Technology is taking the payments world by storm

A single view of money, simplification of cash movement and the ability to make intuitive decisions from real-time data are proving essential for small businesses, says Mike Carbone, general manager of Sage Payments 

Small and medium-sized businesses are keen to take advantage of the disruptive technology that can transform how they make payments.

Companies are used to spending hours every month managing these transactions, in fact more than eight hours a month managing and making payments, according to a survey we conducted. This is costing thousands of pounds in diverted resources.

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Mike Carbone, general manager of Sage Payments

Another survey by Sage Payments in March showed that small and medium-sized businesses have experienced a serious lack of efficiency in their payments. Some 70 per cent cited the large number of steps needed and 66 per cent have multiple systems that do not talk to one another. Meanwhile, 52 per cent experienced a lack of efficiency using both paper-based and standalone digital payment methods.

As a result, conventional solutions, such as bank transfers, BACS, CHAPS and cheques, are being sidelined in favour of disruptive technology that appears to be the remedy to this business headache. It helps to make the movement of money in and out of a business much more simple and easy, and frees up valuable time and resources.

Businesses are looking at enterprise resource planning (ERP) integrated payments for simpler, easier and more efficient supplier and payroll transactions.

The combination of open application program interfaces (APIs) into core accounting and payroll software, delivered with Faster Payments real-time payments and enabled with a web-based payments dashboard, gives the savings in time, with better security and the process efficiencies customers are seeking.

Payments to staff and suppliers are time sensitive and they can be complex. Companies have the challenge of making these transactions in a way that corresponds with the cash they have available and which also satisfies payees.

This is where ERP can help. No longer is it just large corporations that can benefit from this highly effective solution that supports simple, real-time visibility and control around payments.

What used to take hours each month to manage is now taking much less time thanks to new technologies offered by new entrants to the business-to-business or B2B payments market, such as Sage Payments.

These disrupters are focused on digitisation of the payments experience, leveraging real-time data available in ERP systems, open APIs and a supportive financial services regulatory environment.

The combination of these factors enables small and medium-sized businesses seeking efficiencies to experience the benefits large corporations have had for years with enterprise software.

By simply managing an e-wallet to deliver supplier and payroll payments, and integrating payments with existing data sources, such as accounting and payroll software in an established ERP platform, small and medium-sized businesses are gaining efficiencies and increased control over payments like never before.

The new payment solutions can also help tackle a variety of nuances within certain industries.

In construction, for example, payroll can be incredibly complex. Employees may work different hours of the day. On a site, some of those working may be full-time staff, some could perhaps work weekly hours, while others are contractors filling a range of variable shifts.

Such businesses rely on the ability to automate their payment processes and make them simpler, quick and on time. They also need to record, reconcile and assemble all the data needed for tax filings with HM Revenue & Customs.

The hospitality and retail sectors, meanwhile, face their own challenges. A pub or shop owner could need to pay staff weekly, meaning a variable, frequent and repetitive process with regular chances of error.

Aside from employee payroll, businesses also face challenges handling payments for their many suppliers. They need to balance paying on time with when they are able to free up the cash.

Technology has the ability to transform how businesses pay their staff and suppliers

Here, payment processes can be automated, using supplier terms, payment due dates and obligations already in the ERP system. This means businesses no longer have to input information manually for each payment, freeing up more time and introducing up-to-the-moment accuracy.

A real-time payment system also provides companies with the control they seek to optimise the use of working capital and cash. As a result, the authorisation of payments is based on live information available in a customer’s accounting software and not on a manager manually reviewing when cash is freed in the budget.

All this represents a significant shift. Companies had faced the challenge of managing a variety of different processes and data formats for payroll and supplier payments. Such issues held up payments and reduced companies’ efficiency. No longer is this the only option.

Technology has the ability to transform how businesses pay their staff and suppliers. Companies can now automate and improve multiple forms of payment, taking out laborious manual processes, while ensuring they have a live view of their cash position. Small businesses simply cannot afford to miss this opportunity for much greater efficiency in their payments.

For more information please visit www.sagepayments.co.uk

The service is provided by Sage Payments (UK) Ltd which is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (Register Reference: 900180) for the issuing of electronic money

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