Could Your Christmas Dream Turn Into A New Year Nightmare?

Our dreams of a white Christmas may be close to coming true, if the view from my office window is anything to go by. But as the arctic conditions show no signs of easing, is your business equipped with the right systems to continue seamlessly during an adverse weather event?

Unfortunately, for many businesses, this isn’t the case. A survey carried out highlighted that over half of senior finance professionals in the UK have experienced disruption to their processes as a result of bad weather.

Anyone in business will tell you that the one thing you need to be certain of is cashflow. It doesn’t matter how many invoices you send out if the Royal Mail van carrying them is stuck in snow. Even worse, that same van may be carrying the cheques that customers are sending to you.

Similarly, if you’re not able to pay your suppliers on time this may affect your relationship with them going forward and could eventually lead to you being issued with late payment penalties.

An easy way to avoid all of this unnecessary stress is to remove paper from your processes. For example, utilising document management technology to create, approve and send invoices electronically means that you no longer have to be reliant on the postman, and, as they’re delivered to your customers almost immediately, the order-to-cash process speeds up dramatically.

As paper is so easily lost, damaged and destroyed, this raises important security, compliance and business continuity concerns. Document management systems provide the electronic and secure indexing, storage and retrieval of documents. Really effective ones also allow the electronic creation, automated delivery and electronic authorisation of documents so that the need to print, photocopy, post and file paper is eliminated – along with the considerable costs that accompany these time-consuming manual processes.

Having all of your documents stored electronically also means that they are backed up in a secure archive and can be retrieved in seconds. When you’re sitting in a warm, dry office this doesn’t seem too important. When you’re standing in a waterlogged office, staring at the soggy remains of the last three years’ invoices it’s a completely different matter.

Recent floods have shown how easy it is for adverse weather to ruin businesses and lives. An electronic document management system will not only help avoid disruption to your finance processes, but can play a vital role in preventing your business from becoming a statistic should the weather turn against you.

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Dean Dickinson is Managing Director of Advanced Business Solutions, formerly COA Solutions. Dean has been in the finance software business since 1990. He was part of the senior management team at QSP/Arelon prior to the acquisition by COA Solutions at which time he became Deputy Managing Director for the business as a whole. Since the acquisition of COA Solutions by Advanced Computer Software Group in February 2010, Dean has become Managing Director for Advanced Business Solutions. He is a specialist in consultancy and has a strong knowledge of business processes within a high volume/high value environment.