.
If you use Square to process credit card payments, you can automatically create invoices in QBO – with all the necessary details – with virtually no data entry. Your sales, fees, taxes, and even discounts from Square auto-import into QBO overnight, and voilà!
You (or your employees) can take a picture of your receipt and send your reimbursable expenses for approval via smart phone and/or computer. Those expenses can be approved with one click, be sent right into Gusto Payroll, and with no additional data entry, sent from Gusto to Xero, all properly coded: payroll, payroll taxes, and reimbursable expenses.
MileIQ + Receipt Bank + Gusto + QuickBooks Online
Very similar to the example above, these applications allow you (or again, your employees) to easily differentiate between business and personal mileage, and push reimbursable mileage to payroll. When you run payroll, the info is automatically added to (and coded properly in) QBO with virtually #ZeroDataEntry!
Expensify + basically any cloud-based accounting platform out there
Expensify, with their tagline, “expense reports that don’t suck!” ensures that expenses are coded accurately in real time, both giving admins better visibility into company financials and making it easy for people to deal with filing tedious expense reports. Gone are the days of taping crumpled receipts to a piece of paper and scanning/emailing (or worse, faxing!) for approval and reimbursement.
One amazing feature in Expensify is the ability to automatically import your receipts from travel providers, Uber / Lyft drives, parking services, food delivery and more! You’ll never leave money on the table for missed expenses again!
Automation is not just for bookkeeping and accounting.
Let’s talk recruiting.
Just about every Applicant Tracking System (ATS) on the market will save you time and money. An ATS enables one-click job postings to multiple job boards and your career page, gives you a searchable database of auto-parsed resumes and/or applications, lets you send automated replies to candidates, and elevates team collaboration and email tracking.
I’ve used many different systems, and have recommended many others to clients (all based on their specific needs), so I’ll give you an example of integration and automation from the ATS we’re using now.
JobAdder integrates with a whole host of apps and add-ons. From Gmail and Google Docs to Hiretual and AskNicely, you can automate just about everything in the recruiting process.
One of the best features to me is the ability to open a job using a full job description, and create a separate job ad (which is quite different from a job description!) to post. I can choose to post the ad to my career page and/or any number of job boards with little-to-no extra work.
When a candidate applies, their source of entry is tracked and their information is parsed and saved into searchable fields. The candidate receives a customized response to let them know that we received their resume, and outlines our recruiting process, setting expectations for when they will hear from us. There is even an add-on that integrates with LinkedIn that allows me to automatically parse information from a profile into the system.
This all means a decreased time-to-hire, reduced spend on job ads (assuming you actually search your database first), and an improved candidate experience.
JobAdder + Calendly + Outlook
This is one of my favorite time-saving integrations. Candidates can schedule interviews on my calendar themselves with a link to my calendar that shows my availability. No more back-and forth! It’s easy!
JobAdder + MailChimp also makes it easy to communicate regularly with your talent communities!
Which brings us to the sales and marketing front.
We use an app called CamCard to take photos of business cards and sync them to Outlook.
Our CRM is Insightly, which also integrates with Outlook. Here’s what that looks like.
CamCard + Outlook + Insightly = all contacts entered into the CRM (with Zero Data Entry!)
Insightly also integrates with MailChimp for easy email marketing, and with QBO so you can automatically link estimates, invoices, and payments to leads, opportunities, and projects.
These are just a few simple examples of how, once you understand your digital plumbing, you can simplify your business process and add automation that, frankly, makes your life easier.
Take the leap. It’s worth the investment!
Yes you can. We can help.
Bookkeeping, accounting, recruiting: from self-employed solopreneurs to small-mid-sized business owners and executives, we get you OUT of the back office and back IN to why you started your business in the first place!