Your guide to HR and purchasing automation

Written by Clare Dodd

Time off requests, purchase orders, expenses claims: they’re all a massive time-suck.

Reams of paper, unfathomable spreadsheets and an endless back and forth  all leave employees feeling disempowered, managers frustrated and finance or HR struggling to keep track of staff availability and budgets.

HR and purchasing automation is an obvious step forward. So how’s it done?

The power of the cloud

Software as a Service is the answer to many automation prayers. Online apps like Turbine offer you ready-to-go services, which are hosted in the cloud meaning they can be updated and accessed from anywhere and on any device.

Turbine specialises in purchase orders, expenses, time off and employee records, but there are other cloud services out there to complement it, such as payroll and accounting apps like SageOne and appraisal apps like Small Improvements.

By automating the workflow of many common HR and purchasing processes, cloud apps like this offer several time-efficient benefits:

  • Centralisation. All your information is in one place so that when an action is taken, a single version of the truth is updated. And everyone knows where it is. This also means everyone can see what’s going on at any time. Employees can check if a holiday request has been approved, finance can see if a purchase order item has been received. It’s all there.
  • Self-service. Many apps, Turbine included, are self-service, meaning only one person has to be involved in each stage of the process. No asking for forms or sending an email, which requires a spreadsheet to be updated and a phone call to be made. Someone sends a request. A manager gets notified and approves (or not). And so on. It’s all logged as you go so there’s no updating of any databases necessary.
  • Accessibility. The point of cloud apps is that you can access them from anywhere on any device –all you need is an internet connection. This means the little bit of time you still have to spend on administrivia can be done on the go and without delay.

Denbighshire Council embraces HR and purchasing automation

Back in 2012, Denbighshire Council introduced iTrent, a web-based HR system. It revolutionised the way they work.

‘The benefits have been numerous, from faster working and less manual admin, to a significantly reduced carbon footprint,’ says Rachel Marsh, management information officer.

Knowledge is power

Beyond the immediate timesaving benefits of HR automation, there are also more long-term perks that are great for your business.

Once all your transactions are being automatically logged it makes tasks like attendance monitoring and budget control much easier. Turbine, for example, lets you export data to help you track and visualise stats like time of delivery and annual spend with vendors or peak sickness periods across the business:

  • Ensure consistency in expenses approval
  • Prevent vendor over-invoicing
  • Watch for burn out due to untaken holidays

Reduce the risk of fraud or negligence with consistent audit trails and approval rules.

Next week: Your guide to automating communications

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