How mobile workers can become even more efficient

mobile workers

With almost 70 per cent of Australians working remotely at least once each week and 50 per cent for at least half the week, organisations are under pressure to help remote workers be just as productive out of the office as they would be in the office. This means businesses need to digitalise and automate workflows and forms.

When people aren’t physically in the office, filling out forms or manually signing off invoices to be paid can be difficult. This slows down the process of doing business dramatically and creates an extra paperwork burden when they’re next in the office. This can be overcome by introducing digitalisation and automation of processes to allow approvals and authorisations or gather and send information, regardless of whether they’re in the office, at home, or on the other side of the world.

Many organisations have long offered access to email and company files via mobile devices. However, there are some key business functions that many companies have yet to optimise for mobile workers. Two of the key areas ripe for mobile enablement are invoice management and forms.

Accounts payable (AP) automation can digitise the entire process of managing invoices, from key information capture and extraction, invoice and purchase order matching to routing the invoice through approval channels. When the approver receives an electronic invoice, they can simply sign it off digitally without having to physically print, sign or manually move hardcopy invoices from desk to desk. The AP solution can then upload the details to the business’s enterprise resource management system (ERP) automatically, removing the need for double handling or keying in details; processes which can be fraught with error.

Digitalising AP process results in so many benefits. For example, it can help employees save time, reduce errors, avoid duplication, track information, and work more efficiently. It can also let organisations leverage on-time payment discounts because invoices no longer languish on someone’s desk waiting for a signature; they can be signed off and paid immediately to meet payment deadlines.

Mobile workers can also benefit significantly from eForms (electronic forms), which replace traditional paper-based forms. eForms reduces steps with pre-filled or auto-filled information. However, their power is in the ability to add automated workflows and integrated with other systems.

This is especially useful for the mobile workforce that is on customer or project sites and is required to complete forms. Paperwork such as site induction, safety, compliance or progress forms among many others can be completed digitally, and immediately transmitted back to the office for processing. This lets consecutive tasks be actioned or instigated faster while offering a more streamlined approach to overcome the potential for errors that comes with deciphering people’s handwriting, losing pieces of paper, or forgetting to fill out key details.

eForms also let workers capture photographic evidence of the facts asserted in the form, and sign-on-glass technology allows the capture of a physical signature directly on the actual form. This replaces the need to print the form, sign it, then scan it back in.

eForms deliver greater efficiency, fewer errors, and a vastly improved customer experience. The instant information access in the office helps resolve enquires and action subsequent tasks sooner – including customer disputes and invoice payments.

Mobile workers who can manage invoices and forms on the go, simply using their smart device, can be more productive and efficient. They can work more accurately and avoid the frustrations that come with manual, paper-based processes that often tie them to a desk.

Scott Crosby, CEO, Upstream