Give your business a cutting edge in 2018

It may be a little early to think of the Christmas holidays, but here’s a thought that we’d like to plant with you. Most companies in Ireland tend to come to a halt for well over a week between Christmas and the New Year, and when you’re sitting at home in those long days after the turkey has been cleared away, it’s a fantastic time to come up with some fresh thinking for your company.

While you’re relatively relaxed – and without the daily pressure of the office – you can achieve great clarity of thought. Why not put it to good use by working on three or four core items that will give your company an edge in 2018? In no order, we’ve come up with the following:

 

Are you set up for success?

Accounting and Payroll operations

There is a huge amount of research evidence to support the claim that employees are significantly more productive when working in a physical space that suits their needs. Some people may prefer the privacy of a closed office, while others may prefer the more social nature of an open plan space. The key point here is that not all employees are the same, so it’s great to be able to offer a choice of working environments.

And it’s not just whether you opt for open plan versus private offices that impacts on staff. Humans react positively to factors like light. Natural light if best, of course, but if your offices are short on natural lighting, there are umpteen solutions on the market that can simulate natural light, with a proven ability to improve mood, energy levels and concentration.

We’re not suggesting that you spend a fortune in remodeling your workspace, but some thought to how you structure your offices could pay rich dividends in getting the most from your staff – and creating a workplace that suits their many different needs.

This could be as simple as tackling an old storage room that’s not doing much and turning it into a brightly coloured and casually furnished breakout room where your staff can go for informal meetings, think-ins or just to get some quiet time to concentrate on a difficult project.

 

Are you getting enough from automation?

Your staff are not just your most expensive asset – they’re also your most important. It stands to reason, therefore, that you’ll want to use them to best effect – on tasks that will make a real difference such as forging great relationships with your clients or coming up with new business initiatives.

To this end, it pays to make sure that as many as possible of your day-to-day office tasks are automated. For example, by calling on payroll software or accounting software to drive your company forward, you are freeing up hundreds of hours each year – hours that can be used on much more productive tasks. And don’t be put off by believing that software solutions are designed for bigger companies – there’s no shortage of accounting software for small business that can transform how you take care of time-sapping day-to-day accounts work. The latest edition to the Sage 50 family of software is Sage 50c, and it is a leading accounting software in the Irish market for small to medium-sized businesses.

It automates a whole host of tasks in areas such as Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Cash Flow Management, Inventory Management and Invoicing. Each of these tasks, on their own, can sap a huge amount of man-hours, but when you combine them, the savings that automation yields are even more dramatic.

The best accounting software for your business is a solution that addresses not just today’s needs, but that also has the capacity to grow with you, without requiring a further major investment in the future. Choosing your small business accounting software could be one of the most productive things you could possibly do over the Christmas holidays. And wouldn’t that be a fantastic Christmas present to your business?

 

If you’re not a ‘natural delegator’, now is a good time to address this.

People often believe that they are naturally good at some things – and naturally bad at others. The fact of the matter, however, is that most skills can be acquired, and the ability to delegate very definitely comes under this heading.

Many executives feel an unnecessary degree of stress each year because they take on too much responsibility – not just for overseeing various tasks, but also for micro-managing them.

If you think you could do with some extra layers of delegation in 2018, here are five simple questions to ask yourself to check if it’s appropriate. If you can answer yes to most of them, maybe it’s time to hive off some of the work next year.

  • Is there someone else in your company who already has – or could be given – the expertise or knowledge to carry out the task. In other words, is it critical that YOU perform the work, or can you let go of it?
  • Could someone else in your organisation grow and develop their skill set by carrying out the task?
  • Will this task crop up again in the future? In other words, will you be doomed to carry it out forever if you don’t delegate it to someone?
  • Have you got enough time to spend on delegation, i.e. explaining what’s required, possibly giving training or advice, and being available to intervene if any problems arise?
  • Is this a task that’s better suited to someone else’s skills? This isn’t always the case, as recruiting new team members, for example, may be something that genuinely needs your experienced input.

 

If you’re not a ‘natural delegator’, now is a good time to address this.

We’re not by any means suggesting that a few hours solid thinking over the Christmas break will work miracles by itself. But it can mean that you come back to the workplace after the holidays with a clear picture of what you want to achieve – and perhaps a few starting points on your journey to a more efficient, more effective and more automated business.

And if you get it right, we promise that it will become part of your ‘Christmas routine’ from here on in. After all, who can quibble with a better business?

Spend some time over the Christmas holidays thinking about how you can improve your accounting and payroll operations – as well as remodelling your workspace. To find out more about our cloud-based solutions, call us at 051 395 900