By Stephanie Vozza
When it comes to running a business, time is one of your most precious resources. Finding ways to become more efficient can greatly improve your bottom line. One of the easiest ways to improve operational efficiency is by building your digital tool belt. From accepting digital payments to automating your invoicing system, digital tools streamline your efforts, saving you time and money. Here are three benefits digital tools bring to your business.
You’ve made the sale, and it’s time to get paid. Shave days (or weeks) off of the collection process by switching to email invoicing. Paper invoices sent through the mail can add weeks to the payment process and are harder to track — it’s not called “snail mail” for nothing. Emails are instant, and they get attention.
You can also boost operational efficiency by using tools that automatically generate bills, storing customer information and sending bills on a set schedule. This eliminates the time-consuming job of creating and distributing bills to customers and reduces the number of potential errors. An added bonus: electronic invoices get approved twice as fast as other invoices, according to the Institute of Financial Management.
Another way to speed up customer payments is to offer digital forms of remittance. In addition to credit card payments, consider accepting mobile payments, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Masterpass by MasterCard. Or use payment-portal software to allow customers to pay their bills through your website. The easier it is for customers to pay, the faster they will do it and the more even your cash flow will be.
When it comes to the success of your business, cash flow is king. Not to mention, more than a quarter of small business startups fail due to cash flow problems. Unfortunately, slow customer payments happen to all business owners from time to time, and that can put a major crimp into paying your employees as well as your own accounts payable.
In addition to getting paid quicker, digital tools help you hold onto your own money as long as you can. Using a credit card to pay for your expenses, for example, lets you take advantage of the “float period” between making a purchase and paying for it. Essentially, you could be getting an interest-free loan for up to 30 days, depending on your statement cut-off and payment date. And depending on your card benefits, using a credit card to pay bills lets you accumulate points that can be used for cash, travel or other rewards, helping you save money.
Using a credit card to pay your bills also allows you to schedule and automate your bills, reducing the amount of time it takes to manage your finances. Automating your payments keeps you current with your vendors and creditors, and that can keep you from being charged late fees.
Finally, digital tools offer you and your customers peace of mind. Digital payment methods use encryption that protects financial information. And mobile payments keep customer information in their wallet, instead of your point of sale equipment, reducing your risks in case of a cyber hack. Digital tools also allow you to track purchases and payments in case of a question or error. Since digital tools are tied to online accounts, you can access information quickly and easily to resolve a problem.
Digital tools are a business’s best friend. Not only do they help you save time; they improve your level of customer service. Stay up to date with the latest research to determine to determine which digital tools will be the most effective at boosting your operational efficiency.
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