Over the past 18 months or so, a number of our clients have asked our advice on how they can cut business costs without harming the day-to-day running of their company, or indeed productivity. Obviously, there is only so far one can go when it comes to making redundancies – a reduced workforce, after all, harms the capability of the business to produce or provide the product or service that they are in business for in the first place.
After a little research and some implementation into our own business, it struck us that there are a number of areas where non-detrimental cutbacks can be made. What’s more, most of these trimmings have a lasting effect on the bottom line.
When I delved into it a little further, I found the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (www.seai.ie) to be a great resource for helping with energy costs. With a couple of clicks on the SEAI website, business owners can find the ‘Quick Wins’ section that offers helpful tips on how to ensure that you are making the most efficient use of energy in your business. The helpful people at SEAI have even broken it down by sector so you can see at a glance some useful hints relating very specifically to your own business.
That’s not even the best bit. There are grants available from SEAI for commercial entities to help companies introduce better and more efficient energy saving mechanisms. For more on financial help available from the Authority, click here.
Also, it seems that the SEAI are pushing hard to promote the use of electric vehicles. The Authority can help those companies with large fleets to make the transition with a grant towards the provision of electric vehicles. There’s also the added benefit that companies can make up to 33% savings in fuel costs by making the switch.
We’ve also looked closely at introducing cloud computing into our operations at DCA Accountants and Business Advisors. The big advantage from a savings point of view is that cloud computing negates the need to maintain a main server. It also helps reduce the loss of man hours – staff can get access to their work information from anywhere, which also helps speed up the time it takes to carry out projects. Downloading information and files is also much quicker and more efficient than using a regular server. Introducing cloud computing to a business will save on IT maintenance costs in the long run too. There is also a decreased risk of downtime in the office if there is no longer a reliance on a server.
However, what one should be aware of here is that cloud computing is only available in an area where there is fibre optic cable as opposed to copper wiring. There have been giant strides made in getting businesses online throughout the country in recent years so if your area is not equipped with fibre optic cabling right now, it shouldn’t be too long before it is. There’s much more information here on the benefits of cloud computing.
There are obviously more immediate measures that can be taken to reduce costs that won’t alter in any way how you do business. By comparing mobile phone providers, or other utility suppliers like gas and electricity companies, businesses can shave a lot off their bi-monthly bills in one go. When making decisions on providers in all of these areas though, it’s wise to read the terms and conditions carefully and to carry out an analysis of what you would typically pay for electricity, for example, over a three year period. Armed with that information, you can make an informed decision on which supplier suits your company best. It’s also a good idea to have a housekeeping discussion with your staff and possibly introduce new policies on the use of printers, company telephones and other resources that are not necessarily for personal use.
Spending some time reviewing company outgoings every month is well worth the effort – most businesses that we’ve dealt with or spoken to have made savings as a result, some more than others obviously. Nevertheless, the more that is put back into the company, the more productive it will be in the long term.
DCA Accountants and Business Advisors.
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