The new financial year presents great opportunities to review and assess current business practices and processes to make informed decisions about the year ahead.

The past 18 months have been disruptive yet transformative as companies have adapted to doing business during a pandemic. It’s demonstrated how essential digital transformation is to prepare businesses for the future by providing the flexibility and agility needed to adapt to significant changes in the market. SMEs especially need to invest in technologies and solutions that will help to achieve greater efficiencies, while making more time and resources available for growth opportunities.

The new financial year is the ideal time to assess business practices and identify potential improvements. There are four areas that SMEs should consider to help achieve this objective:

1. Solutions for better security and safety
Hybrid working environments that let staff operate remotely or from the office depending on business requirements will be part of the new reality for SMEs. As such, the number of workers and visitors onsite can constantly change. Having a clear understanding of who is onsite at any time is crucial for businesses to manage the security, health, and safety of staff, contractors, and visitors.

Visitor management systems that capture and store relevant information to a secure database in real time can greatly enhance existing security processes and help with contact tracing if needed. In addition, the latest solutions integrate temperature checking, which is essential in managing the health of people onsite during the coronavirus pandemic or flu season.  

2. Technology innovation for streamlined parcel shipping and receiving
Businesses that need to send products and packages to customers, suppliers, or partners, should consider a solution that can streamline and expedite the shipping process.

By removing time consuming, manual processes and implementing parcel shipping technologies, companies will be able to save time and money, increase productivity, and reduce delivery errors. Investing in a solution that aggregates pricing from multiple carriers will help save time making it easier to select the courier that meets their needs.

At the same time, as staff return to the office, it’s essential to invest in solutions that help reception and admin teams more effectively manage inbound parcels, particularly given the boom in online shopping and subsequent office deliveries.

Cloud-based solutions that leverage package receiving and tracking information can provide businesses with an accurate status report and chain of custody of inbound packages, letting staff eliminate time-wasting searches.

3. Leveraging automation for greater business efficiencies
SMEs must also invest in cloud-based automation solutions to successfully streamline processes and better prepare for the future, such as:

  • solutions that can manage end-to-end mailing workflows improve accuracy, compliance, and privacy at all times as they ensure the right message is delivered to the right recipient
  • print-to-mail solutions that automate printing workflows and manage the distribution of documents printed or digitally, depending on customer needs and requirements, helping to reduce the time and resources required
  • document management solutions that can be accessed remotely and provide the ability to download and create eForms in the field, making data accessible in real-time, increasing operational mobility, and speeding up business processes
  • technologies such as automated address printing systems that improve delivery information accuracy, which helps minimise the risk of incorrectly mailed items and privacy breaches due to mismatched customer details.

Automation can help businesses reduce time and money spent on repetitive tasks such as manually updating customer address databases, streamlining customer communications, and management. This will let them focus on the business, improving customer service, increasing productivity, and identifying other growth opportunities.

4. Government support
For many businesses, the new financial year also presents an opportunity to leverage government support, particularly after a challenging year. The Australian government’s recent $1.2 billion digital economy strategy announced as part of the federal budget includes a shopping list of spending measures, most of which will benefit the SME and tech communities. One of the most important outcomes of the package and the budget announcement is the extension to the government’s temporary instant asset write-off expensing scheme. The one-year extension to the scheme lets businesses immediately write-off the cost of assets they first use or install by June 30, 2023, provided they have a turnover or income of less than $5 billion.

The new financial year is an opportunity for SMEs to assess their business practices and reset for the year ahead. By leveraging new technologies and government support, SMEs can streamline their business practices and better position themselves for a successful new financial year.

Stephen Darracott is vice president and country manager for Pitney Bowes Japan, Australia and New Zealand.