Digital transformation: Now available for SMEs

Digital transformation is an increasing call to action across every industry. Once thought to be owned by industry and big finance, the tools and processes used to drive efficiency and knowledge are now available to everyone.

In the past few years, we have seen an explosion of technology offerings in this space that have commoditised tools and platforms to the level where medium and small enterprises can quickly and successfully deliver digital transformation projects.

What's the benefit?

Automation of a single process can often unlock hundreds of hours of valuable knowledge and worker time.

Process automation also allows for zero-effort audit trails, proof of work can be provided to your auditors without extensive effort locating emails and documents.

Near real-time reporting on your business data, whether it’s income (P&L) or customer related, allows you to direct effort to where it’s needed, or capitalise on opportunities. Many other benefits can be unlocked such as:

  • Error reduction
  • Adherence to policy
  • System integration.

A recent example of a delivered digital transformation project involved the implementation of workflow and integrations across an accounts payable process:

Previously significant manual effort was involved from the accounts payable team to transcribe both the invoice and additional details provided by the submitting employee into the finance system. Often additional follow up was required to get missing information such as FBT.

A digital form, workflow and finance system integration was designed to reduce input effort, gather approval(s), and seamlessly generate supplier invoices within the finance system.

Significant quality of life options such as copying a request from a previous submission, integration of the petty cash system and client disbursements were also included.

The result was a measurable reduction in effort from the accounts payable system for data entry, reduction in time taken by the accounts team in chasing submitters and approvers for information such as FBT numbers, and removal of the employee’s requirement for double submitting the invoice for disbursement in addition to accounts payable. Approvers also gained ‘lazy approvals’ allowing them to approve directly from email or Teams, expediating the workflows significantly from the previous approval system.

How do I identify opportunities?

External Need

Your clients, customers or patients can be very vocal about limitations or failings in your internal processes.

You may have been asked about:

  • Digital signatures
  • Digital forms
  • Automated information requests
  • Time taken to respond to requests for quotes.

Internal Need

Equally, internal staff can be excellent at identifying opportunities such as:

  • A repetitive process requiring a significant percentage of an employee’s time
  • Critical business processes are being held up due to staff on leave
  • Approvals hidden in employee inboxes
  • Employees manually updating registers for document management or finance processes
  • Audits requiring days or weeks of effort to retrieve proof.

Business Analysis

Locating and resolving hidden inefficiencies within your business can foster significant savings over time.

Removing knowledge workers from repetitive tasks, such as copy pasting data between systems or spending time following up staff on where a particular process is up to, allows them to focus on higher value tasks.

Process mapping, employee interviews, and surveys can help uncover these in-efficiencies within your business and allow the resolution of them to be prioritised based on return on investment.

What to do next?

PKF’s digital transformation team has decades of proven excellence across a range of industries including NFP, Professional Services, Industry, Government & Education.

Organise a chat with one of our consultants to learn more.

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