While we often focus on improving efficiency when dealing with the public or in manufacturing, we tend to overlook the back office. Yet it is the back office that can eat up a massive portion of the overhead budget. However, it’s essential that you pay special attention to your back office in your attempts to streamline operations, since improvements here will ultimately benefit your clients. Here are several back office solutions that almost any business can implement.
Pay Attention to Your Queue
Many back office solutions aim to reduce the volume of work-in-process. However, too few firms consider tracking what is in the queue while it is there. A good automated workflow system allows you to see how much is in the queue, who it is assigned to, and its status. The reports from these systems can help you identify who is the bottleneck, though whether you want to reassign work, so they aren’t overloaded, or give them training to improve their efficiency is your decision. The workflow system allows you to prioritise late or critical tasks so that people focus on what is truly most important.
You can also identify which of the steps in your process is the bottleneck, whether it is management approval or tasks assigned to subject matter experts. You could determine what changes have the greatest return on investment, such as training more specialists or eliminating redundant tasks.
Get the Right Work to the Right People
Setting up an automated workflow system could allow you to reassign tasks to people who are under-utilised when they’re available. You can identify people who are overloaded based on the volume of work assigned to them relative to their available time, so you can shift work around to balance the load. Depending on the tool, you could identify potential problems caused by a key person’s annual leave and reassign work or train their replacement, so that they aren’t overloaded when they get back. The best back office systems keep work moving when managers are out of the office because everyone knows what needs to be done by whom and in what order.
Good back office solutions will seek to optimise work assignments, so experts aren’t wasting time on work that could be done by other, cheaper employees. There will need to be a process to smoothly hand over work between team members. There are a variety of tools to track who is working on tasks that have been delegated or handed off.
Hire an Invoice Factoring Company to Improve Cash Flow
One of the most stressful things that a business owner has to deal with is cash flow management. Large businesses, in particular, are often slow to pay invoices and this can cause a lot of problems for smaller companies who rely on regular payments in order to continue providing their service.
Invoice factoring is a type of finance designed to help improve the cash flow of small businesses. How it works is that an invoice factoring company will “buy” the invoice from you, giving you immediate access to the funds that you need for expenses. The amount you will receive instantly varies but is usually around 80% to 90% of the invoice. Once the client pays, the factoring company will issue you the remaining 20% to 10% of the invoice minus a fee.
This is a really simple way to improve your back office efficiency and is well worth looking into, especially if money management is one of your main causes of low productivity and stress.
Modest changes to your back office can significantly improve its efficiency, reducing the amount of needless work and delays. This eventually reduces costs and improves the speed and quality of service customers receive.
Contact us for advice on invoice factoring, a useful tool for reducing back office delays.
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