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Take a Holiday Break: How to Automate Your Business

Many employees enjoy the holiday season because of the time away from work for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. On the other hand, the time-off during the holidays depends on the industry. For example, retail employees and managers often find that this season is the busiest time of year. But office employees and managers can take a much-needed break to focus on time with their families.

As a business owner, is there a possibility to take some time away from your computer this season? You deserve a break, but it’s not as easy as clocking out at the end of the day. Since you are running a company, a few details need to be arranged to ensure that everything can continue moving forward while you are gone. Business automation is key so that you can relax without worrying about the details in the company.

Why Time Off is Essential

Do you find that the natural inclination is to check your phone throughout the day, in case emails, calls, or text messages come through about your business? Most business owners have a hard time stepping away completely. It’s amazing to live in a digital business environment, but that means that your business follows you… even if you are on the beach in a tropical location.

Whether you are taking a few days away from the office to spend time with family or you have a fun vacation planned at a distant destination, is it likely that your phone, tablet, and/or laptop will come along so you can stay connected? It’s nice to have the convenience of staying in touch with employees and customers. But you need to consider how this habit is affecting your mental health.

In fact, scientific evidence shows that time away from work is essential so you can maintain good physical and mental health. Some researchers have been bold enough to say that a good vacation actually increases productivity at work. Yes, it is important to make sure that things are going well for your business. But if you want to show up as your best self, then you need to ensure that you are giving yourself a break every now and then for the mental health benefits.

Don’t Opt Out of Vacation Time

It is estimated that more than 40% of Americans will go an entire calendar year without taking a day off. Among those people who choose to take a vacation, many of them continue working while they are away.

Even though the vacation days are available, it’s easy to get pulled into deadlines and responsibilities in the office. Are you getting caught in the trap of prioritizing your work life over relationships, hobbies, and personal activities? Then it might be time to change your habits so you can find more balance in these activities. The holiday season is the perfect time of year to help you get started.

Instead of pressuring yourself to stay tied to the computer, you can be proactive in creating a business environment that will keep going while you are away from the office. Not only will you enjoy the break, but it is helpful to ask your employees to carry a bit more of the day-to-day responsibilities.

Set a goal to spend more time with your family over Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. If you want to meet this goal, then you need to prepare right now so that you can step away from the office for a bit.

Small Business Automation Tips

Here are a few simple strategies that can be used to improve automation in your small business. By improving your systems, it will free up your time so you are available to take more time off. Owning a business means that you have the benefit of schedule flexibility, so you might as well take advantage of this opportunity!

Keep in mind that these tips don’t apply to every business. Each industry is unique, so it’s important to consider the needs of your company as you are making changes. A personalized approach is the best way to ensure that you are creating a system built to last.

  • Repetitive Tasks: What are the small tasks that eat away at your time each week? If there are activities that you do over and over again, look at options to build a system so that you don’t have to put in the manual work all the time. For example, if you are spending time on purchase orders every week, there might be a way to set up an auto-ship agreement with your supplier. Or, adjust your requests so that you can order 1 – 2 times a month instead of weekly. Certain tools can be used to track your current inventory and reorder when needed, such as PurchaseControl, which consolidates all relevant information in a single place.
  • Outsource Payroll: When you have employees, payroll processing is a task that never goes away. If you want to maintain the right company culture, then it is essential that your employees are paid on time when payday rolls around. Sometimes, payroll processing falls to the company owner because they don’t want to hand over the financial information to an employee. Instead of spending a few hours every-other-week on payroll calculations and check printing, consider hiring a payroll processing service. This service is well worth the cost if you are looking for ways to automate your business.
  • Task Management: How often do you manage small, busy-work tasks because you don’t want to take the time to explain the details to someone else? It’s nice to have the assistance of employees and/or freelancers, but you probably aren’t leveraging these services to the fullest extent. Not only do you need to know who is working on which tasks, but you need to be able to keep track of project progress and deadlines that are coming up in the future. Consider using a tool such as Trello or Asana that makes it easy to create assignments, set due dates, and manage the overall workflow. Task management tools can assist with delivery dates that will need to be met while you are away from the office.
  • Bookkeeping Services: Management of accounts payable and accounts receivable can be a handful, especially when you are juggling this busy work with other business responsibilities. Bookkeeping is one of the first things you should outsource if you are looking for ways to free up your time. A great solution is to hire a bookkeeping service that pairs automated accounting software with the services that are offered. This cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting system helps to streamline the transactions as they are moving through your bank accounts. Then, the bookkeeping team can complete reconciliations and oversee the process to catch potential errors or issues that pop up.
  • Hire an Assistant: Hiring an assistant could be one way to free up your time, allowing you to focus on strategy instead of the menial tasks throughout the day. The right assistant can help with calendar management, phone calls, and administrative work like photocopies, vendor coordination, and more. It is important that you find someone who is proactive in their job. If the assistant is always waiting for instructions from you, then you might run into problems. The ideal solution is an assistant who is looking ahead and helping you stay on top of the tasks that need to be addressed.
  • Email Messages: When you are stepping away from the office for a few days, set up an autoresponder that notifies people when they send you an email. This message should list the dates you are gone, as well as a back-up point of contact if they need immediate assistance. Setting up the automated message allows you to ignore your inbox while having the peace of mind to know that someone is available to pick up the slack.

Schedule Vacation Time on Your Calendar

You know that the holidays are coming up, which means that right now is the time when you need to block out the calendar so that you can have a break. Schedule the days that you are planning with your family, then honor your commitment to take those days off. It might be tempting to fit in a quick phone call or meeting on one of those open days, but you need to remind yourself that it is important to honor your desire to take a break.

Even though there are high-priority tasks that need to be handled in the office, these things will still be waiting when you get back from your vacation. So, take time to share holiday traditions with your loved ones, without the worry about work getting in the way.

If you need help with business outsourcing, then our team is here to assist. At Easier Accounting, we provide small businesses with financial solutions that work. Contact us any time to learn more about the way we can personalize your bookkeeping and accounting systems to help you automate your business. Call our team at Easier Accounting to learn more about the available services for your small business accounting needs: (888) 620-0770.

How-To Guide: Tips to Improve Your Business Bookkeeping and Accounting

If you want to improve the results for your company, then you need to take it back to the basics by upgrading the systems that influence every aspect of business management. By creating the right foundation with good business bookkeeping and accounting practices, then you can make a difference with the long-term success that is possible. The key is to pay attention to the details and hire the right team to assist with the implementation.

Many business owners have good intentions to improve critical systems, such as financial reporting and accounting details. But, it is common for these activities to fall to the backburner because the attention is focused on immediate needs. It is easy to ignore the stack of paperwork that needs to be addressed when you are spending your time talking to potential customers and business contacts. Instead of procrastinating these efforts, you need to understand the importance of good systems so that these things are pushed to the top of your priority list.

Common Options to Improve Business Bookkeeping and Accounting

Even though you know that your business bookkeeping and accounting systems need to be improved, where should you start? You need to think about the overall system as well as the ongoing tasks that should be addressed on a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule.

Here are a few common practices that need to be considered if you are looking for ways to improve your accounting and bookkeeping:

Practice #1: Common Understanding with Vendors and Business Contacts

It can be a challenge to juggle the invoices that are coming and going when you have different systems in place for business contacts and vendors. For example, are some of your vendors stuck in the old process by sending invoices through the mail? We live in a digital age, which means that hard copies are no longer necessary. There’s no reason why you need to hold onto the paperwork.

Talk to your vendors to see if they offer digital invoicing. Then, make sure that you have the right system in place to keep the files sorted when they come through. For example, all of the invoices should be sent to the same email address. Next, the attachments need to be imported into the accounting system or saved in a cloud storage folder for future reference if needed.

Creating the same system and understanding with all of your business contacts can help to simplify the work that needs to be done in your office. It takes a little bit of effort to systematize this process, but it is worth the long-term benefits that are available.

Practice #2: Identify Bad Practices

Are there any bad habits that are dragging down efficiency or impacting profit margins? You need to evaluate the things that should be changed so that you can work on optimizing processes for the future. Sometimes, it is easy to overlook these bad practices when they become a normal part of your business activities.

The best solution to find the bad practices is to bring in an outside perspective to evaluate the way you are handling your regular activities. For example, important tasks might be falling through the cracks if you aren’t tracking the progress of various projects or invoices. Or an accounting team might help you find unnecessary costs that can be dropped so that you can minimize your overhead expenses.

Even though the changes might seem small, they can have a significant impact on the success of your company in the future. If you want to improve your results, then you need to improve the way you are managing all of the details in your company.

Practice #3: Be Clear about Bookkeeping Duties and Responsibilities

One of the most common reasons why important tasks are overlooked is that people don’t take responsibility for the things that might be handled by another employee. Don’t wait for employees to step up and take ownership for essential tasks, such as reconciling the books or sending invoices. Instead, you need to choose the people who should oversee the task and ensure that everyone takes personal responsibility for the areas where they are assigned.

You might have in-house employees who can help with bookkeeping, invoicing, and more. Or, you might choose to outsource these services so that a professional company takes responsibility for the tasks that need to be completed. It’s up to you to choose the system that will work best for your business. At the same time, be clear about expectations so that employees or contractors take the lead on their responsibilities.

Practice #4: Use the Latest Automation Features

Automation can have a transformational impact on your accounting and bookkeeping practices. If you are stuck in old habits and systems, then right now is the perfect opportunity to make the changes that are long overdue.

We live in a world of technology, which means that you need to be looking for options that fit your industry. There is no reason why your employees should be spending time on tasks that can be automated. For example, some businesses still practice data entry for every transaction that moves through the office. But, often these transactions can be automated by syncing the bank accounts and credit cards with the bookkeeping system.

A good bookkeeping system will pull in the transactions and even set up categories based on your predefined parameters. This automation reduces the need to spend valuable time on busy work. Instead, you can let the system handle the details so that you can focus on other aspects of growing your company.

Practice #5: Managing Inventory and Spending

It is common for businesses to get caught in the trap of overspending and poor management of cash flow. If you are spending too much on inventory and business management, then you will be able to see the trends in the reports. But, if you don’t have a good reporting system in place, then it means that these important details are probably slipping by without the attention they deserve.

Make sure that you always have the right amount of inventory on hand. Even though you want to bring in a large amount of inventory so that you never run out of products that can be sold, you might accidentally burn up your cash flow with products that won’t be sold for a while. So, it is important that you manage your spending by being careful with the amount of inventory that is purchased.

Also, look for other areas where you can reduce overall spending. Can you identify spending patterns that aren’t essential for business growth and management? There are often simple solutions that can be used to reduce overhead costs so that you can minimize your spending and maximize profit margins simultaneously.

Practice #6: Plan for Big Expenses

Even though business might be good right now, you never know when an unexpected expense will pop up. You can’t predict when an emergency might happen. But, you can always expect that something will happen eventually. So, you need to be sure that you are ready with money in the bank when these details need to be addressed.

Upcoming big expenses might be accrued for a variety of reasons, such as tax responsibilities, inventory purchasing, equipment and computers, employee payroll, and more. It takes money to run a business, so you need to think ahead to ensure that you always have the cash flow to keep things rolling. It is wise to have a few months of business expenses set aside as an emergency fund.

This emergency fund can be used for one-time costs that might come along. At the same time, the emergency money can also be helpful to get you through the lean times if things slow down in your industry.

Practice #7: Hire the Industry Experts

There’s no reason why you should reinvent the wheel when industry experts have already created and improved the systems that can be used for business bookkeeping and accounting. If you are looking for the right solutions to improve your company, then you need to turn your attention to the advice offered by the experts.

We’ve been offering these services for many years, giving us the experience and education to know the best ways to maximize the results from accounting and bookkeeping. When you choose our experienced team, you can tap into the knowledge that we will share about the options that are available for your company. As we have helped other small businesses, we’ve gained the knowledge and information required to ensure the long-term results that you deserve.

Why Easier Accounting?

Why should you enlist the services that are offered by our team at Easier Accounting? We know that you have many options for accounting and bookkeeping services. But, our team is working hard to provide the custom results that are best for small businesses and startups. If you are looking for assistance with payroll processing, bookkeeping, tax preparation, and more, then you need to contact us as soon as possible. We are here to help so that you have the best options available for your industry: (888) 620-0770