Integrated payment systems improve efficiency for SMBs
March 13, 2014
Small and midsized business owners are always looking for opportunities to improve their operations.
Some organizations may be more focused on making positive changes directly related to their specific industries and markets. Therefore, they may not be paying enough attention to increasing the efficiency of payment processing. From making sure that a payment acceptance strategy for customers includes credit card processing to the use of mobile POS systems, there are a variety of ways that smaller companies can improve transaction accuracy and speed without having to noticeably increase spending on these services.
The emergence of integrated payment systems that help connect other administrative programs like enterprise resource management and customer relationship management platforms and accounting software to payment data on a real-time basis presents a variety of advantages. Accounting news site CPA Practice Advisor recently reviewed some of the advantages of these systems and presented data from the Sage Integrated Payments Study on operational enhancements that connected software offerings.
Growing payment options may require strategy shift
The study highlighted the increasing avenues clients have to pay for their purchases. While checks are still the most common form of payment to SMBs, at 45.3 percent, this includes both traditional checks as well as those processed electronically. Credit and debit card payments, the second most popular option, account for 22 percent of purchasing volume. Along with business cards, ACH payments and cash, businesses have to contend with more payment methods than they did 15 or 20 years ago.
With the increase in purchasing options, the chance of error when recording purchase information in ERP or accounting software increases. Integrated payment systems remove the need for this sort of repetitive data entry, reducing errors and communicating purchase information in real time to other essential pieces of business software.
Drive down transaction and access time
One of the biggest advantages of these integrated systems is the reduced processing time for various forms of payment. According to The Sage Group, an average of five minutes per transaction can be saved by using a payment platform that works with other software components in the back office. These time savings also translate into reduced costs, as employees don't need to spend time inputting replicated data to various systems.
Increased informational fidelity also translates into a better situation when it comes time to perform internal audits or present records to industry and governmental regulatory agencies.