This post is by Mark Faggiano from SaaStr
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Whether you just scored your Series A or are about to go public, there’s no reason to waste precious capital on tasks that could be automated. Of course, you should be thoughtful about what you choose to automate. No AI solution will understand your brand tone better than your marketing team, and you’d be taking a huge leap of faith if you let bots write your code. But—and no one knows this better than you—SaaS solutions can save your team so much time. Practice what you preach to your users, and position your business for faster growth by automating these five processes. #1 Sales tax Have you memorized the sales tax rates for all 14,000 jurisdictions in the U.S.? Your accounting team hasn’t either. This means collecting and reporting on sales tax isn’t just a time-suck—it’s a liability. When you have nexus in multiple states and potentially thousands of jurisdictions (as is often the case for SaaS companies with large markets), the risk of human error and resulting penalties is immense. Save yourself the hassle by automating your sales tax collection and reporting. Many SaaS companies use TaxJar, which generates precise sales tax rates and calculations at the state, county, city, and special taxing-district level in real time, across all the channels you use to sell. TaxJar’s AutoFile can also completely automate your sales tax filing, using the information it receives from your ecommerce providers and marketplaces to prepare and submit returns to each state, along with remittance. And with AutoFile, you’ll never miss the filing deadline, protecting you from late-filing penalties and a higher risk of being audited. #2 Bookkeeping Wasting over 40 hours a year on tax preparation is the opposite of “lean,” yet the majority of small businesses do it, according to Accounting Today. The problem is that businesses are often still manually gathering financial documents come tax time. Automation can help by centralizing and categorizing financial documents so accounting teams can keep a clean set of books with minimal effort. As an added bonus, clean books make it easier to borrow money, attract angel investors, and file for an IPO. Sage Intacct is a popular choice for automating bookkeeping because it includes features unique to the SaaS business model. For example, Sage Intacct is compatible with Salesforce1, allowing Sage to automate the SaaS subscription billing life cycle through features such as subscription changes, automatic billing, flexible pricing, and accurate revenue recognition. #3 Payroll If your team wasn’t spread out across the country before COVID-19, it probably is now. Manually calculating payroll details is daunting, particularly for SaaS companies that often have employees working remotely across geographies. Between FICA taxes and state and federal income tax withholding, there’s plenty of room for error, and miscalculations can lead to serious legal and financial consequences. Employees can be penalized for improper tax filings, which will be a financial burden for them—and for your business if they sue for damages. Avoid all of this by automating. ADP is a well-known and highly reputable payroll service provider that can organize your payroll information and automate calculations. They also guarantee your payroll, whether your SaaS company has five or 5,000 people, meaning that if an error in your payroll results in penalties, ADP will pay those penalties for you. #4 User support If 62% of U.S. consumers say they like interacting with a chatbot, why isn’t every business using them? Chatbots can help user support teams get ahead of customer inquiries by attending to routine questions. Just keep in mind that computers don’t have “soft skills,” so they can’t exhibit empathy when conflicts arise. You’ll still need actual employees to step in and help with more sensitive issues. Freshdesk is a go-to for SaaS companies because its bots are easy to train and trigger conversations based on customer intent. Even if the bot can’t answer a question, it will at least be able to route the customer inquiry to the right team. #5 Purchasing Your office manager doesn’t have time to seek out the best prices on office supplies—let alone make new purchases every week. Save them the time and hassle by automating the purchasing process. Negotiatus is a popular option because it allows users to search for new vendors, request and submit approvals, and complete purchases across websites, all from one centralized platform. As an added bonus, your business leaders will have far more visibility into company spend, and your accounting teams will be able to automatically track expenses. Free up 6 weeks for tasks that will have an impact Think about the impact your team could make if they had six extra weeks in the year to focus on high-level work. That’s how much time your company could get back by automating these tasks, according to WorkMarket’s 2020 In(Sight) Report. That number will keep on growing. About a third of activities across 60% of occupations have the potential to be automated in the future, according to a report from McKinsey. Pay close attention to these developments to make sure you’re always getting the most out of your human capital. For more information about how SaaS companies can streamline their sales tax compliance, download our free Sales Tax for SaaS Companies Checklist. The post You’re Holding Your Business Back If You’re Not Automating These 5 Processes appeared first on SaaStr.