Now that so many business processes can be automated, significant amounts of time and money are there to be saved. There are increasing numbers of small business owners, who are gaining a competitive advantage through automation and outsourcing of internal processes. In a world where most industries are being disrupted by new technology and becoming paperless – so isn’t it about time that your accounting was too? You may love your excel spread sheets now but piles of receipts and invoices stacking up each year takes up unnecessary space and time.

Owners and founders of a new small business are unlikely to have many employees by their side in the early stages. Most often they find themselves juggling a large variety of roles – legal, bookkeeping, operations, and a host of other fields in which they are likely to have little to no training. Entrepreneurs, with bounds of drive and passion, embrace this believing it gives them more control. How they value their own time is open to question; but is spending time on mundane tasks really the best use of their talent and expertise?

The prospect of hiring full time employees to cover each field is not really an option in the early days, where margins can be rather thin. Business owners recognise that it is necessary to spend in order to grow, but how do you make sure your investment is as effective as possible?

A growing number of entrepreneurs are outsourcing and automating essential functions at a fraction of the cost of a full time equivalent. These services range from graphic designers and web developers, to bookkeepers and accountants.

By streamlining your business, outsourcing to freelancers and automating repetitive tasks, you can find yourself with a lot more time, allowing you to focus on the tasks for which you were always better suited. Best place to start? Analyse where you and your team excel and where there is room for improvement. Then you can look to fill the gaps by outsourcing, either on a one-off basis or with an on going service.

Choosing an accountant early on, who you trust and who understands your business is crucial. With the growing ‘value added’ service philosophy growing amongst accountants, gone are the days where you should shy away from consulting them for fear of a never-ending bill which charges by the hour. New fixed price subscription accountancy packages offer not just basic bookkeeping but business advice, strategy, forecasting, cashflow as well as funding advice.

One thing that most small business owners hate is keeping track of bills and invoices. Online services like Receipt Bank can help you save time by automatically extracting the data from invoices and receipts, where it will be securely stored for at least seven years. You can then transfer that data, from your Receipt Bank account, into a number of cloud based accounting packages. An added benefit of this – since you can access your submissions anytime, you can finally get rid of all of that paper!

You do not need to be an avid adopter of new technology to engage with these changes. As long as you know what you are looking for there is a service that can help, saving you from having to expand your full time workforce. Increasing productivity lowers cost of sale, which in turn increases profitability. You will quickly see the benefits of removing yourself from low-level jobs, as you can start to focus on how to drive your business forwards, and grow in the most effective way.

MarketInvoice have teamed up with Xero cloud accounting software and Receipt Bank – two businesses leading the way in this field – to bring you advice on finding the right accountant and streamlining your paperwork. In partnership with KPMG Small Business Accounting- whose fixed price accounting packages embrace this ‘value added’ philosophy- we’ve brought you The Accountancy Clinic: an access all areas troubleshooting ebook with answers to the most common accounting questions.