Every spring when the Girl Scouts start to set up their cookie stands outside my neighborhood grocery store, I always used the same strategy to get out of buying and eating box after box. I would inform the pig-tailed Scouts apologetically, “Sorry, I don’t have any cash.”
Then one day that all changed.
“That’s okay, we can now take debit cards,” she said as she pulled out an iPad with a card reader. I bought two boxes of Thin Mints.
Technology had allowed the Girls Scouts to increase their cash flow.
While sales are the muscles of a business, cash flow is its life blood. Cash flowing regularly into a company is necessary to pay salaries, buy materials, and literally keep the lights on and in some cases getting more boxes of cookies out the door. Many companies are forced to slow their growth simply because they lack the cash inflows necessary to support the cost outflows.
Speeding up the flow—converting sales into cash as soon as possible—and increasing the spread between inflows and outflows to build a cash cushion are essential to the long-term, sustained growth of every company, large or small.
Here are some technology-based solutions according to Bank of America that can help you manage cash more effectively and keep your small business on track.
Offer Mobile and Electronic Payments
It’s estimated that, 1.5 billion mobile wallets will be in use globally by 2018, representing about 1 in 5 phones. Improve cash flow and access your funds quicker by paying directly to and from bank accounts with mobile acceptance (payment applications that allow merchants to accept credit card payments on their mobile devices, like the
Girl Scouts) as well as Automated Clearing House (ACH) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) services. These technologies offer convenience and are five times less expensive than paper transactions.
Streamline Payments with Credit Cards
Accepting credit cards can help remove potential barriers to purchase and may speed up your cash flow. They can encourage customer spending (average orders triple when made with a credit card) and boost customers satisfaction (more than 30% of U.S. digital buyers are less likely to make purchases if they cannot use certain payment cards).
Set up Online and Mobile Remote Deposits
Snap a photo of a check and transmit the image directly to your account to deposit. That’s a pretty convenient way to bank and growing in popularity. In 2016, financial institutions offering remote deposit are expected to grow to 6,000, while end-users will grow to an estimated 60 million, according to a recent report. This technology can simplify your cash flow process all you need to capture checks and process your deposits remotely is your computer, a scanner, and software supplied by your bank.