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The Difference Between Procedures, Workflows, Systems and Processes

When it comes to business, there are a lot of different moving parts that all contribute to making the company run smoothly. Business processes, procedures, workflows, and systems all play a role in keeping things running efficiently and effectively.

But what's the difference between them? Let's take a closer look:


Systems are the tools and technologies that business processes, procedures, and workflows rely on to function - its a critical component of your business's operating structure. For example, an HR system might be used to track employee information or store onboarding documents. Your CRM is another example of a system. As a small business, there are certain systems you'll want to make sure you have in place.

Business Processes:

These are the high-level steps that need to be completed in order to achieve a specific goal. For example, the process of onboarding a new employee would include steps like sending out offer letters, scheduling meetings, and collecting necessary paperwork.


Workflows and processes are frequently used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences between the two terms. Workflows visualise the sequence of steps that need to be followed in order to complete a business process. In other words, they provide a roadmap for completing a task. Again using the example of onboarding a new employee, a workflow would show the order in which the different steps need to be completed. Workflows can also be analysed, planned, automated, and streamlined to produce the best possible outcomes.


Procedures outline the specific actions that need to be taken in order to complete a business process. Going back to our example of onboarding a new employee, a procedure might detail how to fill out the necessary paperwork.

It's lot easier to delegate and outsource when you have a clear understanding of your procedures. The procedure guarantees that your expectations are met and that all required actions are followed to achieve the desired results. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is another term used in the corporate world to define them.

Hopefully this clarified things a bit!

Are you looking for help putting the processes, procedures, workflows, and systems in place that your business requires? Let's chat! My goal as your Online Business Manager is to help you in evaluating and streamlining your business allowing you to relax knowing that everything is working properly (even when you are not present).

If you would like to have a chat about optimising your workflows, systems and processes, book in for a free call.

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