According to Close Brothers, in terms of productivity – something assumed to be one of the largest challenges facing business – the UK lags behind the rest of the G7 by 16%. Nearly half of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) say new technology would increase overall productivity by 46%, improve staff efficiency by 50%, and help upskill staff by 43%.

In this context, only 45% of UK small business have invested recently in technology, with three out of four businesses having no plans to invest in technology.

Below are three ways to improve productivity for your business.

Take your Accounting to the Cloud

The filing of VAT returns online – under the UK government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative – requires ongoing management of your company accounts, from invoicing and payments to expenses and payroll.

There are plenty of options in regard to platforms to help you do this, with each platform having the tools to effectively managing accounts. However, not all solutions on the market have been finalised for Making Tax Digital.

Recommended is QuickBooks Online, with the company suggesting that by filing VAT returns online, companies will have a better overview of cash flow in real time and will be able to manage human resources better – thus freeing time for more productive activities such as sales, marketing, and training.

MTD has the power to catalyse an immediate annual £6.9 billion net gain in productivity for the UK economy, or £46 billion over five years, according to Intuit QuickBooks.

Manage your Customer Journey through Customer Relationship Management

Modern businesses need to digitize the customer relationship through CRM, customer-relationship management. This will strengthen their understanding and management of their customers’ journey, so to increase revenues and reduce costs.

Whether this is accomplished by winning new customers, finding new ways to deliver more value to existing customers, or improving efficiency and productivity, it’s crucial to have good visibility of what’s happening in the business – and effective control over the key ways to improve performance.

CRM gives businesses that visibility and control. In addition, CRM provides improved communication and collaboration, automation of everyday tasks, and better reporting capabilities. All of these will be invaluable to upping your productivity – but potentially the biggest boon is centralisation: having all your information in one place.

Lastly, make sure CRM is integrated into your cloud accounting package, to drive a more effective and integrated front office back office approach.

Automate and Socialise your Marketing

Automated marketing amplifies what you’re already doing in marketing. It automates all the digital channels through which you push messages out.

A decade ago, this meant scheduling emails. Today, automated marketing systems have become more sophisticated and broader, handling online marketing campaigns whether it’s through Twitter or email or online advertising.

Marketing automation strengthens customer relationships, scales marketing campaigns, and makes it easy to integrate lead generation efforts into the sales cycle. Through this, it enables the company to be more creative with saved time, harnessing hard-won marketing leads to sales and measuring their campaign’s success. In turn, this allows marketers to quickly and easily profile and target customers, gather business intelligence, and run email campaigns and events.

Applying these three approaches will accelerate your business productivity and help your business survive and thrive.