bookkeepingA recent survey by enterprise resource planning (ERP) software provider, Applied Business, discovered that 1 in 4 SMEs frequently face business process errors. This includes essential administrative and operational tasks ranging from payroll to project management.

Respondents who still use manual operations acknowledged how time-consuming certain processes are; with their operational functionality putting them at risk of an incomplete or error-strewn CRM, improper financial management and, ultimately, delayed top line growth.

The survey found that time management is a significant problem with 45% of SMEs who process operations manually rating their time management as average.

39% of those surveyed confessed that accounting and invoicing takes up most of their time. The time consumed by manually operating these processes could result in money loss and incorrectly allocated expenditure.

1 in 4 respondents, with 0-100 employees and an average turnover of £50999k, said they constantly or frequently experience manual business practice errors. These statistics indicate that the tight margin limitations for smaller organisations are intensifying the need to eliminate these manual operational errors in order to avoid losing vital business and hindering their growth potential.

However, 45% of SMEs still prefer to manually operate their accounting, HR and payroll procedures.

Of the 34% of respondents who still carry out manual CRM processes, 50% said this consumes most of their time. Additionally, 28% said manual operational errors are frequently affecting their CRM. The ineffective application of CRM means businesses are failing to learn and record more about customers’ needs and behaviours in order to develop stronger relationships with them. Process1

The sector that uses manual processing the most was professional services which equated to almost half (49%) of all respondents. With industries in this sector focused on providing services, mainly to other corporate entities or public bodies, streamlining their CRM management seems to be essential to deliver a competitive advantage and retain existing clients through outstanding service.

Martin Craze at Applied Business says, “In our experience, it is still unbelievably commonplace for successful businesses to be reinforcing their legacy ERP software with manual processes.  This breeds disparate silos of information, leading to multiple versions of the truth across an organisation and repetitive rekeying of data. This increases the chances of mistakes being made at each stage of the process.  Implementing an integrated ERP solution can result in significant cost savings as well as noticeable improvements in customer service levels and therefore overall profitability”.