Insights on Bookkeeping & Data
Are You Automating Your Business?
Almost every business on the planet faces fierce competition. If yours doesn’t then you are either in an incredible niche that nobody else knows about or, you’re in denial.
This competition is true both in terms of sales and, just as importantly, efficiency and effectiveness.
But sometimes competition comes from unexpected places. Instead of thinking just in terms of traditional physical competitors, technology is also a critical consideration.
As cars replaced horses, industries based on the old order disappeared. Think about the Industrial Revolution that left millions of workers unemployed, their jobs rendered obsolete by machines.
And no industry is immune...
It’s no secret that our whole industry [accounting] is one of the most disrupted on the planet. How? Through the evolution of modern accounting software, principle amongst them Xero and ReceiptBank.
You only have to look around you to see other examples of automation that threaten entire industries. How about the self driving car that we are promised in the next handful of years from companies such as Tesla? That must keep the taxi drivers awake at night.
Or how about the intelligent warehouse robots that can work 24/7, make zero errors and don’t need to visit the restroom? Or even closer to home… the software assistants such as Siri, Alexa or Google. They will decide which businesses to recommend when asked. Will it be yours?
The list goes on…
So there’s no debate, automation is a ‘thing’ and is evolving even faster than Moore's Law predicted.
In fact, here are a few statistics to show the global impact.
The global sales value of service robots in 2019 was $12.9 billion USD
Over 2 million new industrial robots will enter service between 2018 and 2021
By 2022 42% of total task hours will be completed by machines
The chatbot market size will be over $1.34 billion USD by 2024
By 2030, 20 million or 8.5% of the global manufacturing workforce will face job loss due to automation
Now let's be clear. This article is not about the downside of automation. On the contrary, our intention is to flag the potential for those who lean in and embrace these new technologies.
Whilst numerous, the main benefits of automation include: increased output and consistency of output with reduced operating costs. Additionally, in some cases, improvement of work quality and safer working conditions in the workplace can be achieved through automation too.
One really interesting example of technology that will affect every business in the Western world, if it isn’t already, is that of digital marketing. In fact, the whole advertising landscape has transformed dramatically in the last few years. A huge part of that transformation is related to developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
Not unlike the chatbot market we mentioned above, the advances in AI powered advertising is almost scary… You see, AI is, by default, extremely pervasive, with a whopping estimated 80% of the global digital media market likely to be using some kind of AI in digital advertising this year.
Why the sharp uptake? Because it’s extremely efficient.
AI can be used to analyse customer behaviour to make smart recommendations based on customisable attributes such as age, gender, location, and any other myriad of other data points that marketers can use to reach the right customer at the right time.
AI-powered conversational intelligence like chatbots and the digital assistants we’ve mentioned already are also radically shifting the paradigms of what digital marketing can do.
So what’s next?
Ask yourself this, “Are you currently making the most of business automation?”
Like any professional accounting firm should, we do all we can to help our clients introduce efficiencies into their businesses through automation such as the use of Xero accounting software integrated with ReceiptBank smart software to extract data from invoices and push it into Xero to reduce keystrokes.
But it’s not just a case of subscribing to a software platform (we wish!). It’s a much deeper topic than that. Here are 3 tips to kicking off and implementing automation into your business:
- Kick the easy goals (processes) first
Pick rote tasks where there is no real human value-add. With automation you can eliminate human error whilst saving time (and money)
- Make automation a company culture
While that may sound a bit ‘corporate’, it's actually more applicable to small (more nimble) businesses than for the bigger end of town
- Start small and focus on one business function at a time
As an example, a dairy farmer we work with managed to (literally) automate the milking process - as you can imagine, the business efficiencies were huge
As that last example serves to demonstrate, no industry is immune from automation. And we think that’s exciting! That’s why we’re embracing it in our own business. If we had shied away from the increasing automation in the accounting industry we’d be of increasingly limited value to our clients.
We’re convinced that for the progressive business owners out there, automation offers some of the greatest opportunities in the new world. So, again, ask yourself this, what are you doing to make the most of this automation revolution?
As business advisors, we’re here to help. If you’re not sure where to start, why not get in touch with us and schedule a meeting with one of our experts.
Get in touch for a chat about your business today.
If you have any questions about automating your business. Contact us for professional business and accounting advise.