How to Simplify Your Expense Reporting

Expense reporting can be a major headache, particularly if you rely on paper expense forms. Typically, employees collect receipts and keep records of their expenditures, and then submit expense reports that are approved by someone in authority. If forms are incomplete, hard to read, or lost, the whole process can screech to a halt, increasing frustration.

 

Expense reporting

Expense reporting doesn’t have to be a frustrating ordeal.

 

What’s more, you have to hold onto expense documentation for tax purposes, and you don’t want there to be inaccuracies. Here are some ways you can simplify your expense reporting while making it faster and easier for everyone.

 

Stop Using Spreadsheets for Expense Reporting

Yes, spreadsheets are electronic and have some advantages over paper forms. Plus, you probably already have spreadsheet software and default templates for expense reporting. But spreadsheets are really not good enough. Not only do they take time to fill out, upgrades to templates have to be communicated to every affected employee. Worse, a spreadsheet submitted as an email attachment can easily be overlooked, and making sure each and every employee fills in all the information can be challenging. Electronic expense report forms are a superior solution for expense reporting.

 

Add Drop-Down Menus to Expense Reporting Forms

With electronic expense reporting forms, you can enforce uniformity of reporting with drop-down menus attached to fields. You can, for instance, have an “incidental expense” field with a drop-down menu that explains whether the expense was for laundry/cleaning, taxi fare to a hotel, or the cost of sending a package by mail. Or you can have a drop-down menu that lets employees indicate if meals were provided at a conference rather than purchased separately. This can eliminate guesswork as to whether an expense can be claimed and allows Finance personnel to more accurately account for travel costs.

 

Consider Using Per Diem Amounts Rather Than Actual Expenses

Some companies reimburse employees with a per diem rather than for actual expenses. There are IRS-approved per diem rates that vary depending on location. The per diem for San Francisco is higher than the per diem for Jacksonville, for example.

 

Expense reporting

Per diem rates can make travel expense reporting easier on everyone.

 

Using per diem rates typically makes it easier on your employees, because they don’t have to adhere to the standard record-keeping rules for expenses. They just have to substantiate time, place, and business purpose of the travel. First and last days of travel can be pro-rated if travel takes less than a full work day.

 

Help Employees Keep Up With Expenses

Educate and remind employees of ways they can keep better track of their expenses. One easy way they can do this is to use their phone to take photos of receipts. If an original receipt is lost, they can print out a picture. And if you use expense reporting forms that are available online or on mobile, your employees can work on their expense reports during, say, a long layover, and get their expenses turned in as quickly as possible.

 

Create Custom Expense Forms Tailored to Your Organization’s Needs

Your organization’s expense reporting needs are unique, so ideally you should have electronic forms that are customized to your requirements. If you’re worried this may mean undertaking a major IT project, relax. Today you can get affordable software that allows you to create electronic expense reporting forms without writing any code. PerfectForms offers you a drag-and-drop interface that lets you create the exact form you want in minutes. And you can easily include things like drop-down menus and notifications, and link forms into streamlined workflows.

Once you try PerfectForms for expense reporting, you’ll see how flexible and powerful it is, and will discover countless ways you can create electronic forms and workflows to make any number of business processes more efficient. Have a look at PerfectForms’ demo, or feel free to contact PerfectForms and take that first step toward making expense reporting faster, more accurate, and less of a hassle.

Success! 4 Businesses That Did Better with PerfectForms

Rare is the business in any industry that doesn’t use forms. Forms are great for standardizing procedures and ensuring that all necessary information is available before taking the next step in a process.

 

PerfectForms

Forms help businesses run smoothly, but paper forms aren’t ideal.

 

Paper forms, however, are outdated in the age of 24/7 connectivity. Paper forms cause “friction” in work processes, slowing things down and raising the risk of problems ranging from indecipherable handwriting to accidental shredding to an important form falling into the wrong hands.

Electronic forms make sense for today’s business, whether you’re selling cakes or providing construction services. Electronic forms don’t slow down processes the way paper forms do, and they can be automatically routed to the right recipient, so they’re never lost. Here are four businesses in four industries that have streamlined processes and improved productivity with PerfectForms.

 

1. Visalia Unified School District

In California’s San Joaquin Valley, the Visalia Unified School District serves 27,000 students at 44 educational sites and employs 2,500 people. Schools have always been heavily dependent on forms because of the massive administrative requirements educational facilities face. But dealing with paper forms for nearly 30,000 people is expensive and time-consuming. One heavily used paper form cost $10,000 per year just in printing costs!

With PerfectForms, the Visalia Unified School District automated accident reports, substitute teacher requests, transportation requests and more by creating electronic forms that looked exactly like their paper counterparts so the transition to filling them in electronically was easy. Results were impressive, cutting the amount of time and resources devoted to administrative tasks so the district could concentrate on its core function of education. Reduced printing costs, lower labor costs, and easier reporting yielded an impressive return on investment.

 

2. Madison National Life Insurance

Insurers have to collect vast amounts of information, much of it away from the office. When all that takes place on paper, approving new policies is slower, and chances for mistakes are higher. Madison National Life Insurance, which serves 49 states, wanted to not only reduce the friction that results from paper-based processes, but to allow agents to enter and submit information from the field using mobile devices. They also wanted conveniences like auto-filling that allows data to populate multiple forms at once, again reducing error rates.

 

PerfectForms

Mobile electronic forms can improve efficiency significantly.

 

Madison National Life Insurance used PerfectForms to create automated workflows with electronic forms agents could fill out and submit from wherever they happened to be. Data from forms is automatically routed to an administrative server rather than waiting on someone’s desk for a signature. The result is a much faster approval process, and since PerfectForms allows creation of electronic forms that look just like their paper counterparts, training for electronic form use was minimal.

 

3. Affinity Management Group

Business consulting and survey firm Affinity Management Group found that its existing system, based on Quask, wasn’t holding up under increasing deadline pressure and rising customer demand. But they were able to integrate PerfectForms with their existing system to greatly increase operational efficiency and improve customer service simultaneously. Surveys can now be executed much more quickly, helping clients make better business decisions faster and saving time and money.

The one-year return on investment for Affinity Management Group has been impressive, and response rates to the surveys created with PerfectForms have been significantly higher than industry norms. Workflows are faster, and clients get more complete information so they can make important decisions in the shortest amount of time.

 

4. Ogden Clinic

Healthcare services providers not only have to deal with huge amounts of information, they must also comply with strict regulations and need work processes that create an audit trail. Paper forms simply can’t do the job in today’s business environment. The Ogden Clinic turned to PerfectForms to streamline workflows using electronic forms. Though some were skeptical at first, the pilot project of automating HR processes was an overwhelming success, transforming workflows and automating formerly cumbersome processes.

The Ogden Clinic enjoyed major time savings from the electronic forms and workflows they created with PerfectForms, and they freed up IT resources to concentrate on other projects. Now, processes like mileage reimbursement, employee reviews, and IT services are electronic and automated, and an audit trail is created automatically, for more accurate and thorough reporting.

 

Conclusion

PerfectForms is a flexible, scalable solution that has transformed workflows in a wide range of industries by allowing easy creation of electronic forms and workflows. With an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, you can create pixel-perfect forms either by themselves or as part of defined workflows without knowing the first thing about programming. Have a look at our demo and see how easy it is to replace tedious paper-based processes with streamlined electronic workflows. The possibilities are practically unlimited!

How to Find the Right Form Creation Software

When your business has a quick and easy resource for creating business forms, you’ll save time, reduce waste and resource consumption, and help keep administrative functions organized.

 

Form creation software

Today’s business doesn’t have time for paper forms and outdated processes.

 

Paper forms served well when there weren’t electronic alternatives, but when you implement electronic forms you quickly realize how many disadvantages there are to paper-based processes. Not only are waste and environmental impact reduced with electronic forms, there are no more problems with lost or damaged forms, and completed forms can be immediately delivered to the appropriate person when they’re completed.

You have many options in form creation software, so it’s important to know which qualities are most important so you get your money’s worth and maximize your return on investment. Following are several characteristics you should look for in your form creation software.

 

It Should Have a Powerful, Intuitive Interface

Few companies have the time or resources to devote to a major IT project to develop custom online forms. Look for electronic forms software that doesn’t require programming in order to create great-looking, perfectly customized forms. Ideally you should have a visual, drag-and-drop interface that makes intuitive sense so you can start designing forms right away without having to climb a steep learning curve.

 

It Should Allow Mobile Access

Mobility is essential in today’s business world. When your custom electronic forms are accessible via mobile, you empower your workers in the field to complete forms wherever they happen to be, saving time and reducing the chances of forgotten forms and errors. Repair technicians can log repairs from the jobsite, and employees who travel frequently can complete and submit expense reports from the road with no hassle.

 

Reporting Should be Simple and Straightforward

Many companies have to be able to produce reports showing things like resource expenditures and compliance with industry and government regulations. Your form creation software should make reporting easy and allow you to drill down into the data collected by your forms so you can make informed decisions backed up by documented data. You should be able to draw data from multiple forms or workflows into a single report for maximum flexibility and power.

 

You Should Have Options for Where Software Is Hosted

 

Form creation software

On-premises or in the cloud: does your form creation software offer a choice?

 

Many small businesses prefer to have their software hosted in the cloud. That way there’s no need to maintain on-site servers, and all upgrades are rolled out automatically. But some businesses, due to security reasons, want to host their software on their premises on their own servers. Look for form creation software that offers you the choice of on-site or cloud hosting so you can allocate use of your resources optimally for your specific business needs and finances.

 

It Should Be Scalable

Does your form creation software grow as your business grows? It should. In fact, streamlining forms and workflows using form creation software is a great way to improve productivity and accelerate business growth. Look for form creation software that works whether you’re a five-person start-up or a Fortune 500 company so you can be confident that your forms solutions scale up right alongside your business.

 

Help and Support Should Be Readily Available

The company that provides your form creation software shouldn’t abandon you after you’ve made the purchase. Look for a provider that offers extensive resources and help whenever you need it. They should offer tutorials, training videos, and access to the help you need so you’re always confident you can create the forms and workflows that will improve business function. Your provider should make it as easy as possible for you to get in touch if you find you need help.

 

Conclusion

The right form creation software can make a tremendous positive difference in how well your business functions, making processes go faster, reducing errors, cutting resource consumption, and enabling conditions for more rapid growth. Choose your form creation software with care, ensuring it is easy to use, mobile-friendly, offers easy reporting, and is scalable as your company grows.

PerfectForms offers all these features and benefits and more. And with PerfectForms, you have the option of hosting the software on your own servers, or in the cloud. You simply won’t find a better combination of features, power, and ease of use than you will with PerfectForms. Have a look at our demo and see for yourself how easy it is to create pixel-perfect forms and connect them into powerful workflows that smooth business processes and help ensure success.

Yes, You Can Easily Create a Form Online

Most businesses use forms in multiple capacities. Forms were invented to help standardize and streamline processes. Rather than making a verbal or written request for something (vacation time, a new desk chair, or reimbursement for expenses, for example), employees could use forms so that the person fulfilling the request would have all pertinent information available. Forms make sense.

 

Create a form online

In their time, paper forms improved efficiency.

 

But paper-based forms have limitations. They can be misplaced, damaged, or sent to the wrong person. The person receiving them can also lose them, or may have difficulty reading handwritten information. But when you create a form online, these problems go away. You may think, “Sure, I would love to create a form online, but I don’t know how to program, and we don’t have the budget for a new IT project.” It’s OK, because now it’s easy.

 

Creating Online Forms Does Not Require an IT Initiative

Maybe once upon a time you’d have to hire a programmer or get one of your IT people to create a form online, but all that has changed. Today’s form creation software lets non-programmers create electronic forms without writing the first line of code. User interfaces have improved to where if you know how to drag and drop, you can create a form online. The software does all the programming for you, so all you have to do is arrange the fields of your form as you want them, label them, and then add finishing touches like your company logo. Once your form looks exactly like you want it, your form creation software creates the online form for you. You can create a form online to streamline countless business processes.

 

Get New Employees Working Right Away

Bringing a new employee on board requires collecting a lot of information. In order to process their payroll correctly, you need identification and tax information, and if the new employee signs up for company benefits like insurance or a 401K, still more information must be collected. Create an online form for each of these information needs, and you eliminate the risks of a form being lost or illegible, and you eliminate the potential for errors that comes from having to manually enter handwritten information into a database. You can even make it so that information entered once populates multiple forms.

 

Allow Employees to Submit Forms from Mobile Devices

The workforce is more mobile than ever today. If you have employees working in the field, whether making repairs, installing equipment, or handling claims, it’s very inefficient to have them complete paper forms and then turn them in. But when you create a form online for common field tasks, like logging a repair, and make that form mobile-accessible, employees can complete the forms quickly and easily right from their phone or tablet. It saves time, makes recordkeeping easier, and reduces error rates significantly.

 

Create a form online

Boost efficiency by empowering employees to complete forms from mobile devices.

 

Link Multiple Forms Into Cohesive Workflows

When selecting the software that allows you to create a form online, look for software that also lets you link multiple forms together into workflows. This is a terrific way to ensure no steps in typical work processes are skipped and that the proper recipient receives forms the instant they’re completed. Think how much inefficiency you can squeeze out of work processes by creating electronic forms and connecting them into defined workflows. Multi-step processes become faster and more efficient, saving your company time and money. No longer do you need a storage room full of filing cabinets to store all those completed forms.

 

Make Projects Easier to Manage

With electronic forms connected into logical workflows, project management becomes smarter, not harder. A project manager can view an entire workflow and know instantly which steps have been completed, and whose actions are required next. And all this is done without the hassle of paperwork. With faster workflows, high efficiency, and low error rates, your company can make more competitive bids on projects and have an easier time remaining on schedule and within budget. You can create a form online to document every work phase, creating a comprehensive audit trail that can be used for reporting and compliance purposes.

 

Conclusion

Electronic forms help companies maximize their competitive advantage in today’s accelerated marketplace. And you don’t have to know how to write code or undertake a major IT project in order to create online forms and link them into smart, streamlined processes. With PerfectForms, you can create a form online that looks exactly how you want, simply by dragging and dropping elements into place. And you can connect forms into workflows with the same drag-and-drop convenience. Why not sign up for a free trial and find out for yourself how easy it is to create a form online? You’ll be amazed at the possibilities.

5 Signs Your Company Needs Better BPM Solutions

BPM stands for Business Process Management, which is a practice that improves business performance by increasing business agility and encouraging operational excellence. If your business is a metaphorical engine, BPM is the master tool that fine-tunes it so it performs optimally. Just about every business has processes that for whatever reason have become inefficient or unreliable. By scrutinizing these processes and identifying inefficiencies, then implementing BPM software to streamline and automate, you can make them run far more smoothly.

 

BPM solutions

BPM tunes up business processes so they run smoothly and don’t break down.

 

In other words, BPM helps maximize your business’s return on the investment of the time people put into carrying out processes. Rare is the business that can’t benefit from BPM solution. Here are 5 signs your company could benefit from better BPM.

 

1. Your IT People Face Increasing Challenges

If you’re trying to save money by continuing to use outdated software, your IT team could be needlessly suffering. Perhaps they are spending more time keeping aging servers working or are inundated with help tickets complaining about slow software and hardware. With a better BPM solution, you root out inefficiencies in processes and streamline them through upgraded software. Many great BPM solutions offer the option of running in the cloud, which removes the hassles of on-site server maintenance. If your IT staff is ready to cry “Uncle!” maybe it’s time to look at a new BPM solution.

 

2. Workflows Provide Little Visibility and Transparency

Project managers and departmental heads often need to know exactly where various projects stand. Who is the last person to provide input? Does the next person in the process know his or her input is needed? What steps are left to be accomplished? A great BPM solution offers visibility and transparency into the mechanics of processes. Plus, it can include checks and balances like alerts that notify key people that they need to accomplish an action so that the process can continue. Knowing which steps have been completed and which steps are next can greatly enhance efficiency and productivity.

 

3. Your Work Processes Are Typically Long-Running

 

BPM solutions

Most work processes are complex enough to benefit from the coordination of BPM.

 

If your business provides quick services that only require a couple of steps, then BPM software may not be necessary. However, most businesses (of every size and across industries) engage in work processes with multiple steps, and often these processes are long-running. BPM software helps orchestrate processes so that no steps are forgotten or skipped and quality is maintained throughout. Whether you engage in design projects that take weeks or months, or provide services that span hours to days, a BPM solution can streamline and offer quality assurance.

 

4. Multiple Human and Non-Human Systems Need to Be Coordinated

In many work projects, a combination of human actions and automated actions are involved. Perhaps one engineer can’t make necessary calculations until someone else creates scale drawings. Or maybe HR cannot approve or deny a vacation request without seeing a calendar or schedule of time-off requests that have already been approved. BPM is made for coordinating the various human and non-human activities that go into completing a process, ensuring that all steps are completed and the information the next person in the chain needs is handed off as soon as it’s ready.

 

5. You Want to Improve Customer Service

It doesn’t matter if you sell wedding dresses or welding equipment: if you want to remain profitable and grow as a business, you have to provide outstanding customer service. Typically, numerous customer-facing business processes are involved in providing excellent customer service, so you can develop a comprehensive view of customers across contact channels. With a top BPM solution, you can develop a consistent framework to manage all aspects of the customer relationship process, so customers need never feel ignored, misunderstood, or forgotten about.

 

Conclusion

The great news is, you don’t have to invest in a major IT project to have a BPM solution that benefits your business. With PerfectForms, you can get started immediately, creating custom online forms and linking them into workflows that are far more efficient than outdated, paper-based processes. And you don’t have to know how to program, because PerfectForms offers an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface that allows you to visualize processes immediately. Why not try out PerfectForms for yourself for free? See how easy implementing BPM and raising efficiency and productivity can be.

4 Ways to Make Your Automatic Payroll Deposit Process Better

Automatic payroll deposit

Getting to here is faster when employees have automatic payroll deposit.

 

Perhaps you started your business with only one employee and were able to handle payroll, and the writing of that one paycheck, yourself. But even with fewer than five employees, payroll can become amazingly complicated, and the risks you take with payroll mistakes can be very serious. Incorrectly calculating your state unemployment insurance or getting someone’s tax withholding wrong can lead to expensive fines as well as unhappy employees.

When you include automatic payroll deposit as part of your company’s payroll program, you save time over manual check preparation and make paying employees more efficient and secure. Employees don’t have to worry about losing a paper check, and check fraud is virtually eliminated. The United States government saves tens of billions of dollars every year by using automatic payroll deposit as opposed to traditional paychecks, and employees save the indirect costs involved with cashing or depositing their own checks.

Whether you have been providing automatic payroll deposit for years or are implementing it for the first time, there are several things you can do to make the process better for all parties. Here are four ways you can make your automatic payroll deposit process better.

 

1. Hold an Annual Automatic Payroll Deposit Drive to Encourage Participation

You can encourage participation in your automatic payroll deposit program by designating an enrollment period and turning it into an event. You could set up a booth in your lobby or company cafeteria, or add a special page to your employee web portal explaining the benefits of automatic deposit and how to enroll. Some companies encourage participation by holding a prize drawing (such as a gift card) for new enrollees. If you hold a direct deposit drive annually, you should steadily improve participation with each round, for a positive return on the investment of effort.

 

2. Offer Employees the Choice of Paper or Electronic Pay Stubs

Many employees are perfectly happy with electronic pay stubs that they can print out themselves if they need to. A few still prefer to have paper pay stubs. If your employees don’t have online access at work, you can install one or two kiosks in common areas where they can log into their employee account securely and view or print their latest pay stub. Implementing an automatic payroll deposit program is all about options and convenience, and letting employees know they can access either paper or electronic stubs with direct deposit can encourage higher participation levels.

 

3. Make the Signup Process Part of the New Employee On-Boarding Process

 

Automatic payroll desposit

Make it easy for new employees to start out with automatic payroll deposit.

 

When new employees join your workforce, they usually have to fill out a number of forms during their first days on the job. Making these forms electronic and setting up the on-boarding process so that information entered by a new employee can be used to populate multiple forms at once speeds the process up considerably. Have enrollment in automatic payroll deposit as part of the new employee on-boarding process and both you and they can enjoy the advantages of automatic deposit from the very first paycheck. When signup is convenient and done electronically, employees have fewer excuses for not signing up.

 

4. Offer Year-Round Signup Through an Employee HR Portal

Creating an online HR portal for employees can make many HR processes more efficient, such as requesting vacation days, changing tax withholding, and enrolling in automatic payroll deposit. When these processes are paper-based, information passes through a number of hands, and the probability of errors goes up with each handoff. It’s all too easy to misread how someone’s name is spelled, or transpose two numbers in an employee ID when information is entered manually. Making HR forms electronic and providing automatic alerts for key HR employees when a form is submitted streamlines processes while reducing error rates.

 

Conclusion

When a paycheck must be passed from hand to hand between the time it is printed and the time it is deposited by the employee, its security is less certain, and there’s a lag between when an employee is paid and when he has access to the money. Using automatic payroll deposit and making enrollment as easy as possible for employees with electronic forms encourages participation and ensures nobody spends excessive time filling out forms by hand and tracking progress with phone calls.

PerfectForms lets you create custom, pixel-perfect forms with your company’s logo, colors, and styles with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. What’s more, you can connect multiple forms into sleek, electronic workflows, reducing manual handoffs and errors and making processes significantly faster. Why not try PerfectForms out for free? You can see for yourself how easy it is to create accurate, beautiful, customized electronic forms and workflows.

5 Easy Tasks that are Harder Than Creating Online Forms with PerfectForms

Online forms

 

It used to be that to get great looking electronic forms required custom programming. For people running small businesses that could present quite a problem, because how many small business owners can afford to hire a programmer to create online forms?

All that has changed now, because today anyone can create online forms without programming. All it takes is the ability to drag and drop, and the result is pixel-perfect forms that can even be customized with logos, graphics, and color schemes. In fact, with PerfectForms, you can probably create online forms easier than you can do other supposedly simple tasks, like these five.

 

1. Leaving an Eloquent Voicemail Message

What is it about that beep that turns so many people into a tongue-tied, inarticulate mess? Even if you prepare yourself for the possibility of having to leave a voicemail message, or go so far as to write down what you want to say, it can be unnaturally difficult. You forget something important you should have said, so you have to call back, or you mispronounce a word, or perhaps nervousness manifests by making you blather on and on, straying progressively further off-topic. It’s almost a shame that corporate training doesn’t offer classes on leaving a good voicemail message along with safety training.

 

2. Setting Up a Wireless Printer

Once your wireless printer is all set up, it’s the greatest thing ever, but getting to that point can be fraught. Generally you have to go to the manufacturer’s website and download the most current drivers. Then you have to ensure your printer knows the name of your wireless network, something the printer manufacturer may or may not have made simple and straightforward. And you have to press various buttons on the printer in specific combinations for specific lengths of time, but not too long, because that will reset everything. At some point you begin to wonder if you would be better off using a typewriter.

 

3. Putting Paper in the Copier

We’ve all been there: you just need to make a few copies of a pre-electronic document, or something that for whatever reason can’t be printed. But before you even open the platen cover you notice the “LOAD PAPER” message. The last time you tried this, you jammed the copier and sneaked away so nobody would know it was you. Which drawer do you open? Where is the extra paper kept? Why won’t the drawer close again once you’ve put paper in? What’s that burning smell? The guilt of not being able to reload the copier can lead you compensatory actions, like making a new pot of coffee even though there’s still a little left in the pot.

 

4. Spelling “Millennium”

Everyone has words they never spell correctly on the first try. And if you’re in a hurry, trying to get a report finished and on the boss’s desk, that’s when you’ll see that annoying red squiggly line under what seems like every third or fourth word. Now that a decade and a half has gone by since Y2K, “millennium” isn’t cropping up as often, but people still have trouble with “definitely,” “separate,” “questionnaire,” and “conscientious.” And when was the last time you ordered office supplies and were confident that you spelled “manila folders” correctly?

 

5. Sending a Fax on an Unfamiliar Machine

Find an online discussion thread about technology that should become obsolete any day now and you’ll find people who can’t wait for the demise of the fax machine. It’s loud, it’s clunky, and all too prone to errors. But there are some professions, like the legal profession, where the fax machine still has a place at the technology table. Using someone else’s fax machine, particularly in an urgent situation, is anxiety-ridden. Do you load pages face-up or face-down? Does it use regular paper or that curly thermal paper? Do you press send before the beep or after? There should be support hotlines available for this situation.

Maybe you’re incapable of leaving a voicemail message that sounds like it was spoken by a human, or you left a note for the administrative assistant to get you a new pair of “scissors,” but you can still create online forms without breaking a sweat. PerfectForms has an intuitive graphic interface that lets you drag, drop, and create online forms that look and work exactly like you want them to. You can even assemble them into automated workflows just as easily. You may not be able to fold a map correctly to save your life, but you can look like a champ when it comes to creating perfect online forms. Why not try PerfectForms out for free and see for yourself?

Workflow Tools: Has Your Company Entered the Reduced Error Era?

Workflow tools

 

The pace of business today is brisk. Clients and customers expect their products and services to be delivered efficiently, without a lot of extraneous procedures and needless delays. What’s more, clients and customers won’t tolerate mistakes, because they know technology is available to make things faster and more accurate.

There are some processes that can’t be automated, but there are many that can be, and when you put workflow tools into action, you gain efficiency and reduce frustration. Just about every business can use workflow tools to be more productive, whether you shoe horses or help people prepare their taxes.

 

Workflow Tools Speed Processes

Suppose you have a database of customers that you created from customers filling out forms by hand. That’s great, but not only do customers have to accomplish the tedious task of completing forms manually, someone has to decipher that information and type it into a database. But what if you made it so new customers could enter their information into an online form? Not only does that save them time, the data can be automatically entered into your database, so nobody has to retype it. In other words, workflow tools accelerate processes, so you can spend more time on business functions and less on administration.

 

Workflow Tools Reduce Errors

Manual processes are subject to mistakes. We’ve all lost paper forms, entered the wrong information in the wrong blank, or accidentally shredded the document we were supposed to make copies of. When you get processes off of paper and take handoffs out of people’s actual hands, the chance for errors goes way down. A completed request form that’s sent to the purchasing department electronically isn’t going to get ruined by spilled coffee or accidentally left under a stack of file folders.

 

Common Roadblocks to Automating Workflows

One of the biggest roadblocks to automation happens when companies allow departments to develop their own workflow tools in silos. It’s great that both HR and payroll have online forms for new hires, but wouldn’t it make sense to integrate them so new hire information entered once could populate forms in both departments?

Automating inefficient processes simply makes for faster inefficiencies, and that’s not what you’re after. Workflow tools should work together, across departments if necessary, to streamline procedures. Taking a holistic view of automation means using workflow tools to transcend departmental boundaries, not just speed things up within departments.

 

A Great Way to Start: Online Forms

If you’re ready to take your business into the faster, more efficient world of automation but don’t know where to start, a great place is with online forms. As workflow tools go, online forms are terrific for making a positive difference right from the start. Instead of submitting a paper form to HR to request vacation, workers can fill out an electronic form and submit it electronically. The system can automatically notify relevant parties when a form is received and when there is a reply to it. You’ll save time, save paper, and reduce mistakes with online forms, and today’s form creation software makes it easy to make custom forms tailored specifically for your needs.

 

Next Step: Link Forms Into Coherent Workflows

Maybe you have a process, like equipment purchasing, which requires multiple steps. Making the forms required for purchasing equipment electronic is a start, but linking them together into a coherent workflow is where the rubber meets the road.

Say an engineer submits a request for a piece of equipment and submits it. It costs more than $500, so departmental approval is required. The workflow automatically flags the form and sends it to the appropriate departmental authority, along with an email alert. Once the department signs off electronically, the forms go to the purchasing department, which takes the information directly from the electronic forms and creates a purchase order. There’s no physical handoff of paper, every form contains accurate information, and there’s an electronic audit trail for budgeting purposes. Any number of office processes can be linked into similar electronic workflows.

 

Conclusion

Nobody has time for inefficiencies arising from manual, outdated work processes, and many companies join the automation revolution by creating electronic forms. With PerfectForms, you can create great looking, customized forms with your company colors and logo using an intuitive drag and drop interface. And once you create your forms, you can link them together into coherent workflows with drag and drop convenience too. From the first day, efficiency increases and error rates drop, for a fast return on investment. Have a look at the PerfectForms demo video and see for yourself how easy it can be to create workflow tools that take your business to the next level of efficiency.

5 Benefits of a Great Workflow App

Great workflow ap

 

A great workflow app is one that is created after you’ve identified how processes are done and where the pain points in the process are located. When you break workflows down into discrete steps, it’s easier to see where inefficiencies lie and where the app can help minimize those inefficiencies. The right workflow app isn’t always the most obvious workflow app, and the right app for your company may not be the one your competitor uses.

Breaking down a workflow, and then considering where and how each step is completed is the starting point for creating a great workflow app. The person using the app in the field probably needs to do things differently than the person sitting at a desk so develop the process from the end-user’s point of view. Once you learn to develop workflow apps with the help of outstanding workflow software, you’ll notice several benefits. Here are 5 of them.

 

1. You’ll Annoy the IT People Less

Need an app for an approval cycle? You no longer have to go to IT and ask that they develop one for you. Workflow software standouts like PerfectForms let you define workflows and put them together into an app without writing a single line of code. Let the IT people worry about network speed and printer problems. You can write the apps that HR, sales, or marketing need to get their work done more efficiently.

 

2. Workflow Compliance Becomes Easier to Enforce

When you break a workflow down into steps and assemble those steps into an app, everyone knows what to do next, because the app walks them through it. If a form has to be submitted before they can go to the next step, the app makes it easy to submit the form before taking them to the next app screen. An app lays out the workflow and makes sure that nobody can cut corners, or wants to for that matter, because apps make things faster and are great for trimming the fat off workflows.

 

3. You Can Cut Operational Costs

Say you don’t have a workflow app for requisitioning equipment. Someone starts a project and neglects to go through the inventory management system before ordering new equipment. They could be unaware of the fact that equipment they need is already available on-site and expend resources acquiring redundant equipment. An app would step the person through each phase, including a query to inventory management, which would notify the project manager that equipment is already available and ready to go. Significant time and money can be saved this way.

 

4. Processes Become More Efficient

Paper-based processes can be horribly inefficient. Some people are just bad at paperwork, and anyone who has had to decipher a messy, handwritten form knows how hard it can be to extract information. An app can take clunky manual processes and make them electronic. No longer does someone have to hand a piece of paper to someone else, but submits a form electronically. The risk of forms getting lost, coffee-splattered, or being misinterpreted essentially goes away when forms can be completed and submitted electronically.

 

5. Processes Become More Visible

Creating a workflow app forces you to define the steps of a process, which makes it easier to see if there are any unnecessary steps. This alone makes it easier to identify inefficiencies and eliminate them. Everyone using the app follows the same steps and knows what his or her job is and what is supposed to happen next. Workflow apps are great for helping employees “get” what a process is all about and understand why a workflow is the way it is.

 

Conclusion

When you have workflow application development software like PerfectForms, you can use a visual, drag-and-drop interface to create custom workflow apps that suit your processes perfectly. You don’t have to shoehorn your processes into someone else’s app, but can create one that does exactly what you want without knowing how to program. You can get the user interface exactly how you like it, define the workflow, and even integrate your app with other systems, like your CRM system. Add notifications and escalation procedures and keep everyone informed at every step of the process.

You’ll be amazed how easy it is to create custom workflow apps with PerfectForms. Have a look at our demo and see for yourself how you can reduce inefficiencies and accelerate any number of work processes with a custom app created by you.

Daddy, Where Do Online Forms Come from?

Online forms

 

If you’ve ever worked in a business that relied on paper forms, you’re probably acutely aware of the many problems paper-based work processes can cause. Maybe the usual administrative assistant is out sick and the substitute doesn’t know where the expense account forms are filed. Or perhaps the form you need was printed on a machine that was almost out of toner and you can’t read the instructions.

Electronic forms that you can access online take care of these problems handily. With online forms, you don’t worry about running out of copies or getting an illegible printout. Most people can type information into forms much faster than they can fill out a form with a pen, and you don’t risk putting online forms into the wrong stack of papers and accidentally chucking them in the recycle bin.

 

How Are Online Forms Created?

The oversimplified answer is that online forms are created using hypertext markup language, or HTML. HTML is the computer language that allows creation of websites. The more complex a website (or online form), the more complex the HTML is required to create it. HTML is constantly being upgraded and revised as the internet audience expects more from websites and new tools are developed. An HTML expert creates online forms by writing code that translates what a form designer sketches out into what is seen on the screen and makes it so users can type information into the appropriate fields.

 

Isn’t There an Easier Way?

Maybe you don’t happen to have an HTML expert available to turn your paper forms into online forms, so what do you do? You could outsource the job, of course, but that can be expensive, particularly if you want to take a whole suite of paper forms and make them electronic. Fortunately, as HTML has evolved, so have tools that allow non-programmers to make use of it without having to know how to write code.

 

With the Right Tools, You can Make Online Forms Yourself

Online forms can now be created easily, through an intuitive visual interface with online forms solutions like PerfectForms. You don’t have to know the first thing about programming or HTML to use PerfectForms because it presents you with an easy-to-use, graphic interface that lets you drag and drop elements into place, creating forms that look exactly the way you want them to. You can even customize your forms by adding your company colors and logos.

 

Online Forms Can Be Assembled Into Automated Workflows

Even better than being able to make online forms with ease is being able to assemble online forms into streamlined workflows. Suppose your company’s expense reporting process involves completing a series of forms, each of which must be approved by a particular person. With PerfectForms, you can create online forms that look just like your paper forms, and you can put them together into a logical workflow that automatically submits completed forms to the right person in the approval cycle. It’s faster, more accurate, and there’s no worry about forms getting lost in the shuffle.

Any number of business processes can be made into automated workflows using online forms, and you can do this with PerfectForms with the same drag-and-drop convenience with which you create the online forms in the first place. Processes that are error-prone and cumbersome when done on paper become more accurate and faster when done with online forms and automated workflows. Maintenance requests, new employee on-boarding, and ordering of supplies are just a few processes that can be made more efficient with online forms and workflows.

 

Conclusion

Paper forms and manual workflows have many limitations. Maybe you’re interested in online forms but don’t have the budget to hire a programmer or don’t want to dump more work onto your IT team. With PerfectForms, you don’t have to know how to write code to create pixel-perfect electronic forms and assemble forms into seamless, automated workflows. The time savings can be immense, and time is money. If you’d like to try PerfectForms out for yourself, why not sign up for a free trial? You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to create online forms and make your work processes infinitely more efficient.