This article has been initially published by iCHEF

In the F&B industry, when we hear “automation”, we immediately think of robot chefs and waiters, self-service kiosks and such. The truth is, not all automation requires such heavy investments and an overhaul of your operations.

Instead of directly replacing manpower with robots, there are repetitive tasks that you can automate and simple ways to make processes more efficient. This is especially useful in small businesses – where the business owner, the finance department and accounting departments are one and the same.

Automating workflows ultimately frees up more time, which can be better spent on your menu, marketing, or improving staff morale just to name a few.

Invoice Processing

While going completely paperless is the ultimate goal, in the foreseeable future, businesses are still going to be dealing with paper invoices from suppliers.

Paper or PDF format invoices require someone to decipher them and manually enter them into a system for further processing – a time-consuming and mundane task. Imagine if you could save all that time by using automatic invoice digitization, and spend it on something more worthwhile instead!

How does the invoice digitization process work?

It’s surprisingly easy. With invoice processing software like Innovo Invoice, you upload a PDF, image or scanned copy of your invoice and the relevant data will be automatically extracted. This digitised invoice, once you verify it, can then be sent to backend systems like an accounting or ERP system for bookkeeping or further processing.

Besides making manual work redundant, it drastically reduces the chances of errors being made by data entry – where a single typo can result in a lot of time wasted on trying to reconcile accounts. 

The healthy SOP (standard operating procedure) of digitising your invoices regularly also improves security, relationships with suppliers, operational planning and cost management because you will be able to organise and see all your invoices at a glance.

Image credit: Xero

Integration with Accounting Software 

You may think you’re setting up a coffee shop or restaurant, but in reality, there are a lot of things you have to do besides managing the front of house or cook – and accounts is one of them.

Using an accounting software like Xero makes it easier to manage your bills, expenses, invoicing and bank reconciliation with an accessible dashboard. This makes it effectively no longer necessary to have an internal accounts person, saving manpower cost. You would only need to engage an accountant once a year – for annual filing and tax filing.

To make things even easier, some POS systems can send the daily sales numbers straight to the accounting software so that you don’t have to update personally.

Seamless, Simplified Workflow 

The best way to automate you most menial tasks is to have your software connected so they can “talk” to each other. Here’s how to set up a workflow that eases your business operations without too much trouble:

1. Integrate invoice processing with Xero so that all your invoices are digitised, automatically added into your accounts and easily taken care of at the end of the month.

2. Use a POS system which can automatically send sales data to Xero, like iCHEF.

Connect Xero to your bank. Xero connects directly with all major banks in Singapore to provide automatic transaction updates from your bank directly into Xero every day for easy reconciliation – saving you time, and giving you a clearer picture of your business numbers.

Image credit: iCHEF POS

With all your finance management in one place, it is much easier to manage than handling multiple spreadsheets. At the end of the day, all businesses come down to numbers.

Whatever you can measure, you can improve. If you don’t have the right systems in place to measure, you can’t improve. Here’s to spending less time on meaningless work and more on improving your business!

Interested in implementing simpler workflows for your business? We have partnered with Innovo42and Abundant Accounting to provide our readers with special deals on Invoice Processing and Xero! Click the button below to experience seamless accounting today.


Cheryl Tay is the editor and content marketer at iCHEF Singapore. She also manages iCHEF Club, a growing community of F&B owners in Singapore – organising events, the blog, an online newsletter and the F&B Entrepreneur Bootcamp, the only regular workshop on opening a new restaurant in the country. In her spare time, she attempts to read every book that’s ever won a literary prize and watches cat videos. Like any proper Singaporean, her love for food runs deep – especially spicy food. Chili is life. 

Posted by:Andreea Serb

Andreea Serb is a Content Marketing Lead at Innovo42. Follow her on Twitter @Andreea_Serb to discover stories and fresh perspectives from the industry.