Business Process Automation: How to Put Repetitive Tasks on Autopilot

By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Apr 17 2024 read

This article is the last in a four-part series inspired by the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) Model ® and the book “Process!” by Mike Paton and Lisa González.

No matter how ingenious your service might be, there’s no way around paying attention to what props it up: solid business operations. Your efficiency, agility and longevity depend on the behind-the-scenes activities your clients can’t see.

We’ve already looked at why processes are necessary, how to evaluate and iterate your workflows and the barriers you might come up against as you try to standardize.

Now, we’ll take a closer look at the bigger picture: how to achieve true, long-lasting business process automation (BPA) to streamline your company workflows.

1. Consider Your Industry

Not all automation technologies will align with professional services. Especially if you are looking for general BPA software, you could very well find information about robotic process automation, advanced machine learning and other things irrelevant to a service firm. However, you may be able to use artificial intelligence, chatbots or professional services automation platforms.

Always seek out evidence of use cases, including stories about how a business like yours has achieved great results with the tool. 

For example, read how cloud consulting firm TradiePad applied Accelo’s automation capabilities to increase productivity by 30%.

2. Develop Your Strategy

Ask questions about each process, including:

  • Where does it start?
  • Is it documented?
  • Which are the most problematic or repetitive tasks?
  • Which business functions or team members are involved?
  • Which steps could be automated?

Integrate different types of automation to create a seamless flow of information and action. 

Sometimes, you can manage to entirely replace humans in an automated sequence. Other times, you’ll need your team to step in at certain steps for quality control or to maintain a personal touch.

There is no “right” level of automation to aim for, but take care not to go overboard if this is your first foray into automated systems; you have to maintain a balance between ambition and practicality so you can stick to the changes.

The end goal should be to craft an agile process landscape that can support innovation and growth.

3. Engage Stakeholders

Stakeholder insights provide nuance. The people who are actually executing and affected by each process are the ones best poised to optimize it. Plus, when you get them involved, you increase buy-in and up the chances of a smooth adoption of new systems.

4. Clear Bottlenecks

Like a person, no business can be vibrant and dynamic with artery blockages. Uncover your bottlenecks using a combination of data analysis and stakeholder feedback. That way, you’ll have more confidence in the routing of new workflows.

5. Utilize Templates

Whether for pre-populated forms, standardized email communications or service-specific proposals, templates are a great way to ensure your automation plan becomes a company standard rather than a one-time trial.

6. Tailor for Your Specific Business

You know your organization’s culture, objectives and challenges. Don’t agree to any form of automation that doesn’t align with those!

7. Educate and Train to Reduce Human Error

Remember that pursuing business process automation does not mean making people obsolete. Instead, you can redefine their roles and make greater use of their diverse skill sets.

A well-designed employee onboarding process is your first line of defense against human error.

While it may be tough to transition your current employees to a new, automation-first strategy, new employees post-BPA implementation will quickly become adept at interfacing with the technology that’s part of their everyday tasks.

Long-term success, though, is about continuous learning. Training shouldn’t stop with onboarding. You’ll be upgrading and trying new systems and workflow automation practices going forward, which means unfamiliarity and misunderstanding are looming risks unless you make time for proper training.

When employees are well-trained, they’re empowered.

Give your employees the autonomy to troubleshoot minor issues and make informed decisions when necessary. Chances are, they’ll see opportunities for further streamlining because they’re invested in building and executing processes.

8. Always Be Looking Ahead

Digital transformation is a positive consequence of diving head-first into BPA. The automated system you choose should be robust and future-proof.

Automation software is different from software with some built-in automation.

If you’re not careful, you could end up with far too many unused and underutilized platforms. Even if they all claim to help you automate business processes, they’ll work against your business process management (BPM) initiatives if they’re creating inefficiencies.

To identify the best use of technology, you should map out processes before you search for an automation platform. Then, project six months, one year or five years down the road.

Will the platforms you’re considering stand the test of time?

Adopting technology takes significant time, money and human resources, and switching to new solutions every year or two can counteract the benefits of business process automation.

9. Keep An Eye On Your Progress

Embracing BPA is more than just a one-and-done endeavor. It’s a sustained commitment.

The initial surge of efficiency and cost savings can be intoxicating, but these gains can diminish over time.

The following are our top tips for ensuring that the fruits of automation continue to nourish your business:

Conduct Regular Audits

Your automated processes may serve their intended purpose effectively at first and then wane over time if they’re neglected. Schedule a review every quarter, half-year or year to check on them.

Stay Informed About Advances in Tech

You don’t need the most state-of-the-art automation solutions to stay competitive. However, taking advantage of small improvements in CRM integrations, invoicing software or marketing platforms could provide incremental positive change.

Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

business process automation time kpis

Data will tell you everything you need to know.

Ironically, how you collect data might be part of these automated processes you’ve put in place, and it could become outdated. If you find you’re relying on yesterday’s numbers, it’s time to find a more robust reporting solution that can tie all of your client work processes together.

Why Is Business Process Automation Important?

Process management leaders apply business process automation to streamline what their teams do to achieve peak performance.

But each business uses automation differently, so be thoughtful about which processes make the most sense to automate.

In professional services, you have many automation options in various stages, from your sales process and project management to client service and invoicing.

What Are The Best Business Processes to Automate?

As we’ve established, business automation can be a game changer. Here are the best processes to automate and how Accelo can help!

Data Entry

Inputting new data using a manual process can be incredibly time consuming, especially as conditions change over time. With Accelo, enjoy dynamic views of information, such as financial statistics, so you can focus on the big picture and react when needed.

Customer Experience

It’s always important to have a personal relationship with your clients. But with a branded client portal, they can access more things they need within their personalized user experience without placing a phone call that ties up your staff resources.

Appointment Scheduling

Keeping everything on schedule is made a lot easier with automation, too. Accelo’s automated team scheduling software allows employees to quickly integrate their external appointments and book new tasks. 

Time Tracking

business process automation time tracking

Tracking your team members’ hours is critical to ensuring profitability. Accelo’s integrations with Gmail and Microsoft Office, as well as automatic timers and meeting capture, help ensure everyone’s hours are accounted for.

Client Billing

From there, you can sync billing for simple invoice creation and timely budget reconciliation.  


The best way to keep track of your progress is with detailed, thorough reporting. Set up automated reports in Accelo to effectively monitor important KPIs.

Automate With A Vision

Your clients notice when you deliver with precision, timeliness and attention to detail. But they’ll notice even more when that quality doesn’t stay consistent.

If you want to maintain recurring relationships that drive your business for years to come, you need to establish and automate the processes that hold them up.

We’re big fans of business process automation for professional services because we’ve seen it work wonders for so many Accelo users.

Get a glimpse of what you could achieve by consolidating processes throughout your client journey. Book an Accelo demo today!

Revisit this series and share your experiences or questions about process automation on LinkedIn.


About the Author


Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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