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A smarter way to work: Leading a streamlined business and an action-packed life

Article written by Colin Timmis (Xero)

Small businesses in South Africa are increasingly turning to technology to help automate and streamline processes, so they can focus on the most important things. One business doing this is NML, a software engineering company driven by the potential of intelligent, elegant design to solve business and social problems.

Paul Cartmel founded the business in 2007. After studying mechanical engineering at UCT in Cape Town, he started to realise how transformational the internet and other digital developments would be on businesses.

“I had this profound realisation that you could connect different communities around the world using technology. It made me realise how small, but also how diverse the world was,” he says.

It was this realisation that drove him to start a business in the digital space. He started NML to help businesses adapt to this new digital world and change from paper-based systems. “A big focus for us is helping to create financial wellness amongst the communities we serve, by helping them incorporate new digital financial tools,” he adds.

Embarking on a digital journey

As a company that helps other businesses to facilitate transformation, NML has also focussed on its own digital journey. Technology is helping them to streamline processes so the team can focus on the most important areas of the business, and enjoy life outside of work.

After a business blip a few years ago, the team at NML started to think differently about their own approach to finances and reporting. “I got in contact with the accounting firm, PKF, and worked with them on a totally new approach to managing our accounts using Xero as a key part of that,” Paul shares.

“I hate admin, so using Xero means we can automate a lot of the manual tasks that contribute to the admin burden. This means I can really focus on running the business and growth.”

He believes that long-term technology will unlock the ability for humans to do what their purpose is in life.

Using technology like Xero at NML means the team can find a better balance and not feel guilty about taking time to do the things they love – whether it’s going for a surf or a run in the mountains. “I’m a believer in working smarter not harder. What you work on is far more important than the hours you spend on it,” says Paul.

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