Technology Trends for Small Businesses
Today, small businesses have countless technology tools at their disposal, with some significant ones provided by their banking institutions. Business owners can quickly and easily leverage these tools to save time, reduce costs and the risk of fraud, stay on pace with competition, and continually meet customer expectations.
- It’s easier than you think to provide customers with the payment flexibility and security they now expect.
- Free up valuable time, generate cost savings and enhance security by switching from paper-based transactions to automated, electronic ones.
- Partnering with a trusted financial provider is a great way to stay ahead of the curve in digitizing payments and mitigating the risk of fraud.
Leveling the Online Playing Field
In the wake of the pandemic, one of the biggest concerns for small businesses is migrating to a virtual environment with more and more customers adopting digital transactions. The ability to perform electronic transactions has far-reaching implications for a business’s cash flow, financial security and its own liabilities. It also means that the simple business checking account they used to depend on may no longer be pulling its weight.
“The drastic business changes accelerated by the pandemic have flipped the switch for a lot of our business banking clients,” says Renee Richards-Dunn, Business Digital Product & Experience Lead at KeyBank. “The trending online banking technologies are all about bringing the bank branch to them.”
Richards-Dunn and her KeyBank colleagues have a front-row seat to many of the newest banking technology trends. They’re also helping clients through the conversations related to them. These trends include the growing need to accept authenticated payments online and to monitor and transact the business’s financials digitally and via mobile device. In addition, with the rise of these digital solutions, businesses need to adopt security measures that will protect the business, their assets and their employees from the risks of fraud.
“Small business banking should be easy and accessible 24/7 through many different channels, including the ability to pay bills and service your account,” Richards-Dunn comments. “At Key, we are constantly working to accelerate our digital offerings to meet businesses where they are, while educating them along the way.”
Running the Business 24/7
Matt Marscher, KeyBank Head of Business Banking Payments, added that popular questions from small business clients include how to create an “always open” experience for their customers and how to accept all payment types including credit cards. He points to KeyBank Merchant Services that includes solutions that make it possible for businesses to accept payments at the counter, on their website, curbside, at the table and more.
“Tools like these are not costly and give businesses the ability to accept card payments in a manner that is most convenient for them and their customers,” Marscher explained. “Businesses can take their inventory and services virtual while accepting payments at all times of the day.”
Bringing the Branch to the Business
Another technology need for many small businesses is the ability to automate and accelerate payments and receivables. This also means far less paper pushing when it comes to mailing and receiving checks and invoices.
For example, KeyBank customers have access to Key CashFlow®, which helps simplify and automate business payments. It includes features that help automate payments, receive payments faster through digital invoicing, and offer the ability to sync accounting software to business banking transactions.
“This all-in-one solution is a game changer for many business owners,” Marscher says. “Businesses can now send a digital invoice that provides their customers the ability to pay in multiple ways: by check, electronically (ACH) or by credit card. They can also save time and reduce fraud by taking advantage of the payables feature within Key CashFlow.”
In addition, business owners can streamline the way they handle receivables and payables by leveraging mobile technology. Depositing checks from a mobile device is just one of the many mobile features that offers convenience for small businesses. Adding capabilities like these can give small businesses the additional freedom and flexibility they need to foster business growth. It’s also quite painless – in many cases, businesses can simply enroll online or call their local branch.
Mitigating the Risk of Online Fraud
There is an increasing need for small business clients to protect themselves from the risk of fraud. Marscher says even a single instance of business fraud can put an operation out of business. For that reason, KeyBank offers multiple resources, in the form of webinars and personal outreach measures, to educate small businesses about the need to adopt constantly evolving fraud mitigation systems that can protect their business.
Marscher points out that paper-based transactions pose their own security risks – with the accessibility of account numbers on printed checks, for example. Digital transactions can hide many of these details from prying eyes. To that end, KeyBank strives to adopt the latest and best security measures to make digital platforms safer in the face of the continually evolving fraud environment.
“Our goal is to ensure we’re offering the best fraud protection available,” Marscher says. “We have a number of tools and systems to put in place, such as a transaction verification process, dual authorization for outgoing transactions, online banking login protection and more.” Businesses can also set certain account and online access controls for their employees, he said. Overall, fraud mitigation solutions are another way for banks to help level the playing field.
Marscher acknowledges that small businesses are not visiting the branches as often as they once did. “Many customers will always prefer to stop in a local branch and talk with a KeyBank expert. Others want the peace of mind in knowing that personal support is available via phone or email should they need it. We are working hard to meet our customers where they are while making sure they are well informed of the solutions and resources we have to help them adapt in this rapidly changing environment.”
Additional Technology Tips for Small Business Owners
- How can I protect my financial assets on a daily basis? Develop a plan to protect yourself from fraud by partnering with a financial provider equipped to counsel you on the latest risks related to banking, as well as merchandising.
- How can I automate more of my paper processes? Switching from paper transactions related to checks, invoices and payments to automated and digital transactions saves time and money when you consider printing, mailing and travel costs. Automating these processes also frees up employees’ time.
- Should I begin accepting payments anywhere and anytime? Offering payment flexibility allows businesses to keep business flowing virtually 24 hours a day.
- Should I take advantage of mobile banking? Mobile banking for businesses lets owners monitor cash flow, manage financials or complete transactions from anywhere, anytime.