The running of your back office is a complex task but is an important one, one that can often go unreviewed and unrenewed; but then how do you know if it is working at its optimum? It may be that costs have begun to get out of control over the years or that you and your team are unknowingly spending much more time than you need to spend on running it.
By standing back and taking a good hard look at the way in which your organisation is running its back office, you can take steps to make sure you are optimising your system and moving toward running a flawless back office.
More modern best practice in back office management is embracing the move to a widely digital run process. This however is not necessarily embraced by all agencies yet and this, along with some other improvements, could really get your office in order and running smoothly.
The first step you can take is to evaluate. Take a step back and really identify the specifics of your back office that are causing inefficiency. Be critical and bring to light anything that is causing issue, big or small, current, or potential issues in the future. Where do these arise? What is the cost of these inefficiencies? The more specific your analysis, the easier it will be to rectify these issues.
This one can be applied to all further points, communication can help streamline, organise, help you be more efficient, and is essential when getting your whole system automated.
The practice that is in place in your organisation may be getting the job done. However no one person runs the whole operation alone and there could be issues that higher management, for example, could never identify; it’s not stopping the job from being completed but it could be improved upon. Communication between layers of the organisation both vertically and horizontally can identify issues that may need to be addressed. By encouraging communication in the running of your back office, you can whittle down anything that is hindering your company’s flow.
Focus on what matters - is there anything that your back office spends time and money concentrating on that may not be beneficial, anything that has become part of a process that you can actually do without? Often process becomes habit and then becomes outdated. If you can eliminate these aspects of your back office, you can save time and effort better spent elsewhere.
This may seem like an obvious one but your organisation levels can always be improved. Ensuring that you have an organised process set in place for your back office is essential. An enforced, clear, well thought out process for staff to follow can prove integral to running smoothly. This is not to say however that this can not be altered; from communicating with staff, the whole process can improve its organisation.
Scheduling is an important part of your back office organisation strategy, especially when it comes to money, raising and paying invoices and keeping on top of your cashflow, so put a schedule together with your team to help everyone stay organised.
4) Get Automated
Having an automated back office is almost commonplace in many organisations, to some extent at least. Having an automated system for processing data can reduce the amount of human error and in turn the amount of time and money spent amending said errors, as well as finding that having all data stored automatically is a more secure process. The fact that your system is becoming more efficient, more controlled and more reliable will transfer to your customers and clients, passing on the efficiency.
Getting automated also means that employees are able to work remotely if need be, and with the surge of flexible working hours and more now than ever before, a rise in the number of individuals wishing to work from home, this could well make your management tasks easier.
To every extent that you can, ensure that you are using as few different software packages and systems as possible. There are plenty of systems available to help you take control of your back office but in the interest of streamlining and encouraging clarity, if you can access and store all of your data, and work from one software system, the likelihood of mistakes, data loss, frustration and time wasted will all be much reduced.
Centralising to one place is also great for security; every action is done on one (or two) operating systems, leaving less scope for inaccuracies.
Running multiple systems this way can cause difficulties for your workforce and can also easily become costly. For example New Millennia offer payroll, invoicing, credit control, funding and take care of all legal contracts. Each of these areas needs to be run smoothly and controlling them under one umbrella could be a step closer to flawless.
Without realising, quite often agencies become a little over stretched, with staff working on more projects and accounts than they are able to do at their best. Taking into consideration some of the above points, your staff should be less stretched, more organised, and able to use time usually spent manually processing, to make a day much more efficient and profitable for the company. Less manual tasks for staff to undertake can capitalise on the talent of your staff and make those specific talents and skills particularly beneficial for your organisation.
The ultimate aim is for your back office to simply run more smoothly. We are all a lot less patient than we once were, both agencies and clients have little time at all, never mind time for delays or extra, often unnecessary work to be completed. Streamlining your back office in simple ways like this can ensure less waiting, less fuss and less mundane tasks for you and your team.