Tech tools to boost your business productivity
Craig Hudson lists some technology solutions that could help improve your business’s productivity and make your role a lot easier. Working hard is the Kiwi way. We do what needs to get done and we’re good at it. So much so, we sometimes don’t even realise that we might be working harder and not smarter. […]
Craig Hudson lists some technology solutions that could help improve your business’s productivity and make your role a lot easier.
Working hard is the Kiwi way. We do what needs to get done and we’re good at it. So much so, we sometimes don’t even realise that we might be working harder and not smarter.
It’s always a good feeling to realise that there’s a faster and easier way to do those time consuming tasks. But the problem is, many of us don’t have time or money to go out and find those solutions.
Technology can add lots of value to your business in ways you might not expect. In fact, a pre-Covid research report we did with NZIER showed a 20 percent uptake in cloud-based technology would deliver huge productivity gains for businesses and contribute up to $6.2 billion in annual GDP growth for New Zealand’s economy.
This breakdown is aimed to help you consider some technology solutions that could help improve your business’ productivity and make your role a lot easier.
Retail businesses especially are navigating unfamiliar challenges in our current climate, with many pivoting to an online presence and implementing tools to keep sales up. There are some excellent e-commerce apps that help you set up an online store in an easy, cost effective way. Selecting a tool like Shopify will get you set up with everything from choosing your website domain name, to getting the tax and shipping settings right for each product.
For retailers wanting to reduce time spent on managing inventory, Dear Inventory is a specialised inventory and order management platform. It allows products, customers, suppliers, contacts, purchases and sales to be managed within one system.
Shopify POS Pro lets you generate purchase orders and move inventory between locations based on demand forecasting. The beauty of this tool is that you can get a better understanding of what your top selling products are and how you can improve on selling the underperforming products.
This is another task that can quickly become more time-consuming than expected. One of the unique things about invoicing apps is they are designed to help specific sectors so it’s easier to find one that integrates well with your business and gets things right.
For example, there are apps tailored to healthcare practitioners, like Cliniko, for those who may want space to take notes and manage their schedule. There are others tailored to tradesmen, like Fergus, for those who may prefer an app to help with estimates and assist with team communication.
It’s worth looking for an app in your industry to help lighten the burden of keeping track of invoices and scheduling payments. It will save you time building templates and ultimately automate tasks that really add up.
Whether it’s weekly, monthly or quarterly, reporting is always a busy time for business owners. It’s hard to layout exactly what you want to showcase in a time effective way. Luckily there are an abundance of apps that can do your reporting automatically while making it look great too.
Platforms like Spotlight and Syft can go beyond reporting and help with graphs, forecasting, valuations, consolidations and budgets. Many can also help you with industry benchmarks and measures so you know right where you’re sitting in terms of competition.
Another valuable reporting tool is Microsoft Power BI, an analytics tool that allows you to monitor your business through dashboards and reports that analyse your business info and help you make smart, informed decisions.
Payroll and HR
Payroll can be an extremely time-consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Xero Payroll helps to simplify compliance by automating calculations, and employees can easily view their payslips, submit their timesheets and apply for leave through the mobile app.
There are apps that go beyond just managing payroll, which can look after a multitude of things so you can eliminate the day-to-day hassle and costly errors.
FlexiTime, iPayroll and JustLogin not only look after regular payslips, but also automatically manage everything from general employee records to KiwiSaver, leave balances and expense claims. The best thing is it’s all stored on the cloud so you don’t have to worry about sorting through the pile of paperwork to find what you’re looking for anymore.
For business owners managing a team of staff, potentially across different locations, this creates a lot of admin that takes time away from running the business. Deputy is a one-stop shop, helping with employee scheduling, time-tracking, leave management and communication.
Get started with cloud tools now
Embracing new apps and technology is key to making your life easier as a business owner. Integrating new digital tools can provide great opportunities to simplify and streamline the way you and your employees are working, creating more time for you to manage other things.
Technology was already a necessity for small businesses prior to COVID-19. Post-pandemic, the importance is amplified to an even greater extent. Nearly three quarters of Kiwi small business owners say they needed to act fast and make changes to the technology they used during the April COVID-19 lockdown in order to keep operating.
I’d encourage you to explore what works for you and your business. Even adapting just one of these tools will help your business become more productive.
Craig Hudson is Xero’s Managing Director NZ & Pacific Islands.