Nine ways you can use automation software to save time, so you can focus on high-value work.
Automation software can help you streamline jobs like tracking your income and expenses in spreadsheets. Writing social media posts that you manually post to your profiles. Creating an invoice using Excel or Word. Or sending email after email to follow up on a late payment.
Do any of these examples sound familiar? These tasks are consuming your precious time, removing you from more important, high-value work.
Think of what you could get done if you were able to free up the hours spent on these kinds of tasks every week. Enter automation software.
But what exactly is automation software? Should you even care?
Read on for the answers to these questions. Plus, an overview of nine business tasks you can automate with several automation software tools.
Automation Software: What It Is
Automation software is software that (you guessed it!) automates specific processes that would otherwise require manual input. Common examples include:
- Email marketing software to send emails to a large list instead of typing each email individually
- Cloud accounting software to track income and expenses, create invoices and send late payment reminders
- Social media software to schedule posts in advance that are automatically published to your profiles
Automation Software: How It Helps Your Business
There are many benefits to using automation software, including:
- Time: It removes you from time-consuming tasks, so you have more time to concentrate on high-impact work. For example, instead of sending follow-up emails you could find new ways to boost productivity (e.g., 50-minute focus method) so you can get more done in less time.
- Cost-savings: It can help you save money. You can get more done without having to hire staff. It also lowers operational costs by helping you uncover redundant processes.
- Improved process: It helps you standardize processes, so you achieve consistent results over time and make fewer mistakes. For example, you can reduce common invoicing mistakes (more on that later).
9 Tasks You Can Automate with Automation Software
Here are nine tasks you can automate and the software that will help you along the way:
If you still use Word and Excel to create invoices, you know just how tedious this process can be. Creating invoices takes time and is prone to error. Just think back to the time you forgot to include the purchase order (PO) number, addressed the invoice to the wrong person or failed to specify payment terms.
Some of these mistakes may not seem like a big deal, but they can be costly. For example, not specifying payment terms can lead to an invoice that is weeks overdue. Or failing to include a PO number when working with a large company can lead to back-and-forth emails and unwanted delays.
Even more, any errors you need to fix will require making adjustments before going through the lengthy process of saving the document as a PDF, attaching it to an email, typing a message and hitting send.
Then, there’s also the issue of sending late payment reminders via email, which leads to awkward money talk. These conversations can be a huge mental drain when you’re already anxious about getting paid.
AUTOMATION SOFTWARE FOR INVOICING
Luckily, the right cloud accounting software automates your invoicing process by letting you:
- Create an invoice in no time with ready-to-go invoice templates and fields that are pre-populated. For example, you won’t have to worry about calculating the total invoice value or even inputting the date. Plus, you’ll have access to a “Duplicate” invoice feature so you can simply copy an existing invoice and start editing without having to create a new one from scratch.
- Set up recurring invoices that go out on a monthly schedule without lifting a finger.
- Create and send automatic late payment reminders, so you don’t have to worry about following up.
FreshBooks is one such cloud accounting provider. Besides invoicing, you have access to income and expenses tracking, project management tools and time tracking.
2. TAX FILING
If you’re a freelancer, you won’t have to worry about payroll taxes, but you will have to pay self-employment taxes. Self-employment taxes are filed quarterly, and it’s up to you to set aside cash to pay them.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not tracking your income and expenses (or waiting to the last minute). Failing to track your finances properly when you do track them and not setting aside enough money for taxes are other common pitfalls.
You’re left scrambling during tax season as you wade through bank statements, look for receipts and try to find the cash to pay Uncle Sam. That’s not a position you want to be in. But it’s one you can avoid by using the right software. – Read more
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