I was recently asked to contribute to a post about how Technology has improved my working life. It got me thinking and I realized so many ways things have changed over the years which have improved the way I can work; speeding processes up and even now allowing me to be able to work from home but working for companies all over the country and even the world.
My first ever proper job outside the family business was in 1987 as a Telex Operator for the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce. Companies would either fax what they wanted me to telex or would read it to me over the phone. These would be big orders or deals going on between different countries so the detail had to be precise. I suppose a telex was an early form of email but not many had access to it so was provided as a service to Chamber members. Even fax machines in offices weren’t common then and people would come to us to send a fax. Fax machines have now been replaced by scanners and email – a piece of technology I’ve seen come and go.
I’ve been in accounting for over 25 years and have seen many changes in that time with technology making an Accountant’s life much easier. As a young teenager I used to “help” our bookkeeper by totaling up the double entries on the accounts ledgers. Accountancy programs do the double entry automatically now so the trial balance will always balance – although you may be putting wrong figures in or in the wrong place so you still have to watch that.
In the early 90’s I worked in a steelworks in Cardiff which used an intranet for all their systems. Figures would be input in one department about 10 miles from my office and I would then generate the sales invoices from that. No other interaction was needed thus speeding up the process. This was ahead of its time then I think.
Nowadays it would be cloud computing instead of an intranet and this has helped me amazingly in the work I do as an accountant and as a writer. I have clients in different areas of Ireland that I do accounts for. It is all done online and they have access to the accounts system to see for themselves too. Everything I need can be scanned and emailed to me or sometimes inputted at their premises for me to then work with. This enables me to work from home which saves myself and my client time and money with no traveling needed.
With banking technology these days, payments into and out of an account can be seen in real time thus speeding up the process of sales and shipping. When I was a Financial Director for AJM and Jade in London in the late 90’s we dealt in bulk with high value computer parts – sometimes transactions were £1Million in one go.
At that time we were able to see the previous day’s bank activities but not real time. I would have to track payments coming in to us by telephone through the clearing banks to confirm when they hit our account and therefore the goods released to our customer. This could sometimes take a lot of my time having to keep checking, plus calls to the States most of the time which would be expensive. Nowadays it can be seen the instant it hits the bank account so if I was still in that company my time would have been freed up massively.
On the writing side of my business I am able to write for blogs like this one. I’m in Ireland and Corpnet.com is in Los Angeles but I can put my post directly onto their WordPress system. Rather than emailing it to them to then upload to their site this saves them the time and bother. It is the same with TweakYourBiz.com as we have contributors from different continents – they can input it directly so all I have to do is edit then. I also wouldn’t have got the job as moderator with Bizsugar.com if it couldn’t all be done online.
And Social Media!! Imagine chatting online, real-time, with someone the other side of the world 30 years ago. The opportunities Social Media has opened up are limitless and without barriers for online communication and business. Previously to network with other people you’d have to go along to networking meetings, and those were just people local to you, not in other countries. Social Media is a part of technology that I believe has made the world a much smaller place – for business and social.
On another note imagine setting up a new company quickly and without any fuss 25 years ago? I remember my father – who was a bit of a wheeler-dealer – would sometimes be setting up new companies with the deals he always had going on in the 60’s,70’s and 80’s. This would involve getting an appointment with his accountant who would arrange the company name purchase, then articles of memorandum would have to be drawn up and the company registered etc. This would take some time and remember no faxes or emails to help speed anything up. It would mostly be done my snail mail. Now you have companies like Corpnet to do all of this for you in one bundle with no fuss or time delays.
I know I’ve just touched the surface here of the progress of technology so how has it helped you in your working life? I’d love to hear more examples.