Update your Outdated Business Management Tools

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Published: 20th November 2016
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The development of online financial tools has significantly changed the way we do business. Digital programs and apps make it easier for small business owners to manage daily procedures, track financial transactions and measure performance. Customers also benefit from these new online tools, which include various online payment methods.

If you are a still using old business management tools, it's time to upgrade to current and convenient programs. Compared to costly software packages, web-based tools are available for free or for a low cost.

Determining which tools are best for your business largely depends on the products or services you provide and who you sell to.
Online inventory tools

Have you inspected your inventory recently? If the answer is no, the 80/20 rule most likely applies to your business.This means that 80 percent of your business inventory is sitting idle while only 20 percent is turning. Unused supplies waste space and money, so inspecting and managing your inventory is crucial. Online inventory management apps are a valuable for keeping track of supplies and potentially increase profits.

Inventory management apps can also help determine if your business should update pricing, or increase its inventory. Such apps reveal which items are selling slowly and should not be ordered or produced as often. For companies with multiple warehouses, or stores with multiple locations, these inventory tools can be especially useful. Companies can benefit from software that updates quickly if they have multiple people tracking merchandise orders, sales, returns and product availability.

Some online inventory management systems interface with accounting software such as QuickBooks. These types of programs can help you evaluate your financial situation easily and quickly.

Online payment options
In the past, both business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies were limited in the types of payments they could accept. Thankfully, improvements in technology allow small business owners to easily add credit cards and online payments to the mix.

Several small merchants who were traditionally cash-only are updating their payment methods as well: they now accept credit card transactions with smartphones. Apps such as the Square and Intuit Go Payment readers can scan a credit card with a small device that attaches to the phone. These readers charge a flat percentage fee per transaction. If distance is an issue, businesses of any size can use Paypal and Google Checkout to accept credit card payments online. Customers can even purchase products directly from Facebook brand pages.

With the advancement of eChecks, checks can also be received online from remote locations. Customers can input their check information including the account number, the routing number, and the check number into an online form. The check information is then evaluated by an online database, which confirms within seconds if the check is legitimate or fraudulent. This can give business owners who are weary about checks bouncing or checks coming from closed accounts, peace of mind.

Making digital deposits
Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) is the official name banking institutions used to describe the process of electronically depositing a digitally scanned check. With RDC, business owners and managers can make a deposit using a computer, scanner and remote deposit capture software, or by employing a third party. When the bank receives a digital check, it can send copies almost immediately to another bank to validate the account and funds. After verifying this information, both banks can make the appropriate withdrawals and deposits. By implementing this convenient tool, businesses can reduce the costs and risks associated with driving to the banks to make deposits. This is particularly true for larger companies, which often hire a courier service or armored car to complete the task.

For smaller operations, sole proprietors and individuals, banks now have applications that allow businesse and individuals to deposit checks from an iPhone or Android. The app allows checks to be photographed, submitted, and deposited.

Online tools have drastically changed the way in which business owners manage financial tasks and operations. Current programs are inexpensive, fairly simple to use, and provide several benefits. Along with saving time and money, online tools increase the ability to track day-to-day operations. Utilizing new technology, companies can work more efficiently and effectively to increase their cash flow.

Robyn Barrett is founder and managing member of FSW Funding, formerly Factors Southwest LLC, specializing in factor financing for small to mid-size companies. For more information, visit www.fswfunding.com.

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