One of the most important aspects of operating a business is the method you choose for managing your money. In an age where the internet is available at our fingertips – and from multiple devices – online banking is a must for businesses of all types and sizes.
Indeed, across the globe, bank branches are changing their structures, with many closing down. Since 2015, more than one-third of UK bank branches have closed down, while hundreds of others have reduced their opening hours. In the US, meanwhile, more than 1,500 Bank of America branches have closed or been sold since 2009, while Citibank closed 80% of its offices in Korea in 2017, citing digitisation as their reason for the move.
Therefore, as more and more physical branches close down across the globe, your business must keep up with the developments of internet banking. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting precious business capital – and time.
The Advantages of Internet Banking
It's not just about reacting to market forces, though. Some of the many other benefits of online banking include:
With internet banking, you can process transactions at any time, meaning that you won't need to interrupt your work schedule to take a trip to the bank. Waiting in line can be time-consuming, and as a business, you cannot afford to waste time queuing or getting stuck in traffic to get there and back to the office.
If your business requires you to travel frequently, you can still do your internet banking no matter where you are in the world, and all from the convenience of your preferred device. Due to its 24-hour availability, you can also access it during holiday periods as you are not inhibited by the bank's business hours. Simply turn on your PC and sign in to your account to conduct your company's banking business – on your schedule.
Due to the large number of transactions that you're likely to conduct, it can be easy to miss unusual activity in your account. However, with instant access to your accounts, you can review each day's transactions with ease. For instance, you may want to check your balances, move money between accounts, or check to see if a payment has been transferred. Instead of going to your bank or waiting for paper statements, you can simply log in to your e-banking and monitor your transactions.
Ability to Pay Bills
One of the most significant benefits of online banking is that you can pay your bills online and have the bank store the payee's information for future payments. This is useful when bill amounts vary over time as you can log in and adjust the details of the individual you are paying. Likewise, recurring bills of the same amount can be scheduled in advance. Many banks also allow you to put an end date on these recurring payments if you want to discontinue them after a specific period.
Making transfers via online banking is much quicker and easier than traditional methods. Internet banking enables transfers to be performed overnight and is also great for making direct deposits and wire transfers, which are some of the fastest ways to transfer funds.
With online banking, your business can create a cost-effective means of keeping track of company finances, all from the convenience of a computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone or even smartwatch.
You can also avoid many of the costs of traditional banking by capitalising on automated tools, such as Electronic Fund Transfers (EFTs), which help you to pay bills quickly without the expense and impracticality of outdated paper cheques.
Automated bill payment of your company expenses simplifies management of finances, too, while also eliminating unnecessary late fees. Most monthly bills, payroll and routine expenses can be paid electronically, again saving you money and time.
With internet banking, your business uses less paper – and so does the bank. Indeed, many banks worldwide are increasingly paperless, preferring to offer their clients e-statements, paper-free transfers, online client support and other environmentally-responsible business services. Bank of America has even gone one step further by giving preference to suppliers who adopt sound environmental practices and find innovative ways to be environmentally friendly.
Going green does wonders for your business, helping to differentiate you from the competition and attract customers who care about the environment while saving you money in the process!
Better Record Keeping
In the modern business world, many small organisations use accounting software to help manage their finances. One significant advantage of online banking is that many providers allow you to interface your account information with this software, and, although this practice generally incurs additional fees, the advantages are worthwhile.
For instance, the process of reconciliation, which involves comparing the transactions in your business's accounting system with those in your bank account, is much simpler. Your accounting software can even be configured to download your account information automatically on a daily basis.
Banks are regarded as one of the most trusted providers of data security, adopting multiple protection layers to keep your company information safe. By using the latest virus detection software, heavily encrypted transmission and numerous firewalls, banks and financial institutions offer the best technological solutions and security features to combat data theft, meaning that your company information will benefit from optimal protection.
Whichever online banking system you choose, it's vital that you follow the security protocols established by your bank. All accounts must be password protected, while passwords should be changed regularly.
Is your Business Embracing the Benefits of Online Banking?
Technology and innovation are revolutionising the way businesses interact with their bank and money; in recent years, many global banking systems have been heavily disrupted by digitisation, with the likes of Revolut looking to muscle in on traditional competitors. As a result, these institutions are offering more value-added services to businesses, adapting their operating models to meet the demand for convenience and digital solutions.
No matter the size of your firm or the type of business you run, you will without question benefit from a well-designed online banking system tailored to the way you do business, while, depending on your business model, you can create a customised online system that matches your unique needs.
What are the other benefits to online banking for business owners? Let us know in the comment section below.