How to cut faff and boost your billable hours

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Small business owners tend to have one thing in common: a wish for more hours in the day.

Business owners often struggle to find a good balance between work and life. Here are some ideas to help you get all the most important billable work done, and cut back on that time-consuming (and non-revenue producing) admin. Who knows? It may help you get your life back. 

a man smiling while looking down wearing a storm electric polo shot and holding a tablet


Ditch paper

Storm Electrical, a team of electrical contractors in Queensland, decided to switch from a pen and paper system to one powered by mobile devices and apps to get ahead of their competitors.

"We've currently got Xero, GeoOp and Office 365 - which gives us a full business solution for the guys who are mobile on site," says Phill Davison. 

Before making the switch, the team were double-handling invoices and had to travel into the office each day to find out their jobs, routes and material requirements. Now that’s all done through the supervisor’s tablet . Admin costs have halved and staff have more time in the day.

"The less time I spend on admin means I've got more time to build my business," says Phill.

Boost cash flow and morale

When Fiedler Brothers Plumbing in Kingaroy, Qld, replaced a paper-based system with a fleet of Telstra-ready tablets, pre-loaded with location-based job management app GeoOp, the benefits to the business were immediate.

"I'd estimate we were losing eight man-hours every day on paperwork. That’s like having one man down, every day," says owner Todd Fiedler.

The new technology integrates with the firm’s Xero accounting system, and lets the plumbers send invoices in just a few steps while still on site, so there's no need to travel back to the office to complete paperwork.

The company's accountant is also freed from manually entering invoices into the system, and can instead concentrate on activities that add value to the business.

"For the first time in two years, our cash flow is where it needs to be and that’s because invoices are getting out quicker than ever before," explains Todd.

"I want to make us even more efficient. If things are more efficient hopefully we should make more money. And by being more organised I’ve got a bit more time for my family and myself."

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