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Q&A with Marie Hibbert: Process Overhaul Results & Tips for Other Small Businesses

Our team recently sat down with Marie Hibbert, Director of Business Intelligence & Data Analytics at James Moore, to chat about automation for small businesses and actionable steps they can take to improve their processes. 

As previously mentioned, we recently set out on a process overhaul here at Elevate Funding, and Marie was an instrumental part of making that happen for us. We hope you read this advice and consider how you can apply it to your own business.

Please continue reading for the full interview.

1. Can you briefly describe the scope of your project with us?

Our project goals were to reduce process cycle time, increase employee satisfaction, better integrate and align systems, and reduce human errors. We began by identifying daily and monthly processes that were highly manual and repetitive.

Ultimately, the automation of these processes enables business growth because the solutions are scalable. Plus automation reduces key-person risk, enabling seamless transferability of the process if necessary. Automating the daily processing of payments has had the highest impact. This process historically took 2-5 hours per day and was reduced, through automation, down to 5-10 minutes per day.

2. What were the results achieved?

Automating these accounting processes has saved Elevate roughly 960 hours annually, well over the original estimate of 630 hours annually.

Some of the other benefits achieved include risk reduction, increased employee satisfaction, and enabling employees to spend time on value-added activities [instead of manual data manipulation and entry].

3. What steps can other companies take towards automating their accounting processes and achieving similar results?

Tracing the challenge back to the root cause is the first step. Are there tasks that you do every day that require your team to take the same steps? Are you manually moving data from one system to another (e.g., payments, invoices, other transactions)? Is it taking too long to get the information necessary to operate your organization? People, processes, and technology are generally at the heart of all challenges. Once you identify the root cause, the next step is to prioritize the related projects. Do you have any quick wins? Projects requiring relatively low effort but with high impact are a great place to start. Starting here generally motivates the team to tackle more challenging projects later on.

"I was very impressed with the level of attention our team received during this project and with Marie's ability to quickly problem-solve any unforeseen issues. This project was essential to our continued growth, and to allow such growth without accruing major expenses later down the line. To me, this was a no-brainer for Elevate, and I believe in 5 years we will look back with gratitude that we took on this process automation when we did."

Heather Francis, CEO of Elevate Funding

Marie Hibbert, CPA, CITP, CGMA

Marie Hibbert specializes in helping companies optimize and automate their systems and processes, enabling organizations to harness their data in a more meaningful way. Marie has over 20 years of experience working with some of the world’s largest organizations, focusing on process automation, analytics, and financial technology.