Advice on employing and managing people

How collaborative working can help small businesses

27 April 2015

It can be scary opening up your system to multiple people within your business. So what’s the best way to do this?

What is collaborative working?

By sharing your business information and having a single source of data for your sales and accounting functions, you can save time and make it easier to keep customer information up-to-date.

What’s in it for your accounts team?

For the accounts team, they need to reduce the amount of time it takes getting information for other teams. By sharing data through your business software, you can minimise requests, allowing you to focus on the more in-depth parts of the job. If sales teams can create orders and invoices in the system, this also means less admin work for the accounts team.

Sales teams can also be a help in ensuring customers pay on time.

What’s in it for your sales team?

For the sales team, having real-time access to information makes their job easier. They can access information about customers, products or prices themselves on the go, instead of bothering others. With the right accounting software you can manage your own sales pipeline, from quotations to invoices, ensure data is up to date, making it less likely to use another system.

A collaborative approach

  • Clarify what your employees want and need
    It’s important to share ideas upfront about what you’d like to get out of joint working.
  • Set boundaries
    It’s also important to know what information should be ring-fenced and protected. Establishing these boundaries up front will help you to avoid issues later on.
  • Decide how you will manage data
    Once you know what you need and what’s to be avoided, it’s time to discuss how you’ll keep the data up to date. You may need to involve the IT team for these discussions. If you have Sage Accounts software, we can also offer advice.
  • Ensure data is backed up
    It’s an important rule regardless of whether you share access. Having data in the cloud often means that back-ups are automatic. For desktop software, talk to the IT team and make sure you have a back-up schedule and there’s a process in place for retrieving and reinstalling missing information.
  • Meet regularly
    Because sales teams are on the road, it’s important to schedule time to catch up regularly. If there’s an issue, try to address it as soon as possible.

Want to know more? Read in-depth articles on collaborating with colleagues on the Sage Business Community (login required).

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