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By Anneke Fourie*
No matter how big or how small your business, and whether you’re an entrepreneur or part of management – the same challenge faces all businesses: too much to do, too little time.
The answer to this problem is “Systems”. If a business is faced with a repeated business issue (which all businesses are), this can be addressed by a system. Management and entrepreneurs will always be stretched for time, but a system should be the answer to free up valuable time so as to be allocated to the right priorities.
One of the systems we don’t even think about as a system is an email system. No (formalised) business can fathom existing without an email system. Other systems are, however, overlooked by a business and a lot of valuable time is wasted on repeated issues, which could have been invested elsewhere.
As a rule, the bigger or more complex the business, the greater the need for a system with a wider scope of features.
Smaller businesses can also benefit immensely from good systems, perhaps with less functionality initially, but having the ability to add on features as the business grows. While smaller businesses may be able to adapt and change faster than larger concerns, it is important to remember that whatever the size of the business, decisions always need to be well-informed and based on accurate and up-to-date information. A system will provide this information. A business is never static; it is either growing or shrinking. A wise entrepreneur will always know the current status of their business.
Why should you invest in a system?
Systems save time. The problem is that the initial setup could require time investment and in light of this, the benefit of having a system can get overlooked.
Systems can grow a business. The right systems save time and free up mental energy, giving you the opportunity to grow your business instead of repeating old tasks.
What should you systemise?
Tasks that are performed regularly – invoicing, payroll calculations, depreciation calculations, interest calculations, etc.
Tasks that take a lot of time – sales invoices, cashbook capture, tax preparation etc.
Four main challenges when implementing a system:
- Too many choices
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the challenge is in selecting the right system that is suited to your specific business needs. It is imperative that you understand and define your business processes, following which you can start looking at a system that meets these requirements.
- Technical issues
Set up a project plan to use as an implementation road map. The project plan sets a timeline for everything, from hardware requirements, resource controls, data conversions and data entry. This will limit the emergence of technical issues further down the line as a result of incomplete or piecemeal planning.
- Data quality
Garbage in, garbage out. It is important to consolidate data from different sources and ensure data quality. It is advised to have someone guide you through the process (vendor etc).
- Willingness to adapt
Successful implementation of any system depends on the user’s willingness to adapt to the new system and processes. Training is an important step to ensure successful transition as it empowers users to leverage the full benefit of the new system.
Financial reporting and international financial reporting standards; the provision of tailor-made strategies; expert guidance on all finance-related aspects of establishing and running a business.
- As part of the Arro Collective, Anneke Fourie focuses on financial reporting and international financial reporting standards; the provision of tailor-made strategies; and expert guidance on all finance-related aspects of establishing and running a business.
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