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How to Avoid Human Error in Your Business

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All businesses must treat time as a valuable resource. Time has to be considered as expensive commodity in the same way as company accountants would consider the stock or business premises as a vital part of the operation. 

Both employee and management time is something that needs to be treated as a financial cost. Wasting time is therefore like wasting company resources.

That’s why well-run and efficient businesses take any time-saving measures extremely seriously. Time literally can be money as far as running a business goes.

This attention to the human details is a fundamental principle behind all money-making operations – and is particularly important for a start-up business in today’s competitive marketplace. 

A start-up needs to be extremely careful about wasting time on processes that aren’t fine-tuned to the highest point of efficiency. With trial and error, it takes a while to get these processes right.

Start-ups may not realise the financial implications of human error. They may not be established with the sort of systems in place that a long-standing business would use. One of the biggest business costs can be wasting time repairing the results of human error. 

One of the biggest categories of time wasting for a business to consider is the simple results of any mistakes made my staff.

A business process that relies on a human employee never making an error is flawed. Of course, everyone makes mistakes.

Therefore any business and accounting process needs to include checks and balances to ensure that a tiny slip doesn’t result in hours of wasted time further down the line. The smallest slip can cause a big expense n time to solve it.

For example, consider an operator keying in a client’s telephone number into a list of contacts. One missed or mistaken digit in the number entry could result in failure to contact the client at a crucial time – and then lots and lots of company time having to be spent tracing the lost number (and probably apologising to the client).

A simple numerical error could lead to financial disparities that can take the financial department or accountants hours to trace. And task that was simply forgotten or neglected could lead to a time-consuming logjam in the processes at a much later date.

These sorts of simple human errors are always made in every sort of business – no matter how expert, well qualified or highly motivated the staff. What is important is to institute processes that double check against them.

There need to be processes that allow any occasional slips to be spotted before any major time-wasting damage is done.

These processes can be very simple: like having someone double-check a calculation or oversee staff doing very repetitive jobs that can be prone to errors. 

Or the process can be more sophisticated. A great example is a voucher check system that can be an important fail-safe during data entry for any company or business.

This is a process where a check (in the US) or cheque (in the UK) or any remittance is mirrored with a voucher or some form of remittance advice. The voucher will include the important information about what the transaction involved.

This double trail of records then forms a system that can be cross-checked. The records of all transactions can then easily be audited and verified.

It’s one of the most tried-and-tested methods of eliminating human error from the payment system of many businesses. It can be used as part of a company’s pay roll system or for buying supplies.

It creates a verifiable chain that can be traced and compared quickly and easily to ensure there are no errors in the recording. They can be in printed format or simply digital records in a computerised accounting system.

Recording processes like this are vital to established businesses. Start-ups can learn to avoid the problems of human error – by adopting strategies like voucher checks.