4 Strategies That Maximize Productivity Gains for Automated Workflows

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

There is no question that automated workflows help organizations make the most of their resources.

Busy office

Automated workflows help people accomplish more and spend less time on manual tasks. 

But it’s possible for workflow automation initiatives to get lackluster results. One study of local councils in the UK found some benefits from workflow automation, but it also found that only about one-fifth of local councils have future plans for investing further in automated workflows. 

Many factors affect how successful workflow automation projects are, and some factors are more malleable and controllable than others. Many of the UK councils, for example, are grappling with slashed budgets, and this certainly puts a damper on workflow automation. But in any organization where automated workflows are being implemented, four strategies can help ensure that maximum productivity gains are realized. 

1. Gain Buy-In from Leadership

Only when all personnel see the value of improving efficiency and the potential gains and ROI of workflow automation can a successful automation project ensue. C-level executives, department leaders, and on down through front-line workers must all understand the value of automation. They should also commit to the up-front costs (in time and resources) that will allow the organization to benefit over the long term.

2. Build Awareness of Workflow Automation Initiatives

Buy-in is necessary, but so is communication. Everyone must understand that workflow automation projects will take place, what the expected time frames are, and the expected benefits. People tend to fear what they don’t understand, and if they don’t understand workflow automation, they’re unlikely to have any enthusiasm about it. Building awareness and communicating plans with maximum transparency are ways to build support and readiness for when the projects commence.

3. Prioritize and Order Processes to Be Automate

List

The hardest part about a workflow automation initiative may be
deciding what to tackle first.

Trying to automate everything at once is usually a bad idea. Rather, organizations should prioritize efforts and choose an initial workflow automation project that is doable, and that will demonstrate positive results right away. Each successful workflow automation initiative keeps momentum going for further initiatives. Start too big and the workforce may be overwhelmed. Start too small, and everyone may wonder what all the fuss is about.

4. Train Workflow Users

Finally, providing training to workflow users is essential. Sure, automated workflows should make logical sense, and they should be easy to understand. But providing hands-on training helps build confidence in workflow users and also informs them of how to handle inevitable hiccups in the automation process. Don’t be tempted to skimp on workflow training. Like automation itself, training is an up-front investment that yields benefits that only get better over time.

Workflow automation can transform a nearly endless variety of business processes from awkward, needlessly bureaucratic activities to sleek workflows that do away with paper and endless status phone calls and move data to where it needs to be instantly. It requires a change in thinking, and it may require convincing people who are skeptical. 

When leadership buy-in, employee awareness, a good prioritization plan, and a strong training program are part of the initiative, workflow automation can transform processes. They can also increase efficiency and productivity, and inspire new ideas for automated workflows.

PerfectForms is workflow automation software that is flexible, powerful, scalable, and that requires no coding, so you won’t have to hire a programmer. It can be used to automate the simplest to the most complex work processes, allowing businesses of all sizes and in all industries to streamline, automate, and increase efficiency and productivity. Did you know you can test drive PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial? Why not see for yourself how easy workflow automation can be? And if you have any questions, we invite you to contact us at any time.

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BPM: Why You Can’t ‘Set It and Forget It’

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Business Process Management (BPM) is a broad term that encompasses the many ways we automate and manage business processes to make them as efficient as possible.

Business performance chalkboard

BPM aims at optimizing the processes that make businesses run.

But sometimes BPM initiatives fall short. There can be many reasons for this. Perhaps the BPM project was driven more by intuition than by hard data. Or maybe the people who operate the processes haven’t been sufficiently trained. 

Sometimes BPM initiatives fail to deliver over the long term because they have been established, launched, and never revisited. BPM is a discipline and, in some organizations, requires changes to the very culture of the workplace. Like most disciplines, BPM requires revisiting, refining, and relearning so that a pattern of continuous improvement emerges. 

Continuous Improvement Requires Periodic Re-Evaluation

To make sure you’re getting the most from your BPM initiative, you must collect data from the processes it includes and evaluate that data on a regular basis. Have completion times kept up with expectations? Have new bottlenecks shown up? Have new people been brought in without sufficient training?

Just as you have to check the oil and tires and do regular maintenance on your car if you want it to serve you well over the years, so must you “maintain” your BPM initiatives. Otherwise they can slow down or even break down completely. 

Use Data Plus Human Knowledge to Improve BPM

BPM is data driven. That means that if you expect a tweak to the process to improve efficiency and instead find out that it hinders efficiency, you must rethink the tweak and figure out why it isn’t working as expected. 

Question mark

Data may drive BPM, but humans figure out how to make it better. 

Human knowledge is valuable in BPM, because people experienced in the processes that make up BPM know a thing or two. Not all of that knowledge is captured in the data collected by your BPM software. But just as you can’t solely rely on numbers, you can’t solely rely on hunches to drive BPM. 

Actual humans may carry out many of the steps in a process, and there are many times when improving a process does not involve changing or upgrading technology. Improving a process could require a decidedly low-tech solution such as moving two collaborating departments physically closer together in the workspace, for example.

Your BPM Software Should Have Your Back

The right BPM software makes all the difference. In addition to being flexible, scalable, and powerful, it should allow you to collect the data necessary to make meaningful decisions about how to continuously improve processes. It should include data such as completion times (collected from process beginning and ending times), rates of production, and return on investment. And it should do so without your team having to manually enter metrics.

Likewise, your BPM software should have strong reporting features that allow you to take the data your processes collect, manage it, and make reports that deliver insights into what works well and where there is room for improvement. 

PerfectForms powers business processes using a no-code interface. It is flexible, powerful, and scalable so that businesses can create processes that are custom tailored for their needs. PerfectForms also makes it easy to gather data from processes so you can evaluate them and engage in continuous improvement. Finally, PerfectForms has outstanding reporting capabilities that turn data into actionable insights. Data across multiple workflows can be summarized in a single report, giving you full visibility into how your processes work. 

Watch the PerfectForms demo video to see how it transforms clunky, inefficient manual processes into sleek, automated workflows that capture data and facilitate continuous improvement. And if you have any questions about PerfectForms, we encourage you to contact us at any time.  

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Workflow Software Helps You Accelerate Recruiting and Hiring

Thursday, August 15th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Automated workflows and new employee recruiting go together naturally. 

Career fair

Whether you use job fairs or headhunters, the right workflows
accelerate the hiring process.

The hiring process has a lot of moving parts, but strong workflow management can make sure all the parts work as they should while reducing errors and making the process as efficient as it can be. Other benefits of using automated workflows in the hiring process include reduction of paperwork, reduction of status phone calls and emails, time savings, and transparency. 

Here are several types of recruiting workflows that can make the hiring process far less painful.

Workflows for Candidate Sourcing

Candidate sourcing begins with creation of an accurate job description. Different companies source job candidates differently, and different types of roles within the same company may be sourced in different ways. 

However a company decides to source candidates for a particular position, the right workflow software makes it easy to create a standardized workflow to ensure that ads are placed in all relevant publications, or that all relevant recruiting agencies and websites know about your open position. Such a workflow can be great for reducing duplication of effort.

Workflows for Shortlisting Candidates

How the hiring team creates a shortlist of candidates will also be particular to the company and to the role. Creating a standardized, automated workflow that allows hiring team members to score candidates helps ensure every team member’s voice is heard, and that no candidate is overlooked. When a workflow is used for scoring and shortlisting candidates, it’s easier to ensure that personal bias doesn’t creep into the hiring process.

Workflows for Coordinating Interviews

Coordinating interviews for candidates on your shortlist is a task that is well-suited for automated workflows. Whether the interviews will be in person or via video conference, having a workflow for scheduling interviews, knowing which questions to ask, scoring interviews, and moving on to the next candidate are helpful. 

Job interview

Coordinating job interviews helps ensure the right people are
there to meet and talk to job candidates.

With the right workflow, any hiring team member at any time can check on whether a candidate interview has been scheduled, can prepare for interviews, and can share feedback on interviews. It’s a great way to ensure that all hiring team members stay on the same page at all times.

Workflows for Making and Closing Offers

Likewise, a workflow for creating job offer letters, calculating compensation offered, and tracking the status of offers made can save valuable time and duplication of effort. If an offer is turned down, this can be recorded in the workflow for later reference. Once an offer has been made and accepted, the workflow can prompt further actions, such as scheduling the new hire’s first day of work.

Workflows for New Employee Onboarding

New employee onboarding is an essential part of the hiring process. How onboarding is handled has a major effect on how likely the new employee is to stay with the company. Automated workflows ensure that no steps are left out, and they can even lighten the new employee’s burden by making online forms easy to fill out with autocomplete, and auto-population of form fields.

Whether or not you create automated workflows for recruiting and hiring, you should create a workflow for onboarding because of the many benefits such a workflow offers to your new employee and your HR team.

Creating customized recruiting and hiring workflows requires great workflow software. PerfectForms fits the bill. With PerfectForms, no coding is required, and you can create your own forms and workflows from scratch or use the included templates. PerfectForms also integrates easily with spreadsheets and databases, so data can be collected and stored easily. And it offers powerful reporting features so you can make sense of your data and gather valuable insights. 

We invite you to watch the PerfectForms demo video to see it in action. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time. 

Workflow Automation is the Answer to These 4 Questions

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Many people believe that workflow automation is something that’s only available to big enterprises. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Women interior designers

Workflow automation may disproportionately benefit smaller businesses.

Also true is that smaller businesses can benefit disproportionately from workflow automation. They can do things more efficiently and reduce error rates while maintaining the agility possessed by smaller enterprises. 

Today’s no-code workflow software is accessible to businesses of all sizes and all types. It allows companies to automate processes without hiring a programmer, and quickly start enjoying the benefits of workflow automation. Workflow automation is the answer to several common business questions, including these four.

1. How Can We Reduce Error Rates?

If a number needs to end up in a spreadsheet or a database, how does it get there? Does someone copy it from a catalog, or have a worker who knows the number write it down? If so, it’s easy to see how errors can enter the process. 

Workflow automation uses workflow software to prevent these problems. Numbers entered into a workflow can be checked for accuracy before being sent to a spreadsheet, database, or other processing system. The same is true for numbers scanned using a barcode or QR scanner. 

Standard business forms that are online rather than on paper do away with errors introduced due to bad penmanship, lost, or damaged forms. Workflow automation is perhaps the best single solution for reducing error rates.

2. How Can We Overcome the Limitations of Spreadsheets?

Spreadsheets are wonderful, flexible tools. But when they are shared, how do you account for changes to them? It’s not easy to ensure that everyone is working from the same version of a spreadsheet at all times, but workflow automation can help. 

Man appearing confused while looking at his laptop screen

Shared spreadsheets can cause problems if not managed properly.

Rather than entering data into a spreadsheet, users can enter the data into an automated workflow, which updates the spreadsheet while recording every input. That way it’s easy to learn if numbers have been changed, and if so, by whom. Workflow automation makes spreadsheets far more useful and accurate.

3. How Can We Get Invoices Out the Door Sooner?

Invoices that are late being sent out affect cash flow, so it’s crucial that companies send them out promptly. An automated workflow for creation and distribution of invoices can ensure that invoices go out on time, every time. 

Multiple users can enter invoice data into a workflow, and the workflow uses the data to automatically create and distribute invoices. Invoices that cannot be sent out electronically can be sent to a printer automatically, and the person(s) responsible for mailing them can be notified automatically when they are ready to go. The result is a faster invoicing process, better accounts receivable processes, and better cash flow.

4. How Can We Get Status Updates to Managers More Easily?

Project managers naturally want to know the status of the projects they oversee. But phoning or emailing project workers to find out status can waste a lot of time. Project management workflows eliminate that wasted time. 

With a project management workflow, project workers can work within the workflow, and provisions can be made to automatically update project managers when milestones have been reached, or when other specific tasks have been accomplished. Automated workflows also allow authorized workflow users to check on project status at any time, with no phone calls or emails necessary.

Workflow automation isn’t just for big business. And today’s no-code workflow software means that workflow users can design their own workflows to meet their needs exactly. PerfectForms is workflow software that requires no programming. It allows users to drag and drop form and workflow elements into place, and easily test and modify workflows before they’re deployed.

PerfectForms encourages you to browse our many case studies to see the results of workflow automation in action. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

7 Challenges Facilities Managers Face and How Automated Workflows Help

Thursday, August 8th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Facilities management goes beyond the tasks traditionally associated with building management.

Engineering hands

Today’s facilities managers need a broad skill set, along with
technology tools that help them fulfill their many responsibilities.

Today’s facilities manager has to ensure the comfort, safety, and functionality of the buildings in which people work. The discipline integrates people, spaces, processes, and technologies with the structural environment. It’s a big job, and facilities managers must be organized and thorough. They must also keep meticulous records.

Automated workflows can help tremendously with many facilities management tasks, as well as the recordkeeping that goes along with them. Here are seven examples.

1. Maintenance Schedules

Automated workflows for scheduled facilities maintenance can be triggered automatically by dates on the calendar. They can also automatically send out alerts a few days in advance so that facilities staff will be prepared. Automated workflows for scheduled maintenance ensure that no maintenance task is forgotten, and the building will remain as safe and functional as possible.

2. Task Checklists

The people working for a facilities manager must ensure they complete their many and varied tasks completely and without mistakes. Workflows for task checklists can be sent to workers’ mobile devices, so that when they are carrying out a repair or maintenance task, they do it to specifications, without skipping any steps. As a result, fewer tasks have to be redone. 

3. Tracking Supplies and Equipment

If a worker needs, for example, a hand truck for half the day, a simple online form can allow them to reserve it, and perhaps scan a barcode when they pick it up and when they return it. Facilities management requires knowing where tools and equipment are at all times, so they can be allocated quickly and effectively. 

4. Managing Smart Building Technologies

“Smart” buildings are becoming more common, and though these buildings take care of many tasks (like turning lights off and on, and setting thermostats) automatically, the systems themselves require managing and maintenance. What’s more, the data from these systems can be used by facilities managers to do their job better. Automated workflows for collecting temperature or utility bill data, for example, can make data collection and reporting easier.

Smart building app

Automated workflows can help facilities managers make the most of their “smart building” technology.

5. Emergency Preparedness

Every facility should have an emergency response plan for protecting employees, visitors, contractors, and others in the facility. Developing emergency procedures in advance, along with automated workflows to initiate when an emergency occurs, can ensure that even under stress, all necessary tasks are taken care of. When these workflows are mobile-friendly, it makes it even easier for facilities managers to act decisively in the event of an emergency.

6. Sustainability

More businesses are encouraging sustainable practices and environmentally responsible employee actions. A facilities manager could create an automated workflow that allows workers to, for example, collect recyclables from every collection point in the facility and deliver them to the loading dock on the days when recyclables are collected.

7. Recordkeeping

Automated workflows can be designed to keep records automatically. A completed maintenance task checklist could automatically create a date and time stamp and record the information so the manager can check at any time whether a task was completed. These records can show when planned maintenance tasks took place, who checked out equipment, and more. 

Workflow software is the key to empowering facilities managers with the tools they need to ensure the many tasks involved in facilities management are carried out completely and without errors. PerfectForms is flexible, powerful, scalable workflow software that requires no programming, so facilities managers and their team can have significant input into how the workflows are designed. 

We encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video and see how automated workflows streamline tasks across all departments. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

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Is Your Automated Workflow Ready for Prime Time? Here’s How to Tell.

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Workflows are standardized series of steps designed to accomplish a specified process or task. 

Hands drawing a flowchart

Automated workflows may have their roots in sketches or diagrams made by process users.

All steps in a workflow may run consecutively, or some series of steps may run in parallel for more complex processes. Automated workflows take as much of the manual processing out of tasks as possible. For example, a series of paper forms may be replaced by a linked series of online forms. 

Automation can significantly boost the efficiency of a process while reducing error rates, so businesses often turn to automated workflows to sharpen their competitive edge and increase productivity. But rare is the situation where you can just create an automated workflow and immediately have everyone start using it. 

In almost every situation, you have to thoroughly test automated workflows before “going live” with them. Otherwise, you risk the chaos of unforeseen problems and the time investment in fixing the problems and fixing the workflow. Here’s how to ensure your automated workflow is ready to be deployed.

Testing by the Workflow Creator or Workflow Team

With the right workflow software, programming is not required. This means that the people who actually use the workflow can have more input into workflow design. A single individual may be able to create a simple workflow. More complex ones, however, typically require a small team to develop and automate the workflow.

The workflow creator or team should test the automated workflow under a range of conditions – including erroneous conditions – to see what happens. What happens when someone enters text into a form field that requires a number? What happens if someone accidentally enters a negative number when a positive number is required? In a sense, the workflow team should try to stress, and even “break” the workflow under controlled conditions to see what happens and how they can prevent such issues.

Testing by Selected End-Users

Happy editor with team members

Having selected end-users try out the workflow before general deployment
is a good idea, so necessary changes can be made without major disruption.

Once a workflow has been thoroughly tested by the workflow creator or workflow team, it’s still a good idea to limit its use at first. Suppose you create a document management workflow. After initial testing, perhaps you should limit its use to two or three of your top report writers who have been educated about the workflow and trained to use it. 

These people are using the workflow “cold,” and they may be able to see faults that the initial development team missed. They can report back to the development team when they find problems, and work with them to get them solved.

Consider a Small Pilot Program

Before deploying an automated workflow to an entire team or department, it may be worthwhile to designate a pilot project using the workflow to ensure it does what it’s supposed to and that it really does have the potential to boost efficiency and productivity while reducing error rates. 

The team working with a particular client, for example, could brief the client on the new workflow and get their consent to be part of the pilot project. Provisions can be made to go back to the old way of doing things if major problems occur. If this pilot project works as expected, then the workflow can be deployed to the rest of the department or team, with all affected personnel being trained on how to use the workflow.

The key to easy workflow development and testing is outstanding workflow software. PerfectForms is no-code workflow software that allows users to drag and drop workflow elements into place. If testing reveals that changes need to be made, PerfectForms allows for easy modifications until the workflow is ready for wider deployment. 

Businesses like yours use PerfectForms for an impressive array of workflow automation tasks. We encourage you to browse through some of our many PerfectForms case studies to see how businesses have automated processes, raised productivity, and increased efficiency in major ways. And if you have any questions, we invite you to contact us at any time. 

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Button Properties in Online Forms: Why They’re So Important

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Online forms typically include clickable buttons that submit the completed form or take the user to the next page of the form.

Hands using laptop and mouse

The “submit” button on your forms may be able
to accomplish more than you think.

They’re basic elements of online forms, but with the right form software, you can access button control functions that can make your forms do more and work better. When you start using online form software, be sure to read up on the types of button control it offers, because learning these properties can help you design better forms, get higher form completion rates, and make the form user experience less stressful and more enjoyable. Here are some examples of button properties in online forms.

Buttons That Acknowledge Form Completion

Buttons that submit a completed form and acknowledge that the form has been successfully submitted are perhaps the most basic types of form buttons. Have you ever completed an online form, clicked “submit,” and received no acknowledgement that anything has happened? It can be frustrating. You wonder whether all the information you entered has gone into an online “black hole” or if it’s made it to the right destination.

When designing online forms, be sure to use a “submit” button that shows a success message. Your form software should allow this by simply checking a box and entering the text you want to appear when the form has been submitted successfully. A simple, “Thank you for submitting your form” message reassures users that their time has not been wasted.

Buttons That Open a New Web Page

Buttons that open a new web page are another common type of online form, especially with customer-facing forms. Landing page forms are a prime example of forms where a “submit” button opens up a new page. 

Happy woman working on a computer drinking coffee

Buttons can take your form users to the right web page as soon as they click “submit.”

Your form software should allow you to choose button properties that redirect to a specific URL and open that web page after the form user clicks “submit.” Depending on your form software, you may even be able to configure the buttons to direct users to different web pages based on form input. That way, people who say they’re interested in one thing on a landing page form will go to the right web page for their interests, while people who say they’re interested in something else will go to a page consistent with their interests.

Buttons That Aren’t Available to Everyone

Sometimes forms need to include buttons that are only available to certain users. This may be true for employee-based forms. For example, you may use the same timekeeping form for all employees, but employees in certain roles may be allowed to submit their timekeeping forms without having to gain approval first. 

Forms designed with role-based functions can help. Suppose an employee still in their probationary period has to get approval from their manager before submitting their time data. These users can be shown a clickable button that sends their time data to their manager, who then approves or denies the data. Other employees, who are not required to get approval for their timekeeping data will see a clickable button that sends their time data directly to payroll, bypassing the approval step. 

Don’t let the buttons you design for your online forms be an afterthought. Know what you need them to do and be certain your form software is capable of handling those needs. PerfectForms is form software that allows users to create pixel-perfect online forms with no programming required. It allows for a range of button properties so that your forms behave exactly as you want them to. 

You can test drive PerfectForms for free by signing up for a free trial. This is a great way to learn first-hand how easy online form creation can be. And if you have any questions, PerfectForms invites you to contact us at any time. 

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6 Basic Weekly Finance Workflows and How to Design Them

Friday, August 2nd, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

If you operate a small business, it can be easy to become so absorbed in day-to-day tasks and long-term business strategies that you ignore mundane (but necessary) financial tasks.

Multitasking woman

Automated workflows help the small business owner manage finances in record time.

However, carving out time every week to attend to basic financial tasks helps you keep your finger on the pulse of your finances. Doing so can help you spot problems early and address them promptly while ensuring you pay your own bills promptly. Here are six basic weekly finance workflows that you can create using workflow software and accomplish quickly, to keep your business finances on track.

1. Prepare and Send Invoices

There are many advantages to preparing and sending invoices weekly rather than monthly. The main one is improved cash flow. Additionally, clients are likelier to pay promptly if your products and services are fresh in their minds. With workflow software, you can create online forms and process them to take care of this task quickly and accurately.

2. Review Bank Statement

Reviewing your bank statement once a week reassures you that every deposit, withdrawal, and automatic payment is accurately reflected. And if you check your bank statement weekly, you can address any discrepancies or unexpected charges right away, giving you plenty of time to get to the bottom of them.

3. Review Credit Card Statement

Just as reviewing your bank statement weekly helps you stay apprised of your cash flow, reviewing your company credit card statement every week gives you an idea of how much your card is being used and what it’s being used for. This is a great way to ensure you’re not surprised when your credit card bill comes due. 

4. Check for Bills Due Next Week

A simple automated workflow can alert you to fixed monthly bills. Maybe your utility bill is always due on the 30th, or you always pay a certain vendor on the 15th. Your workflow can check what’s due and direct you to an online payment site. It can even collect data on the amounts paid so you can track expenses from month to month.

Surprised computer man

A workflow that notifies you of bills due soon can prevent unpleasant surprises.

5. Calculate Days in AR

Here’s how to calculate average days accounts spend in accounts receivable (AR):

  • Calculate average daily charges for the past 6 months by adding up all charges posted for the last six months and dividing by the total number of days
  • Divide your total charges for the last six months by your average daily charges

The answer is your average days spent in AR. It’s best to keep this number under 50, and closer to 30 is better still. You can calculate days in AR for any six-month period. Calculating it weekly can help you spot trends in AR early.

6. Calculate Collection Effectiveness Index

Collection effectiveness index, or CEI, is a quick calculation that measures how efficient your collections are. Here is the formula for monthly CEI:

[(Beginning Receivables + Monthly Credit Sales – Ending Total Receivables) ÷ (Beginning receivables + Monthly Credit Sales – Ending Current Receivables)] × 100

The final figure is a percentage, and the higher that percentage, the better. CEI measures what was actually collected compared to what could have been collected. CEI gives an indication as to how well your accounts receivable management is working.

Finance workflows like these can be automated with workflow software. The right workflow software will make it easy to create forms requesting the information needed (such as charges posted in a certain period or current AR) and calculating things like days in AR or CEI. You can also create automated workflows for preparing and sending invoices as well as other simple financial monitoring tasks.

PerfectForms is workflow software that requires no programming, so creating weekly financial monitoring workflows is easy. We encourage you to watch the demo video and browse through some of our many case studies. PerfectForms helps you create perfectly customized forms and workflows so you can monitor and manage your company’s finances with maximum efficiency. 

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4 Reasons to Manage Financial Processes with Workflow Software

Thursday, August 1st, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Financial processes are a fact of life for every business, and the more efficient and accurate they are, the more you and your team can focus on core business functions apart from finances. 

Calculator hands

Financial processes are mandatory, but they don’t
have to take up unreasonable amounts of time.

Particularly as a small business grows, helping financial processes grow as well can be fraught with challenges. What worked fine for a three-person business may be completely inadequate in a 10-person business. 

Workflow software can help you get a handle on key financial processes, automating as much of it as possible and preventing human error from creeping in. If you’re not managing financial processes with workflow software, here are four reasons why you should be.

1. Current Financial Processes May Be Inefficient and / or Opaque

A financial process that resided in the brains of the two founders of a company isn’t up to the needs of the financial processes of a larger company. Opaque processes are daunting for people who don’t know the processes’ inner workings, and that can lead to big errors. Moreover, when financial processes don’t offer transparency, it’s harder for others to take them over when the main process users are on vacation or out sick. Workflow software is the key to creating streamlined, transparent financial processes that make sense to everyone who uses them.

2. Keeping Up with Regulatory Changes Presents a Challenge

Heavily regulated industries like healthcare, food & beverages, and others have no choice but to keep up with a constantly changing regulatory landscape. Good workflow management means building regulatory checks and balances into processes, examining them regularly, and updating them when necessary. The right workflow software allows workflow managers to make changes easily, adding or removing regulatory steps, and updating workflow instructions so everyone is aware of new or different regulations that must be followed.

3. Spreadsheets Tend to Lack Oversight and Have Other Potential Problems

Coffee man looking at spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are great tools, but they have shortcomings when relied upon for financial processes.

Spreadsheets are amazing tools for organizing information, but they have many shortcomings as financial process tools. A shared worksheet may be modified by one person without others knowing, and the results can be catastrophic. 

Many small businesses don’t have the time or resources to thoroughly teach unskilled users how to use spreadsheets responsibly. Furthermore, keeping everyone apprised of spreadsheet changes can be overwhelming. Workflows are the answer. And when workflow software interfaces with spreadsheets, companies can enjoy the value spreadsheets offer while minimizing their risks.

4. IT Departments Are Too Busy with Their Own Responsibilities

Maybe you would like to create an automated financial process, but your IT team is always full up with their own work. And hiring a programmer is expensive. The good news is that you don’t have to rely on programmers to create automated workflows as long as you have outstanding workflow software. No-code workflow software means you can create, test, modify, and deploy automated workflows without writing a single line of code. And when financial workflows are created by finance personnel rather than programmers, they’re more likely to meet needs better.

Excellent workflow software addresses all major concerns about creating financial processes that are fast, efficient, and accurate. PerfectForms is workflow software that comes with a range of customizable templates for financial processes and also makes it easy to create custom ones from scratch. And since PerfectForms is no-code software, there’s no programming whatsoever. Furthermore, PerfectForms interfaces with spreadsheets, databases, web forms and more, so it’s easy to make it an integral part of operations. 

You can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial, and we encourage you to do so. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

How Online Form Software Can Make Feedback Collection Better

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Businesses, nonprofits, government, and other organizations rely on feedback from people both inside and outside the organization so they can perform better.

Customer survey on tablet

Feedback lets you know what you’re doing right and where you can improve.

High-quality feedback can lead to correction of problems and development of better processes and products. Before the internet and online forms and workflows, collecting feedback was an onerous process, involving paper forms or phone calls and manual recording of data. It was clumsy and prone to mistakes.

Form software greatly streamlines and improves the process of collecting feedback, whether from people inside the organization, or from outsiders. Well-designed forms that ask the right questions in surveys of the right length are the quickest path to actionable insights. Here are some examples.

Better Employee Performance Appraisals

For employee performance appraisals to deliver value to everyone involved, they must be simple to use, with language that makes sense for various employee roles. With the right form software, it’s easy to create a basic employee performance appraisal form and then modify it to create customized forms for different employee roles. 

Many performance appraisals use five-point scales to rate performance of various job competencies. With online forms, these can be automatically taken from submitted forms and used to calculate overall scores or feed data into other systems like spreadsheets or databases. 

Answers to open-ended questions on employee appraisal forms can be routed differently if necessary. For example, these answers could be sent along from the managers conducting the appraisals to department heads so they can learn more about how their team members are performing.

College Course Feedback

Student course evaluations can be extremely helpful to instructors and professors, but low submission rates are a fact of life at most schools. Improving submission rates is often as simple as making course feedback forms mobile-friendly. Students simply won’t bother with feedback forms that are too long or that they have to complete by hand.

Confused phone girl

Students often won’t bother giving feedback if they can’t do
it easily from their phones. 

Only ask the most important questions and minimize open-ended questions (though you may want to include one optional one at the end for students who want to give more specific feedback). When you design course feedback forms so students can complete them on their phones with a just a few minutes of tapping on their answer choices, you’ll get better response rates and more representative data.

Customer Satisfaction with Products and Services

Surveys are a tried and true method for obtaining customer feedback that leads to actionable insights. Like student course evaluations, you should keep customer satisfaction surveys short and sweet, because the average consumer is busy. 

Make sure questions are relevant to what you want to know. For example, if you want to learn more about customer demographics, ask for things like age, sex, and home zip code. If you want to know how people like your latest product offering, make your questions about that. Mobile-friendly is a good rule to use with customer surveys, because you’ll get better response rates than you would with surveys that have to be filled out in a desktop setting.

The key to using surveys, appraisals, and other data gathering instruments successfully is having outstanding online form software. Not only should it allow you to create custom forms to suit your needs exactly, it should interface with other business systems you may use, like spreadsheets and databases. And if your form software allows easy creation of detailed reports, you can make maximum use of the feedback you gather. 

PerfectForms satisfies all these needs and more. With it’s easy, drag-and-drop interface, you can create beautiful, functional surveys and feedback forms to suit the intended audience and collect data automatically. And PerfectForms has outstanding reporting capabilities, so you can put your data and insights to use improving your organization. We encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video. And if you have any questions, please get in touch with us at any time.