By Franka Winchester, an EO San Francisco member and is general partner at Pacific Crest Group.
When I co-founded my accounting firm in 2003, my objective was to help business owners focus on the core activities that would help them succeed. We realized that as companies start to grow, back-office operations can become a distraction, and that accounting was intertwined with human resources and computer operations. Here are two tips we offer clients when they want to develop reliable systems in support of accounting, HR and IT initiatives:
Accounting Meets HR:
You can have a clean payroll system that handles paychecks, payroll taxes and reporting, but what happens when the system runs into HR issues like vacation requests? The solution is to create integrated systems to deal with routine problems, such as tracking paid time off, that don’t disrupt operations. One of our clients complained that by oversight both of his engineers went on vacation at the same time. The problem was that sending an e-mail or a verbal note for vacation approval is not an integrated system. Instead, we developed a vacation-approval procedure that establishes who is responsible for approval and tracks proper vacation accrual in payroll.
Systems Pro mot e Success:
Aligning accounting, HR and IT so that they work in an effortless fashion will let you focus on what makes your business grow. For example, we use a time-tracking system called Time and Billing Manager. Our employees track their hours using this online system, and that data is imported into QuickBooks to generate invoices. This eliminates errors and gives us a lot of versatility for invoicing so that we can expedite accounts receivables to improve cash flow. At the same time, we can see where people spend their time and isolate staffing problems. It’s a great tool to identify who is underproducing and who is overproducing with a risk of burnout.
No matter the industry, systemizing routine back-office processes using reliable technology will go a long way in helping businesses run. Entrepreneurs will quickly recover the cost of their investment through greater efficiencies, lower operational overhead and an expanding business.