Financial Services for SMEs You Should Care About
While financing your small business may be the most important aspect in which you require financial services for, it is definitely not the only area in which you could benefit from using the right service provider. There are so many areas, some of which you don’t even think of or know you have bank alternatives for.
Let’s begin with the countdown of the most important areas for you to improve on as an SME owner or financial manager.
Top 5 Most Important Small Business Bank Alternatives
1. Credit Cards
Business credit cards in Australia are also a form of business financing. Even the best cards provide high-interest loans which we recommend avoiding, but it’s a form of payment that is so common that there is no way around it. As a small business owner you will pay a lot of money via your credit card, whether it’s when you make online purchases on Paypal, buy machinery, computers or something else.
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Nevertheless, the actual cash-back incentives you’ll receive may vary depending on the type of credit card you own. While some have a set percentage covering all spending, others provide preferred merchants with higher rates than standard purchases. Additionally, there are tiered programs whereby the credit card user’s amount of spending will determine the rate of cash-back given.
Apart from cash back offers, some business credit cards also provide 0% purchase offers that allow you to buy items for your small business at 0% interest, within a given time frame.
2. FX – Overseas Payments
Banks will charge you through the roof on overseas money transfers. What they are presenting on their advertising is only the wire fees which are meaningless for large overseas money transfers. What you should really care about is the margins they take from the real inter-bank rate which may be as high as 3%. There are alternative companies dealing with money transfers and specialising in the small business domain. One example of such firm is World First which has Australian offices and staff.
World First is an international cash transfer service that’s tailored to meet the needs of SMEs. The service offers exchange rates that are up to 7 times better than the top 4 banks in Australia, plus you can transfer funds 24/7 at your own convenience since the app is always available online.
Whether you’re entering into a new international market, paying outsourced employees overseas or remitting money to your suppliers, FX- Overseas Payments solutions such as World First can help streamline the process for you. Immediately after opening an account with them, a currency specialist will be assigned to you for purposes of choosing the correct foreign exchange option for your small business.
3. Online Banking
Most of the big banks in Australia will enable you to move to an online-only account which will prevent you from getting service and support at the branches but will save you arms and legs on the fees. In Canada, ING has Tangerine Bank which is a a completely separate brand name which operates on its own and has better fees all around.
Tangerine Bank offers its online users high interest rates upon making their deposits, which currently stands at 0.8pct. However, other online competitors such as EQ Bank and Zag Bank are now setting the bar much higher, with interest rates on savings account reaching up to 2.25pct.
Furthermore, online banking can help you cut back on the costs of processing paper checks, which typically come with traditional banking. You’ll be able to pay monthly bills, payroll and other routine expenses in an efficient and affordable way. Similarly, if your company manages multiple accounts then you can choose features that automate payments on selected dates for more convenience.
4. Automated Employee Benefits and Insurance
Gone are the day in which your insurance agent was your go-to guy. In a digitalised world, that sort of thing is just not needed. You, or someone from your staff, can take care of it directly with the company. Similarly, employee benefits is something that should not be manually calculated and applied. There are smarter solutions like FlareHR!
FlareHr is an all-inclusive payroll, on-boarding, HR and employee benefits platform. It allows you to look after your workers’ overall wellbeing, by giving you access to discounts from various insurers found on the Flare platform.
The app also allows you to improve your employees’ wellbeing by using the digital on-boarding tool. New employees can find and choose popular worker benefits and other financial products during their on-boarding stage, and this can further help enhance employee engagement and productivity within the company.
Additionally, small businesses can leverage on Flare’s collective purchasing power to provide employees with access to top-of the-range retail discounts and rewards, which are usually reserved for largescale companies.
5. Electricity and Gas
Why not compare electricity and gas providers? You can save up to 50% on your monthly bills with little to no effort and hassle. All you need to do is find an alternative provider and he will take care of the rest!
Make It Cheaper is an Australian-based energy comparison site that checks the rates offered by different gas and electricity service providers across the country. For small business owners, the service has a team of specialists who can help you compare gas & electricity prices from all the available suppliers, and possibly negotiate an affordable deal for you.
So far, Make It Cheaper has helped more than 735,900 homes and businesses in Australia cut their bills by finding cost-effective energy providers. They also have a Do It For You program whereby the company can search for the most ideal energy deal for you, each time that your gas & electricity contract is set for renewal.
More Small Business Innovative Solutions
There are so many additional things that a small business owner has to tackle which consume too much time and should be replaced with innovative solutions. Global FinTech and Australian FinTech are expanding at a very high pace but there are more “old world order” aspects of running a business that should be vastly improved to boost productivity.
Accounting is normally a sensitive for business owners all across the globe. It cumbersome, it is often cumbersome and annoying, and it is incredibly costly. Since accounting is about technicalities, there must be ways to simplify it.
Another prime example is legal support. Currently there are several American startups that deal with simple legal paperwork which is a good start, but this concept can further expand easily. This might be a good time for an automatic translator that will translate complex legal language English into plain English.
Another field that has proved to be problematic is regulation and bureaucracy. Although there are steps in the direction (like the regulatory sandbox by ASIC) this is still the biggest hurdle of innovation, let alone in financial services.
We hope this small business financial services list has provided you with some insights and understanding of the vast amounts of money you could save if you were to seek (and find!) the right service providers.