With digital transformation changing departments and companies everywhere, the phrase “work smarter, not harder” has never been more accurate.
The digital transformation process is all about focusing on the customer experience and updating frontline, customer-facing processes. But business leaders shouldn’t lose sight of updating the tools back-office employees use on the job — a critical, but sometimes overlooked, component of any successful digital transformation journey.
Your back office departments, specifically HR and accounting, impact how your business operates. And a business that operates smarter is a successful business on the forefront of digital transformation.
It all begins (and ends) with employee buy-in
The success of your digital transformation journey hinges on the willingness of your HR and accounting employees to adopt new technology. So before introducing back-office solutions that will forever change the way they work, loop them into the process and set expectations. Here are a few suggestions to begin:
- Prepare your staff. Having employees who are averse to new tech is a surefire way to sink any digital transformation effort. Although this is a crucial part of choosing talent to hire, make sure your talent has the training necessary to use the new technologies entering your business.
- Consider your culture. Your business’ culture will greatly impact your transformation. Engage your employees by explaining how—and why—the transformation journey is necessary, and how things will be better at the end.
- Cultivate relationships and trust. Throughout the transformation process, it is crucial that your employees can openly express their concerns and questions. Create an open-door policy that encourages employees to be completely involved.
HR sets an example for employees
The HR department is in charge of your most valuable asset: your people. Once HR is on board, it will benefit from new tools and technologies that make the back office run smoothly and efficiently—and the entire workforce will benefit by extension.
- Better performance tracking, higher satisfaction. HR will be able to leverage new digital tools to more efficiently track employees performance, and intervene if there’s a problem. The less time HR staff spend on process, the more they can spend on what truly matters—keeping employees engaged.
- Tech-savvy recruitment and onboarding: A commitment to digital transformation allows business leaders to stay on top of new tools that could transform how they recruit and onboard talent.
- Improve employee retention. Technology is not only changing how businesses operate; it’s also changing how your employees want to do their jobs. A sympathetic HR department that accommodates employees’ wishes for, say, a better work-life balance can have a huge impact on retention. According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workforce survey, 53 percent of employees find that a job that gives them greater work-life balance is ‘very important’ to them. One way to help? Provide digital tools to make it easy for employees to pursue remote working opportunities.
Accounting saves time and money
HR isn’t the only back-office department that can reap benefits from new tools and technologies. Chances are, your accounting department is ripe for disruption, as well.
- Automate time-consuming tasks. Consider invoicing, which can eat up a lot of time and resources, especially for large enterprises. Aberdeen research suggests that, on average, businesses spend more than $15 and 9.7 days to process an invoice. Modern, cloud-based accounting software can eliminate costly, time-consuming accounting hassles.
- Accounting from the cloud. Moving your ledgers and other financial documents to the cloud will free your team from paper, giving them access to financial and business information whenever and wherever they need it.
- Improve transparency. Digitization of the entire payment process gives you the ability to remain transparent about your business dealings, accounting process, and the movement of money. Research shows transparency can increase employee engagement and productivity, and digital tools have made this easier.
While most digital transformation is consumer-facing, you cannot forget the transformations accounting and HR need to go through to maintain success. When making the move, remember these benefits, the need for automation within your business, and the need to keep with the times. After all, a business that cannot make time to keep up is a business that will fall behind.
A version of this article was first published on Sage Advice.