5 Tips for Small Businesses to Save Time in the New Year

Most small businesses have innovative ideas and expert staff who are ready to carry them out. What they don’t have is time—time to develop the ideas, build smart solutions, and improve customer service. The problem is that there are too many time-sucking tasks, from basic bookkeeping to endless meetings, that get in the way of focusing on business growth.

These five tips can help you save time, so you can make 2020 a more productive and efficient year for your business.

Tip #1: Automate

Take a look at the manual tasks that eat up hours of staff time every month, and identify those that can be automated. For instance, if your month-end closes are taking half the month or your expense reporting processes are cumbersome, consider automating your accounting processes.

Moving to a cloud-based accounting software solution like QuickBooks Online or Xero can help you save time each month, while also alleviating data entry errors and ensuring that you’re always in compliance with the latest regulations.

Tip #2: Outsource

Some tasks are better done by employees, but are you also paying your in-house team to perform tasks that could be done faster, and potentially better, by external professionals? Sometimes outsourcing your bookkeeping, taxes, customer support, and other tasks can save you money, and it can always save you time.

Outsourcing can be a smart move when it frees your internal staff to focus on more business-critical tasks. Outsource professionals also may have more expertise in a given field, and the latest software and tools to perform tasks faster than a small business can.

Start by outsourcing a single project or task, and see if it works for you. From there, you might find that there are multiple areas in which outsourcing relieves your team of unnecessary workloads.

Tip #3: Invest in the right technologies

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the innovative business technologies available today—but failing to keep up with them could put you at a competitive disadvantage. Consider the technologies you use for POS, taxes, ERP, and more, and look for opportunities to update or upgrade to new alternatives that are automated, cloud-based, or otherwise superior to your existing solutions.

If that seems overwhelming, you might want to partner with a consultant that can help you identify emerging technologies that will provide a tangible benefit to your business. Just be sure you don’t “stand pat” for so long that it hamstrings your business growth.

Tip #4: Meet less, do more

How many hours do you spend in meetings each week—and how many of those hours are actually necessary? Many businesses are implementing new meeting guidelines to prevent unnecessary and overly long meetings.

Talk with your employees to see if meetings are a concern. If so, consider instituting new policies, such as a mandatory 30-minute limit on most or all meetings. Other policies that clarify meeting practices, such as the need for an agenda and a follow-up summary, can also be helpful to reduce wasted time.

Tip #5: Go mobile

Are there tasks your employees perform every month that they can only do when they’re in the office? There may be a better way.

As more employees perform work remotely, cloud-based software solutions are making it safer and easier for them to perform tasks on smartphones. For instance, with QuickBooks Online, staff can submit and approve expenses through their smartphone or laptop, which saves their time and avoids delays for others in the office.

Get the help you need

Hayashi Wayland, a public accounting firm with decades of experience working with small businesses, can help you find the right accounting software and other solutions to help you save time all year long.