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Trent Innes
Smarter Writer

Trent Innes is the Managing Director of Xero Australia and has more than 17 years of experience growing and managing major businesses in the accounting and IT industries.

Trent Innes
Smarter Writer

Trent Innes is the Managing Director of Xero Australia and has more than 17 years of experience growing and managing major businesses in the accounting and IT industries.

Every day, small business owners in Australia draw upon their unique knowledge, experience, intuition and creativity to make crucial business decisions.

But there are many vital business functions they don’t need to take on because evolving technology and automation can do the job often more accurately than we can.

Image shows a woman sitting at an outdoor café on her laptop looking at graphs and numbers on a website. Automating your cash flow can improve productivity in your business, but technology is only one part of the solution.

Things that can be automated

Say you are a small business retailer ‑ you could establish efficiencies by automating the following repetitive tasks:  

  • Sync various independent operating systems ‑ such as your market stall’s point-of-sale system, e-commerce site, inventory system and reporting system ‑ with your accounting software, so that all systems work on real-time information

  • Set up daily bank feeds from your business bank accounts into your accounting software, so that these transactions automatically appear online without the need to input them manually
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  • Benefit from the onset of automated coding, where machine learning starts to categorise transactions on your behalf ‑ ready for your advisor or the ATO

  • Enable a bookkeeper or accountant to access this real-time information from the cloud at any time they have an internet connection, so cash-flow trends can be shaped into effective business decisions.

You’re left with an informational hub that is now the bedrock of your business.

The competitive edge

Automation makes its benefits felt immediately. As soon as data starts flowing, you can make quick decisions based on a real-time understanding of the business.

It also creates ongoing efficiencies, every day. It doesn’t matter where you left the ripped envelope of receipts or whether your office manager has the day off ‑ a good automated system gives you confidence in your final figures at any time.

The shift can even present new opportunities for your team and company culture. By reducing the dependence on time-consuming data entry jobs, and eliminating the potential for human error and manual restrictions, you can relieve the burden of time and stress ‑ and present new opportunities for more fulfilling work.

How to do it and do it right

It’s easy to automate your cash flow. You can do it across any one of the 500 technology apps in the Xero marketplace and automated daily bank feeds are simple to set up, too, if you’re with a financial institution that offers them. Just follow the simple instructions.

But when you come to the how, remember technology is only one part of the puzzle. You need to guide your team through the change to reap the best results. Help your people understand the advantages of your new workflow, be available to answer any questions and educate others on your choice of technologies. Then share your vision for the future, to direct your new-found productivity.

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