Ecommerce: 5 Tips to Manage the Back-Office

The ecommerce back-office keeps things humming (photo credit: True Agency on Unsplash)

Back-office is one of the most important functions of an ecommerce business. Accounting, finance, inventory, order fulfillment, shipping, vendor management and website updates contribute to building a strong back-office system. The back-office team handles these and other aspects of ecommerce operations, allowing them to keep running smoothly.

However, on several occasions, the back-office team is not able to deliver the best because of a few challenges they face that hamper their productivity. For instance, many ecommerce businesses use traditional ERP systems and manual processes for back-office operations. This leads to manual errors and delays. Besides, it increases administrative and operational costs.

In this article, we will discuss five ways to manage back-office operations to drive better productivity and achieve business goals.

Build a Self-Propelled Team

Having a team that takes full responsibility and ownership of the tasks assigned to them can work wonders for ecommerce businesses. Self-propelled teams seldom depend on a manager to instruct them. They work in complete autonomy and focus solely on the task at hand.

Similar to pod structure, the team members know their responsibilities and proactively work towards achieving business goals. They help each other via knowledge sharing and skill development to ensure seamless ecommerce operations. Thus, managers are free to address other activities that demand their expertise.

Here are a few tips to consider when building a self-propelled team.

  • Identify and highlight each team member’s strengths
  • Organize fun events, company retreats, team lunches, and more
  • Invest in training sessions for employees’ professional growth
  • Recognize and reward your team
  • Develop good conflict resolution techniques

Boost Productivity by Reducing Manual Work

The inefficiencies in the ecommerce operations affect employee productivity. They tend to spend time fixing trivial issues instead of focusing on what matters. However, with the right approach, these issues can be eliminated.

Here are some ways to reduce manual work and the errors it brings along:

  • Invest in an order management system (OMS) and integrate the same with the ecommerce website. Every order placed on the site will be automatically created in the OMS, without any manual effort. Hence, there will not be any delays caused in processing the orders.
  • Use third-party integrations to exchange data between the ecommerce website and inventory management system. This will reduce the errors caused when updating inventory manually.
  • Leverage inventory automation to ensure the products are automatically reordered when it hits a certain low volume. Thus, the task of calling the suppliers for ordering items is taken off their to-do lists.

Leverage Tech Automation to Collect Data

Businesses can quicken repetitive jobs, such as administrative tasks, accounting functions, customer support, and more with customized software. Investing in software can reduce human errors in attention-intensive and error-prone tasks like data entry and data processing.

Let us look at how technology automation can quicken back-office operations.

  • Use data entry tools that leverage intelligent character recognition (ICR) for extracting data from images, labels, paper, and other documents and converting it into digital format.
  • Invest in invoicing software to generate and manage the invoices for the products. Use e-invoices, if possible, to stay organized.
  • Count on an online document storage system to manage, organize, and classify documents, such as purchase receipts, vendor contracts, invoice records, employee pay slips, and others for easy access.

Track Expenses Using Accounting Software

Whether it’s purchasing packing materials or paying suppliers, the back-office team is usually busy with creating purchase orders, releasing payments or performing other accounting-related tasks. However, the traditional method of using ledgers to manage expenses and filing systems is time-consuming.

Using online accounting software to track the expenses can speed up the entire process, eliminating manual errors. Here’s how an accounting software streamlines expense management for businesses.

  • Scan the receipts and upload them to the platform to create a payment request
  • Approve payment requests and reimburse the payments in a few clicks
  • Generate expense reports using automation without any human intervention
  • Manage taxation, inhouse audits, and other accounting checks seamlessly
  • Set reminders to send payments to the concerned parties
  • Set up a budget and compare it with the actual spending to gain crucial financial insights

Upgrade to an Online Payroll System

Managing employee payroll is another task that eats into your team’s productive time. Keeping a track of employees’ attendance, leave balance, tax deductions, salary structure, bank accounts, and creating salary slips is not just tricky but also tedious.

Using modern payroll software will help businesses streamline complicated payroll operations in the following ways.

  • Manage the employee information and their leaves online
  • Calculate the salary, tax, and other deductions automatically
  • Reimburse employees for overtime, study budgets, leaves and more without any hassles
  • Generate accurate salary slips and share them with the respective employees automatically over the email
  • Create payroll reports automatically, without any manual intervention

Wrapping Up

Regardless of their size, ecommerce businesses must have a productive and reliable back-office team. Hence, it is important to invest in the right tools to support their work and boost productivity. Tools, such as accounting software, payroll software, order management system, inventory management software, and others can empower the team to carry out their tasks efficiently.

We are sure you will follow the tips mentioned in this article to improve the back-office operations of your ecommerce business.

Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest