The last year has been a wild ride for all of us.
In Australia, while we sheltered from many of the problems of the wider world, we still found ourselves navigating all manner of lockdowns, restrictions, new rules and procedures, brought in with little notice and few precedents. Many businesses (and financial markets) are well on the way to recovering to a pre-COVID state, with some even improving upon their early-2020 positions.
But as the new financial year rolls around, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little anxious about the future. While we are living in uncertain times, there are steps that every business can take to minimise their risk, maximise flexibility and enter the 2022 financial year in a stronger position than ever. As the old saying goes, “no plan is a plan to fail”. Focusing on the actions that are in your control will put your business in a position to overcome any hurdles that are thrown at you.
Here are three steps that every business owner should be taking to prepare for uncertain times.
1) Invest in Automation
According to research from McKinsey, “45% of the activities that individuals are paid to perform can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies”. That was back in 2015 when automation platforms were far inferior to their current counterparts. The truth is that the time you will save from business automation is increasing every day - especially in areas relating to finance and accounts receivable.
Emersion can automate end-to-end processes including subscription billing, payment processing, service management and order management. This saves time, streamlines processes and ultimately leads to a better and more consistent experience for your customers. If your company isn’t already investing heavily in automation, then you are going to get left behind.
2) Eliminate Waste
Most businesses waste money and time. In some cases, this is in the form of direct costs such as fees or software licences, or indirect costs, such as staff time. Minimising these costs will mean that you’ll have more money available to endure tough times, and time to capitalise on opportunities as they present themselves.
Emersion can help you to find ways to minimise your direct and indirect waste, without compromising your customer’s experience. We often find areas where companies can improve, for example:
- Switching to lower-fee payment merchants and payment gateways. In many cases, the difference in fees between providers is significant, and this can lead to thousands of dollars in savings every year.
- On-charging transaction fees. Likewise, by on-charging transaction fees, your customers are paying a small amount extra on every invoice which in most cases isn’t noticed. For companies with large customer bases, these small fees will often add up to thousands of dollars in savings every year.
- Integrating your systems. This minimises the need to re-key data between systems, saving staff time, and it also means that information stays up to date, no matter what system your staff are working from.
- For companies selling usage-based services (e.g. VoIP, internet, energy, software), automatically calculating usage will save time while also making sure that you are charging the maximum amount for every service sold.
3) Prioritise Customer Experience
Customers are at the heart of every business. When we talk about uncertainty, the big question that is always being asked is “will I have enough money in the bank?”.
Without your customers, the answer will almost certainly be a big, fat “No!”.
That’s why a world-class customer experience should be a priority for every business. It sounds counter-intuitive, but a business and billing automation platform like Emersion is one of the best first steps your company can take towards providing a leading customer experience.
- Online customer portals empower your customers to view and manage their account details without having to contact your staff directly.
- SMS & email notifications ensure that customers are kept in the loop about the state of their subscriptions and services
- Multiple payment options (e.g. credit card, direct debit) mean that customers can pay with their preferred payment method
- Integrated systems minimise the need for data entry, resulting in fewer errors
- Automated processes are standardised and consistent, leading to faster orders
- We’re able to handle any product or service that you throw at us, which means you can easily sell the products and services your customers want both now and long into the future.
All of these functions will save your business time, so you can invest more resources into growth and customer experience. In fact, Emersion will save most small and medium-sized businesses a minimum of 40 hours of manual work every month! For large businesses, this time saving will be much more.
How does Emersion work with Xero?
Emersion synchronises to Xero in real time. We manage the entire accounts receivable process and make it possible to continue to work from Xero while working with large customer bases, or complex usage and/or subscription-based services.