These strategies may help your business reduce costs, become more efficient and increase collaboration.
You’ve dealt with all of those end-of-financial-year, and soon you'll be on top of your tax return and other annual administrative chores. So it’s a good time to do some strategic thinking.
Printer vendor Konica Minolta's finance director Alan Kiloh says: “There is always pressure on businesses to reduce costs and be more efficient. By taking a strategic approach to planning for the new financial year, these businesses can make sure they are in the best position to do this in the right way.
“There are also other considerations such as security and environmental responsibility that can’t be ignored. Add to that the rapidly-evolving workplace and it’s clear that businesses will face some new challenges next financial year.”
He suggests five issues that should be considered – we’ve paraphrased his observations, and added some of our own.
1. Prepare for the changing nature of work
It can be a challenge for businesses to keep up with the changing nature of work, but one key is to focus on collaboration. The degree of collaboration is directly influenced by the design and construction of workplaces. Supporting flexible ways of working means greater opportunities for collaboration.
[A key challenge is creating a workplace that includes quiet, distraction-free areas for times when employees need to concentrate, without making them feel like they've been banished to a cupboard.]
2. Get the best new equipment
New and reliable equipment is an essential part of a productive business. Small businesses (the definition has been extended those with turnovers of up to $10 million) can write off most capital expenditure up to $20,000 again this year, so it’s a good time to buy the equipment you need.
[Remember that this is a per-item limit, so you can write off as many 19,999 items as you need and can afford. But if the item costs more than the limit, you must depreciate the whole of the cost – you can’t write off the first $20,000 and depreciate the rest.]
3. Reduce print costs
Optimised print services can reduce printing costs, free up capital and eliminate the burden that comes with supporting and maintaining printing infrastructure. It also provides a more comprehensive view of print usage, giving an opportunity to streamline workflows.
[A ‘managed print service’ (MPS) has almost as many definitions as there are providers. The printers used by many small businesses can be written off immediately, so the idea of substituting operational expenditure for capital expenditure is less appealing. However, a MPS can deliver savings for small businesses with relatively high print volumes and for medium and large businesses. Just watch the fine print, such as if the MPS expects you to commit to a minimum print volume]
4. Digitise processes
Digitisation can make business processes simpler and drive productivity, for example by making it easier to find and access documents and data. Businesses should consider document management solutions that include document capture to scan and convert printed materials into searchable and editable documents.
[While digitising documents certainly has benefits, consider also if you can go further and eliminate paper from your processes by going digital from the start. For example, you don't need leave request forms if employees make such requests via an app that feeds into your payroll or HR system.]
5. Adopt sustainable practices
Sustainable print policies create a point of difference for the business, reduce paper and energy consumption, and cut down on CO2 emissions. Energy-saving devices, sleep mode on electronic devices and turning lights off out of hours also help. Businesses should also review the entire supply chain to ensure all suppliers are providing ethically-sourced equipment and products.
[Why not do the right thing across your business? Cutting electricity consumption is good, and apart from any broader benefits it saves you money. You could use that saving to use renewable electricity, which probably costs more per kilowatt-hour but makes a bigger environmental difference.]