Time and Money Savings in the Cloud

Most small business owners struggle with “work-life” balance. Statutory compliance requirements are exhausting and competition is ever present. When times get tough, there is a tendency as a business owner to work harder in the business, resulting in less free time or at the expense of necessary administration. Some of the pain points that a small business is likely to experience include:

  • Processing administrative work after hours.
  • Slow to invoice causing cash flow issues
  • Stressed and time poor resulting in simple admin mistakes (e.g. underquoting)
  • Losing track of contacts, job information and associated paperwork
  • Misplacing receipts, diary and other necessary paperworkLife can become a lot easier and less stressful with the assistance of cloud technology. Many of the manual, paper-based administration and job management tasks can be replaced with online, cloud based tools that are accessible anywhere, anytime on a phone or tablet. Xero, cloud based software is stored on a service provider’s remote servers instead of on your hard drive so you don’t need a high-end computer to access information. In addition, cloud based programs are easy to use and can save you many hours by easily sharing information across multiple devices (e.g. PC, tablet & smartphone). Integrating business applications reduces the requirement to re-enter information.Case Study: Priority PlumbingDamien and Kate Thomas from Priority Plumbing have embraced cloud computing. Priority Plumbing run a successful business in Adelaide specialising in non-invasive & non-destructive leak detection. Whilst the business is successful, they struggled with work-life balance, working all day in the business and long nights and weekends to manage the paperwork that comes hand-in- hand with professional plumbing services. Damien was using a diary to manage the schedule of 3 vehicles and forever juggling customer needs with plumber availability whilst working in the business himself.

    Priority Plumbing employed the services of Catalyst Cloud Solutions to educate them on the benefits of using cloud-based technology and assist in reducing the paperwork headache. After listening to the owner’s frustrations and analysing the current business systems, Catalyst recommended:

    • Establishing an integrated accounting/ job tracking/scheduling system
    • Sourcing a paperless solution for OH&S compliance.
      In March, Priority Plumbing converted their financials to Xero with the intention of integrating with job tracking software some time in the future. Xero is a cloud based accounting application that can be accessed from anywhere internet is available, on any device. It seamlessly integrates with hundreds of cloud based business applications, cutting down administration & double entry of data. Xero also gave Priority the ability to invoice immediately upon completion of work, raise quotes and (once successful) convert to an invoice.From August this year, Priority Plumbing looked at options for job management software that integrated with Xero. Priority began trialling GeoOp: a cloud based job management and scheduling application that seamlessly shares information. Upon completion of a free trial, Damien’s diary has been replaced with GeoOp a real-time scheduling tool that allows Priority to manage both staff ands clients to optimise productivity. The benefits of GeoOp include:

• Jobs update live so any change is published immediately
• Real-time jobsheets store every piece of information about a job
• Invoice & quote directly from GeoOp plus integration with Xero
• GPS tracking to minimise travel plus provide maps and directions
• Simple and easy to use & available on any device for staff to access on smart phone or tablet.

The remaining issue for Priority Plumbing is to introduce paperless OH&S documentation. There are numerous offerings available to the construction industry. One affordable solution comes from “Safety Culture”. A Townsville based company that have developed a tablet/smartphone based application that allows users to develop and complete any number of quality, safety & inspection reporting documents, without the need to print. Plus, it links with GeoOp, allowing users to save job related OH&S documentation for a specific job in one place…. In the cloud! Priority Plumbing are currently trialling this software. Priority Plumbing continues on their journey to make the most of their time. Maximising staff productivity to generate revenue and minimising the administration burden is an achievable and worthwhile goal. Cloud computing can help to achieve this goal.

Conclusion

Any small business owner will tell you there are not enough hours in the day.. most days! Cloud technology is helping thousands of companies streamline their everyday processes. Many of the manual paper-based business tools can be replaced with cloud based tools that are accessible on any worksite, at any time on a smartphone or tablet. These include:

• Terms and conditions documents • Compliance Documents
• Job tracking sheets
• Invoice books

• Quote Books
• Diary & address books
• Inspection reports
• Timesheets
• SWMS/ Risk Assessment documents • Receipt

Catalyst Cloud Solutions are an Adelaide based Xero Industry Partner  specialising in Xero Ecosystem setup, conversion and training to SMEs. Our goal is to empower business owners to take control of their financial information to make informed business decisions.

Catalyst are happy to offer a free one hour consultation to review current business processes with a view to identifying frustrations and recommending opportunities for improvement.

Scott Elder – Catalyst Cloud Solutions catalystcloudsolutions.com.au M: 0458 855 958