Future-Proofing Your Business For COVID-19 And The Oncoming RecessionJamie Allen
Despite the recent lifting of the national lockdown, many are still reeling from the downturn in the economy and increases in redundancies which can be reasonably attributed directly to COVID-19. While so far the process has been painful, I fear that the impact is still largely in its infancy as the impact has been somewhat mitigated by government schemes and grant opportunities, which will soon begin to fade away.
On a more optimistic note, if there is one thing recent times have taught us it is that market conditions, both economic and social can and have changed very quickly and many businesses have always had the drive and resilience to adapt and survive adverse conditions time and again. In recent times we have seen recessions, political disruption and pandemics, all of which have had a negative impact on our economy. Despite this many of the wheels have kept turning and businesses have still been able to make the most of business opportunities which remained or even arose as a result of adverse events.
There will be many businesses who will continue on an upward trend, however, there will probably also be some larger businesses which may well see their revenues streams and/or pipelines shrink, necessitating them to make several changes to recover. Costs will certainly need to be more closely controlled going forward and spending reduced in the here and now. In our line of work, the focus in this process would be around ensuring those businesses have the most cost-effective and automated finance systems in place to make this process easier to implement and manage. It seems the government agrees with this pathway going forward, given they have recently unveiled a program for SME businesses to invest in new technology and have provided advice in this area.
If your business has or is feeling the strain and historically you have invested in an ERP system such as Microsoft, SAP, or Oracle systems at a significant product and consultancy expense, it may now be a good idea for you to consider if this high ongoing expense is still required. There is a plethora of excellent mid-tier cloud products that will easily deal with high levels of complication, volume, bespoke integrations, and consolidated reporting with ease despite being far more affordable. If they are set up well, there is also a large possibility that they will provide greater levels of automation and efficiency than you may have achieved with your ERP solution in any case. Historically we have assisted with various migrations from various larger or ERP systems provided by SAP, Iris, SAGE, Microsoft etc. and as such are well placed to provide advice in this area and would highly recommend investing time to look at this area of your business.
If your business is continuing on an upward trajectory or even maintaining a position of health, there may still be space to use this initiative to improve upon or streamline your existing setup. We have seen quite a few E-Commerce Businesses recently with various online sales channels struggle to deal with certain levels of volume and there are ways to solve this issue by aggregating transactions, posting them into your accounts in a leaner way whilst still maintaining the integrity of your data for analytical reporting.
As I have mentioned before, the pandemic does seem to have inspired a desire for business owners to know their numbers as they happen. Things move very quickly and any slight fluctuations in performance can be sorely felt, especially now. Having all your reporting data in one place and immediately available is critical to ensuring you make the best decisions possible in what is a volatile market.