3 Ways Tech Can Keep You From Making Major Mistakes in Your Business
The people behind a company’s day-to-day operations don’t start each day with the intention of making mistakes. But they are human, and errors happen because of miscommunication, a lack of understanding, distractions, fatigue, and time crunches. Some mistakes are small, don’t take much time to correct, and are easy to bounce back from. Others can end up costing your business a lot of time, money, clients, and employees.
A few slip-ups will inevitably happen, but technology can help your business avoid the major ones. Automation and AI-based apps can help catch mistakes before they happen and take over processes susceptible to human error. Here are three ways you can rely on digital tools to avoid the consequences of large mistakes.
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1. Automate Your Payroll
Running payroll is a time-intensive task for many small business owners. Between time sheets, taxes, and vacation requests, there’s a lot to keep track of. And that can leave you vulnerable to calculation errors and missed changes in tax regulations. Small business payroll solutions automatically track your employees’ wages, including any overtime and compensation for leave.
Instead of taking hours to prepare and issue your staff’s paychecks, you can accomplish these tasks within minutes. Automated solutions will figure out the percentage of taxes your company needs to withhold. The app can seamlessly make adjustments according to changes at the federal, state, and local levels. You can avoid miscalculations of withholding amounts when those changes take effect.
Payroll solutions can also send the taxes your business owes to federal and state agencies according to schedule. If your city requires municipal payroll taxes, these solutions will handle that as well. Any quarterly or annual paperwork your business needs to send in can be automated through the platform.
You can also set up self-service options for your staff so they can select and manage their benefits. A payroll app can track how much to deduct from each employee’s paycheck for insurance and 401(k) plans, if offered. The benefits each person chooses or elects to change won’t get lost in a shuffle of paperwork. An app will organize all of this for you, and you’ll avoid many of the payroll errors that could otherwise happen.
2. Organize Your Time
With all of the projects and responsibilities you and your staff have, it’s common to forget and miss a few. Losing sight of items that need to get done and who’s working on what is easy to do. According to research on small businesses, 80% are missing out on digital tools. One of the main reasons small business owners don’t adopt software solutions is they perceive that they’re not relevant. However, project management and digital calendar apps can sync work responsibilities, meetings, and projects across your organization.
Given the plethora of online calendars and project management tools, you may want to experiment with different platforms. Some businesses prefer to try separate apps to see which ones have the best features and work well together. Other organizations prefer all-in-one solutions that combine project management and organization aids in a single platform. Or in some cases, software packages can offer separate tools that integrate and sync these functions.
Whichever route you go, you’ll be able to do such things as see everyone’s calendars and schedule meetings accordingly. Everyone will receive reminders of when meetings start, preventing late arrivals and missed appointments. You can also set reminders of when major events are happening or when you’ve got an important task that’s due.
Visually mapping out everything you have to do gives you a better sense of when you’re overtaxed and need to delegate. With project management tools, you and your staff can also record and outline all the steps and deliverables that must be completed. When you can see how much each team member is doing, you’ll be able to divvy up tasks and accountabilities more equitably. Project management apps simplify communication, showing when staff have completed work and what they still need to get done.
3. Implement Recovery Options
Working with software and tech can make things more convenient and efficient. At the same time, some of the problems associated with human error can transfer over to these tools. Just as people will forget where they placed a piece of paper, they may inadvertently delete a file. Or they may forget where they saved it and be unable to find the document with search tools.
This is where technology can step in and save your business from losing important information. File recovery and backup tools can restore those sales spreadsheets someone deleted by mistake. Proprietary and confidential documents that might have gotten lost can be located using version history tools.
These tools work in a similar way to what you may have noticed in applications like Microsoft Word when something crashes. When you reopen the application, it populates a sidebar with different versions of the document you were working on. You can view each version in the auto-saved timeline and see which one you want to restore. This lets you pick up where you left off and resave the file to a more appropriate location.
Version history tools can save and organize variations in the same file according to predetermined intervals, such as 30 days. This allows you to go back and reverse changes made to documents by mistake and restore previous versions.
Backup tools are an additional layer of protection, which you can configure to run each day. Many organizations schedule nightly backups of every file saved to the company network. These backups are kept in a separate network folder or server in case something needs to be restored.
You can also use cloud-based apps to back up files from individual computers. This is a convenient option if you don’t have space for a server or an in-house IT team.
In a fast-paced business world, there’s pressure to perform and wear many hats. When mistakes happen, the desire and need to get things done quickly are often contributing factors.
Although humans may want to accomplish more than they’re physically and mentally capable of, ambition alone won’t prevent mishaps. Choosing the right technology to automate simple but labor-intensive tasks can steer you away from errors that could harm your business.