BACK office functions in most businesses are absolutely critical to success but they are also labour intensive, time-consuming and costly.

But they don’t have to be.

Eastleigh-based Documation is a software company that develops, implements and innovates automated solutions to a wide range of companies and organisations, including universities, local authorities, manufacturers and retailers.

“Document management improves business processes and removes the paper from the work flow,” said marketing manager, Julia Stovold.

“It takes a people process and automates it, making it quicker, more flexible and more efficient.

“But it is about replacing people with software robots? Will robots take all the jobs? Absolutely not. It frees up employees to do more creative and interesting things and become more productive.”

There are a number of areas in which this can help, key among them accounts payable, purchasing, expense management, mailroom services, statement reconciliation and remittance delivery.

Julia said solutions can be tailored to each business to mirror existing business processes whilst automating them, helping to make cost savings and driving performance and competitiveness.

“Our customers are always looking to do more in terms of making their business more efficient and there is a constant evolution of automation.

Documation was established 27 years ago and founder, owner and chief executive officer John Wallace is still very much hands on.

There’s a team of 30, around half of who have been in the business for more than 15 years, relatively unusual in a software company.

It has been an interesting year to say the least.

Julia said: “For many businesses which still have a lot of paperwork moving around, remote working has been a big challenge, in terms of collecting from offices that have been shut, collating and processes at home, sometimes in a number of locations.

“In terms of efficiency, our systems have really come into their own in the pandemic.”

Invoicing is just one area in which the system in ‘scalable’ - that is having the ability to move with changing circumstances.

For example, in the past year a company may have gone from 5,000 invoices a month to 1,000 or even none at all. In a much anticipated recovery it might go to 10,000 a month.

The flexibility offered by automation means there are not the issues of laying people off and re-hiring as work dramatically falls and rises.

“Sudden changes in the business can be dealt with much more efficiently and quickly.

“That is something we have all seen a huge amount of in 2020,” said Julia.

While these automated processes may not be about replacing humans, the software robots have at least two advantages.

They can work 24 hours and they don’t go on holiday.

John Wallace said: “We have been banking with Natwest since our inception in 1992. Over the years we have considered changing banks, but when researching the marketplace we have never found a comparable alternative.

“Simon Finch, our account manager, is responsive and innovative in his approach to account management.

“He listens and understands us as a business and connects and introduces us to relevant products and services.

We look forward to enjoying many more years under his careful, considerate management.”