Knowing what holidays are coming up in the year ahead is essential for small business owners. Not only do you need to plan for your own operations, but you also need to be aware of the holiday landscape to plan and pay your employees.  In this article, you will find the 2023 holiday calendar, a detailed overview of Juneteenth, discuss holiday pay in certain industries, and examine the argument that US voting day should be a federal holiday.    2023 Holiday Calendar  

Juneteenth's History and Significance

Juneteenth (June 19) is a day of commemoration and celebration for African-Americans. It marked the anniversary of enslaved people in Texas finally being granted freedom on June 19, 1865. This date occurred two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  Juneteenth has become a symbol of resilience and liberation throughout the United States. Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, celebrations occur across cities nationwide. In addition to commemorating emancipation from slavery, Juneteenth is also celebrated as an important milestone in civil rights history in America.    

Holiday Pay in Certain Industries 

Specific industries are required by law to pay employees time-and-a-half wages if they work on major holidays such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. This includes retail stores and restaurants with more than 500 employees worldwide; hotels with more than 100 rooms; hospitals; nursing homes; transportation companies; oil refinery workers; and workers employed by large amusement parks or theme parks (as defined by federal labor laws). All other employers are not legally mandated to pay their employees extra for working on holidays unless their contracts specify otherwise. However, many small businesses have included this as a paid holiday for their employees to minimize signs of burnout Therefore, it is critical to understand what kind of payment you will provide your employees throughout the year. Make sure to research local labor laws regarding overtime pay to ensure compliance with all regulations while still providing fair compensation for your staff. 

Voting Day Controversy

Nearly two centuries ago, Congress decided to create Election Day in 1845 to keep democracy fair and equitable. This life-changing legislation had the primary purpose of warding off any issues with early voting results influencing turnout or swaying opinion in later states, which could have potentially determined the fate of national elections. By setting one day for everyone nationwide, the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, Congress ensured that each individual's vote would carry the same weight. There has been a growing movement in recent years that calls for making Election Day a federal holiday so that citizens have more time to exercise their right to vote without worrying about taking time off from work or school. There are numerous arguments both for and against this new holiday creation.  Proponents argue that giving citizens an extra day off would boost voter turnout significantly. At the same time, opponents claim it would be too costly and impractical due to logistical issues associated with running elections on one specific day each year. The debate continues; however, no changes have yet been made regarding this issue thus far.    

Conclusion

Holidays are essential to any small business owner's operations planning process, especially regarding payroll management and scheduling employee shifts accordingly. We hope you found this information useful. By getting familiar with all upcoming holidays now, you'll be better prepared when it comes time to make those critical decisions in just a few short weeks.    Track time and expenses, invoice customers, pay vendors, process payroll and simplify your business cash flow with FINSYNC’s Accounting Platform.
Construction companies continuously struggle with labor shortages, rising inflation costs, and supply chain disruptions. But now you can help offset a significant obstacle within this industry–waiting for your customer to pay on an invoice. Owning a construction business, you probably are already aware that sometimes it can take weeks or even months to receive payment on projects. This can make it challenging to keep up with production or invest in new growth opportunities. However, there is a solution. CollectEarly™ offers a way to get paid on your invoices immediately, so you can keep your business moving forward. With more liquid capital, you can easily adjust to new project demands and comfortably pursue new customers. CollectEarly™ is an essential tool for any business owner.

CollectEarly™

There is no need to wait to get paid. CollectEarly™ offers a solution to business cash flow problems by allowing owners to collect payment on their invoices ahead of time. This means construction companies can keep projects moving forward without waiting for payments, which makes CollectEarly™ a valuable tool for companies of all sizes.

Construction Expenses

Construction companies often have to juggle a lot of balls when it comes to managing cash flow. They have to pay for materials and labor while also dealing with the often-lengthy timeline of waiting for client payments. This can result in construction projects grinding to a halt due to a lack of funds, which can be frustrating for the workers, the company, and the client. CollectEarly™ counteracts this problem by allowing owners to collect payment on their invoices on the same day. This means construction companies can keep projects moving forward without waiting for net 30 payments, which makes CollectEarly™ an essential tool for any construction company that wants to keep its projects on track.

Technology & Growth

The construction industry has long been known for needing to be faster to adopt new technologies. Although construction is highly technical, business owners have hesitated to invest in new tech that will eventually be cost-effective. There are several reasons for this reluctance, which are listed below.
  1. First, construction is a high-risk business: any mistake can be costly, so business owners are understandably hesitant to embrace new technologies.
  2. The construction industry is fragmented, with many small businesses competing for work. This fragmentation makes it difficult for companies to justify the expense of investing in new tech.
  3. Third, the construction industry needs to be faster to professionalize, making it harder for companies to attract and retain talented employees who are comfortable working with new construction technologies.
  4. The final reason is where CollectEarly™ can really make a difference and this is in the lack of consistent cash flow.
You can't afford to wait to invest in the latest tech that will save you money in the long run. So the more options you have, the better you will be able to be proactive with your capital.

Final Thoughts

As you are already aware, waiting for customers to pay their invoices can strain your resources, especially in the construction industry, where the labor demand is typically high. CollectEarly™ is the perfect tool to collect payments quickly and efficiently. Whether you're looking for a simple way to collect payments immediately or need a more robust system for tracking invoices, FINSYNC has you covered. Stop waiting for customers to pay their invoices and start collecting early today.   Learn more about CollectEarly™ and start getting paid on your invoices in 4 hours versus 4 weeks.
As a small business owner, you are likely familiar with the ebb and flow of cash flow. Chances are you have even experienced periods where cash flow was sluggish. Even when business is booming, there may be times when having quicker access to outstanding invoices could move your business forward. If you find yourself in a situation where you want to be in the driver’s seat on your cash flow, there are solutions available to help you take control. That is why we developed CollectEarly™.

What Is CollectEarly™?

As most business owners know, accounts receivables are a critical area prone to cash flow challenges. Invoices can often take weeks or months to get paid, leaving businesses in a bind. Many owners explore alternative payment methods so they can grow their businesses faster. CollectEarly™ is a product offered by FINSYNC that allows businesses to get paid on their invoices in as little as 4 hours – so they can grow faster and farther. Get started with the FINSYNC Complete Solution and sync bank accounts in minutes. When you send your invoices to your customers, you will be given the option to CollectEarly™. With just a few simple clicks, you can have access to more money in your pocket, more quickly.  

CollectEarly™ Lowers Costs

At our core, FINSYNC is a payments platform where businesses can process payroll, automate accounting, and manage cash flow. In addition to being an excellent tool for simplifying your company's financial management, we help customers CollectEarly™ on invoices before they are due, at a lower cost than collecting via credit card.  Partner banks, credit unions, and institutional investors power our innovative financing solution to provide funding and ensure your business gets paid faster, saving you time and money.

Steps to CollectEarly™

  1. Once your customer accepts the invoice, FINSYNC offers the option to CollectEarly™
  2. The cost is 2.5% of the transaction amount (less than most credit card transactions)
  3. You can have the money in your account in 4 hours or less
It is that simple! One of the best things about CollectEarly™ is that there are no hidden fees. The 2.5% transaction fee is the only fee, and it is less than what you would pay for most credit card transactions. CollectEarly™ is a system designed to help customers get their money much faster.

Conclusion

It's a great time to be an entrepreneur! At FINSYNC, we know how it feels when cash flow is your number one concern. You are busy running your business, and managing all those payments takes up a lot of your most precious resource - time.  CollectEarly™ and collecting on-demand is vital for any business owner who wants peace of mind knowing that they will get paid sooner rather than weeks later so those funds can be put to work helping to grow the business. With CollectEarly, you can access capital as you earn it, and use it when it is convenient for your business. Sync your bank to FINSYNC using our complete solution, so you can start getting paid as early as today.   If you’re looking for more helpful tips, the FINSYNC blog is a great resource. We are committed to small business success!
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, and there's no better time to brush up on your cybersecurity knowledge. With so much of our lives existing in the digital space, small business owners must take steps to protect their businesses from potential attacks.  Everyone can do a few simple things to stay safe online, like using strong passwords and being cautious about what information you share. This article will walk you through all the major threats that have emerged in recent years. Because being unprepared can have devastating consequences for your organization. 

Malware Attacks 

Malware is short for malicious software and refers to any harmful code installed on your computer without your knowledge. Malware can take many forms, but some of the most common types include viruses, Trojans, worms, and adware. Once installed, malware can damage your computer system or give hackers access to sensitive information stored on your hard drive. Always be cautious of links or downloads sent to you via email or direct message, as these may be malicious. If you're unsure about a link, hover over it to see where it will take you before clicking on it.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts or exfiltrates data and then demands a financial ransom, often cryptocurrency, for the data to be decrypted. Ransomware attacks can upset a small business's digital infrastructure as they cause significant financial loss and downtime. To protect your business from a ransomware attack, you should back up all of your data regularly. It would help if you also had security measures, such as firewalls and antivirus software. Also, employee education should be a priority. This alone will lessen the chance of someone clicking on a suspicious link or opening email attachments from unknown senders. 

IoT Devices 

IoT devices are connected to the internet and often collect and share data. Examples of IoT devices include thermostats, fitness trackers, and smart TVs. While IoT devices can be convenient, they also present a potential security risk. Hackers can gain access to IoT devices and use them to collect sensitive data or launch attacks on other devices on the network.  Protection measures from IoT threats include purchasing devices from reputable manufacturers. You should also ensure that all IoT devices are properly configured and guarded with solid passwords. 

Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks 

This type of cyberattack is when an assailant seeks to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily or permanently disrupting services. DoS attacks can involve flooding the target with requests for information or resources so that it becomes overwhelmed and unavailable.  Prevention of these types of attacks can be difficult, as they often exploit weaknesses in network infrastructure and take time to fix. However, there are some steps that organizations can take to reduce their vulnerability to DoS attacks. One is to segment their networks so that an attacker would need to compromise multiple systems to bring down the entire network. Another is to use techniques like rate limiting and traffic shaping to control the volume of traffic allowed to reach the target system. Finally, it is crucial to have a good incident response plan in place so that if an attack occurs, the damage is minimal, and systems are quickly returned back to normal.

5G 

5G networks are the latest and greatest in wireless technology, offering faster speeds and greater capacity than ever before. However, they also present a new vector for cybersecurity attacks. 5G networks rely on small cell towers scattered throughout an area, making them more vulnerable to physical tampering. The high speeds of 5G make it difficult to detect malicious activity; therefore, more data can be stolen within a shorter period.  One way for businesses to protect themselves from 5G-related attacks is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which encrypts data and helps to conceal your location. Consider installing a firewall detection system. These systems work by monitoring traffic flows and identifying anomalous behavior. By analyzing traffic data in real time, a detection system can quickly identify potential threats and take appropriate action. Adopting these precautions can help ensure that your data remains safe even as 5G becomes more widespread.

Phishing Scams 

Phishing scams are still one of the most common types of cyber attacks, and they continue to be successful because they are constantly evolving. In a phishing scam, a hacker will pose as a legitimate entity (e.g., your bank, Google, or even the IRS) in an email or text message and trick you into clicking on a malicious link or attachment. Once you click on the link or attachment, the hacker will access your computer system. 

SQL Injection

SQL injection is an attack that allows attackers to execute malicious SQL code on a database server. This attack exploits vulnerabilities in web applications that use SQL databases. By injecting malicious SQL code into an input field, attackers can gain access to sensitive data, such as passwords and credit card numbers. They can also delete or modify data stored in the database. To protect against SQL injection, developers should implement input validation, database security controls, and application firewalls. Input validation confirms that only valid data is entered into the database, and database security controls restrict access to the database and prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data. Application firewalls block SQL injection attacks by inspecting traffic and filtering out malicious requests. 

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks

A man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack is when an attacker intercepts communications between two parties to eavesdrop on them or alter the communications without their knowledge. MitM attacks can occur over any communication channel, including email, text messaging, and even voice calls. In many cases, MitM attacks use public WiFi networks.  Firstly, always check that the website you are visiting is using HTTPS. This means that the connection is encrypted and less likely to be intercepted by an attacker. Secondly, avoid using public WiFi networks as they are often not secure. If you must use public WiFi, use a VPN to encrypt your traffic. Finally, it is important to use secure communications protocols that employ encryption. By following these simple steps, you can help to protect yourself from MitM attacks.

Conclusion

As a small business owner, you are responsible for safeguarding your customers' personal information. With the rise of cyber attacks, it is more important than ever to be aware of the latest security trends. Understanding the threats and taking steps to protect your data can help keep your business safe.  Hackers are constantly finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in our digital landscape. Outdated software is one of the most common ways hackers gain systems access. Assure you have the latest security patches, and consider investing in cyber insurance if necessary. Taking these steps can help create a safer environment for your business and customers.   Free up time to focus on mission-critical areas by putting administrative tasks on autopilot with intuitive online tools like FINSYNC that can do the heavy lifting for you.
Is your business still depositing checks the old-fashioned way? If so, you're not alone. Luckily, a payment solution can help expedite the process: FINSYNC Lockbox.  With Lockbox enabled, your customers who desire to pay via check will see your Lockbox address on your invoices. The paper checks are routed directly to us. We convert them to ACH payments and match the payment to its invoice in your FINSYNC account.  Lockbox eliminates the need for you to spend valuable time processing and reconciling your accounts. Whether you receive a few checks or hundreds of monthly payments, Lockbox allows you to receive this money quickly and easily without touching envelopes or manually making bank deposits. Learn what Lockbox is, how it works, and the advantages it can bring to you and your organization.

What Is Lockbox?

Lockbox is traditionally a service offered by banks only to large companies that receive many check payments. Your business adopts the service, and the bank receives your checks at a PO box they control and then deposits them for you. FINSYNC’s Lockbox is available to all subscribing businesses, regardless of size or check volume. Simply enable FINSYNC’s Lockbox on your invoice settings, and you’ll see your remittance address (mailing address) has changed to an Atlanta PO box controlled by FINSYNC. Besides being available to small businesses, FINSYNC is also unique in offering a Lockbox that is tied to your accounts receivable in your accounting software. When a check reaches your FINSYNC Lockbox, it’s automatically applied to the invoice (changing its status to paid), and the corresponding bank deposit is already matched to the invoice. In other words, you no longer have to go through unidentified deposits on your bank statement and match them to invoices! Companies today are always looking for ways to streamline their operations and reduce costs. One way to do this is by automating your payment process. This can save your organization considerable time and money and provide greater control over your accounts.  At its core, Lockbox is a payment processing service that streamlines the accounts receivable process for businesses. 

How Lockbox Works

Businesses that use the FINSYNC Platform can take advantage of our company's existing P.O. Box to receive payments. Your customers will first mail their checks to the address indicated on the invoice. The remittance documents are scanned, and the payment information is captured automatically. The amount is quickly transmitted to the business account, making it easy to keep track of incoming payments. The cost is only $1.00 per check deposited, scanned, and matched to a transaction on your behalf. Here is a snapshot of the Lockbox process offered through FINSYNC. lockbox graphic Lockbox enables gig workers, digital nomads living abroad, and organizations with corporate clients in the US to get paid quickly. You must be a subscriber of FINSYNC’s Payments plan ($10/month) to use Lockbox. There is a $1 per check-deposited fee thereafter.

Advantages to Lockbox

There are several advantages to using FINSYNC's Lockbox service to collect paper checks. We have listed a few ways this feature can help you stay ahead with your business's financial management.  Reduced processing time: When checks are sent directly to a business, they may need to be sorted and deposited manually, which can take time and potentially visits the bank. Checks deposited into a lockbox are typically processed faster, allowing business owners to skip the hassle of accepting paper checks. Improve cash flow management: Since the funds are available more quickly, businesses can better manage their expenses and avoid bouncing checks or incurring late fees. Fewer accounting errors: Having a third party handle check deposits can help to reduce accounting errors.  Increase worker efficiency: Using a lockbox service can free up employees' time that would otherwise be spent matching unidentified deposits or visiting the bank.

Conclusion

Despite the move towards digital invoices and payments, paper checks are still extremely popular in the United States. Some sources say 50% of all business-to-business transactions are still processed via check. Used by businesses of all sizes, Lockbox is a service offered by FINSYNC that allows customers to outsource the processing of their payments and can be a great way for businesses to streamline their payment processing and get paid faster.   Enable FINSYNC’s Lockbox, which is accessible for businesses of all sizes, to save you time for what matters the most.
If you're a small business owner, paying and getting paid are likely two of your top priorities. Many organizations use the ACH payment method to accomplish these tasks. However, there are still numerous entrepreneurs who have not taken the time to learn the nuts and bolts of ACH payments and how they work.  In this article, we'll discuss all things ACH, from how they work, different categories and types, cost, and the time it takes to process them. So whether you're a small business owner looking for a payment solution or just curious about this banking process, read our quick guide for a comprehensive understanding.

What Are ACH Payments?

ACH payments are electronic payments processed through the Automated Clearing House network. This network is overseen by the Federal Reserve and utilized by financial institutions to process transactions. The ACH network is a secure system that facilitates the electronic movement of money between bank accounts across the United States. Its processing infrastructure is managed by Nacha, a not-for-profit organization that sets the rules and guidelines for the network.  More than 10,000 financial institutions participate in the ACH network, which processed over 29 billion transactions totaling more than $72.6 trillion in 2021. And this volume has steadily increased by more than $1 billion every year for the last seven years.  ACH transactions are typically used for direct deposit of payroll or tax refunds, bill payments, and other one-time or recurring payments. They are settled in batches, often multiple times per day. The ACH network is affordable but has some drawbacks when compared with other payment systems. Its usage has grown steadily in recent years.

Categories and Types

There are two main categories for ACH: direct deposits and direct payments. The main difference between these lies with who initiates the transaction. Direct deposit is the most common type of ACH payment. When you receive a paycheck from your employer, the funds are deposited into your checking or savings account via direct deposit. This is a convenient way to receive your paycheck and allows you to access your money as soon as it is deposited into your account. Direct payment is when money is electronically withdrawn from a payer's bank account and transferred to a payee's bank account. For example, you may use a direct payment to pay your rent or utilities or to make a purchase online. Direct payment is also convenient for sending money to friends and family members. ACH transfers are a type of electronic funds transfer (EFT) that moves money between financial institutions. ACH transactions are transferred via credit or debit. Credit transfers are initiated by the payer and include payroll processing, tax transactions, and payments for utilities and mortgage loans.  The payee initiates a debit transfer. The most common types of debit transfers include online bill payments and check conversion. With online bill payment, the payee authorizes the biller to withdraw funds from their account to pay the bill.  In a check conversion, the payee authorizes the merchant to convert the paper check into an electronic payment like FINSYNC Digital Lockbox. Debit transfers are convenient for both payees and payers. However, it is vital to note that when a debit transfer is initiated, the payee is authorizing the payer to access their funds, so be sure that you trust the payer before allowing a debit transfer. ACH payments are convenient because they are processed quickly and securely and are less expensive than other payment types, such as wire transfers

ACH Processing Time

The funds are not received immediately after posting an ACH transfer. The ACH network operator processes these transactions in batches up to seven times a day, and your bank may take one or two business days to post the transfer to your account. Many ACH processors connecting to financial institutions move funds to a clearing account before the destination. Therefore, if you make an ACH transfer on Friday afternoon, your recipient might not see the funds until Tuesday or Wednesday morning if there are no bank holidays to consider.  If you need to make a transfer that will be processed immediately, you'll need to use the wire transfer system instead. Wire transfers are processed in real-time, meaning the funds are transferred immediately. However, they can be expensive, sometimes costing $30 or more per transaction.

ACH Transfer Fees

Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers are a common and convenient way to move money between bank accounts. But what do they cost? Generally speaking, ACH credit transfers are free or very low-cost. Many banks will charge around $3 for an external transfer, but many also offer them for free. There is usually no fee to receive an ACH transfer. Checking with your bank or payment platform is essential to determine what fees might apply before you initiate a transfer. FINSYNC’s ACH transaction fee is 50¢ whether you are sending money for a bill payment or receiving money when someone pays your invoice. ACH debit transfers, such as payroll and most bill payments, are typically free. If you need expedited bill payments, there can be fees. Person-to-person payments that you initiate through your bank or third-party apps such as PayPal can cost a small fee, depending on the platform and payment method. But overall, ACH transfers are a cheap and easy way to send money between accounts. If you are looking for a more convenient and affordable way to send or receive payments, ACH Payments may be the right solution for your business. We hope that this information has been helpful and provided you with a better understanding of what to expect when using ACH Payments.    FINSYNC simplifies your financial management. Take control of your cash flow and automate your payments to help you grow, scale and succeed.  
In today's world, it is essential to be efficient and effective with our time. Paperwork is a hassle, and fortunately, there are ways to get it done without losing days, wearing down our patience and productivity. One solution for this would be implementing a digital invoicing system, which allows a quick transfer of funds between computers automatically or upon request. Digital invoicing or electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) allows companies to electronically transfer bills between one another without having a physical paper trail slowing the process. Speed and efficiency are paramount, which is why more and more companies are looking to ditch traditional paper invoicing in favor of digital options. Here are eight advantages of making the switch.

Lower Expenses

Implementing a digital invoicing initiative will allow businesses to save money by cutting out the printing, paper, and postage costs. If you are worried about losing the personal touch that comes with sending paper invoices, never fear; you can always include a handwritten message or add your company logo to your digital invoices to provide a professional and polished look.

Speed

The most obvious advantage of digital invoicing is that it is much faster than its paper counterpart. Once you have created your invoice and input the necessary information into the software, the system will take care of the rest, generating and sending invoices in a matter of seconds.  This process can be a huge time-saver, especially for businesses that regularly send out large volumes of accounts payables. Imagine having to print off an invoice, stuff it in an envelope, go to the post office to mail it to a client, all to find out you made an error and now have to restart the process from the beginning. Time to move away from this outdated and extremely slow system. 

Audit Trail

For businesses, invoices are an essential part of day-to-day operations. These documents not only track payments and purchases but they are used to provide proof of delivery or service. However, without an audit trail, it can be difficult to spot errors or view the history of an invoice.  An audit trail records all the steps to create an invoice, from origination to completion, with time stamps documenting each stage. Having an audit trail, you will easily be able to identify potential mistakes, view the invoice's history, or even track down a lost document. 

Reduce Fraud

Digital invoices are very difficult to forge or alter. That is because digital invoices employ encryption software with multiple built-in security features, making it difficult for anyone to tamper. These features help reduce fraud and ensure that businesses are paid for their products and services.  One such security feature is a digital signature. A unique code is assigned to each invoice, and the authorized recipient can only decode it. This signature acts as a "seal of approval" and helps to ensure that the invoice has not been altered in any way. 

Save Space

Another advantage of digital invoices is that they take up less storage space. With paper documents, you need to find a place to store them where they won't get damaged or lost. The more documents you have, the more challenging this feat will be.  With digital files, you can store them on your computer or in the cloud, making them much easier to store and categorize when you need to revisit them. In addition, cloud-based storage makes sharing with clients and colleagues easy and fast, so making the switch is a great way to save space and increase productivity in your business.

Improve Cash Flow Management

Due to the advent of digital invoicing, payments are received much sooner. This is a significant benefit when managing cash flow, as businesses can access the funds they need more quickly.  As discussed in previous articles, managing cash flow is essential to keeping operations running smoothly. Therefore, receiving payments on open invoices as swiftly as possible is critical to guarantee you have enough liquid cash flow to pay employees and vendors 6-10 months down the road. A healthy cash flow helps to avoid penalties and late fees and illustrates to creditors that you are a responsible and reliable borrower. Not to forget, timely payment of invoices helps to build and maintain good relationships with suppliers and other business partners. While managing cash flow can be challenging, it is essential to the success of any business. And ensuring timely payment of invoices can help keep your operation running effectively and avoid many potential problems down the road.

Lower Your Carbon Footprint

An overlooked reason is that electronic invoicing is more environmentally friendly than traditional methods. By eliminating the need for printing, paper, and postage, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint and do their part to protect the planet. And with more and more consumers becoming concerned about sustainability, switching to digital invoicing can also be a great way to boost your company's green credentials.

Easily Trackable

The competition in all industries is fierce, and in order to compete, businesses need to find ways to improve the level of service they provide to their customers. By moving to a digital system, companies can direct their customers to an online portal where they can track their invoices and receive support from customer service Going the extra mile can be valuable for customers who frequently have questions about their invoices or need help tracking their payments. As a result, switching to digital invoicing can be a win-win for both businesses and their customers. As detailed, switching to digital invoicing offers plenty of advantages. Not only is it more efficient and convenient for both businesses and customers, but it also helps to reduce paper waste and save money in the long run. The digital age is upon us, so why not give yourself every opportunity to succeed?   FINSYNC’s accounting platform offers digital invoicing that simplifies your cash flow management and automates your payments and invoices to save you time and money. 
The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) is radically transforming the business landscape. This shift is opening up new opportunities for small businesses to get a foothold in the market. With AI-powered tools and services, these businesses can level the playing field and compete with larger organizations.  To succeed in this new environment, small businesses need to be agile and embrace change. Those who do will find themselves well-positioned to take advantage of the exciting opportunities that AI presents. Here are six ways that artificial intelligence can benefit small businesses:

Customer Service

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, so it's important to keep them happy. When customers are happy, they're more likely to buy from you again. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, small businesses can take their customer service to the next level.  AI-enabled tools can help by providing faster responses to queries, automating repetitive tasks, and offering personalized recommendations. In short, AI provides a better customer journey and personalized experience. In addition to automating basic tasks, artificial intelligence can be used to provide 24/7 customer support. A chatbot, for example, can answer questions and solve problems.

Sales 

Every small business looks for ways to increase sales and revenue. But did you know that AI can help you do just that? By providing targeted product recommendations, upselling opportunities, and personalized discounts, businesses can make the most of their limited resources. Additionally, this technology can help identify areas of improvement and potential growth. According to a McKinsey report, companies that used artificial intelligence achieved a 20 percent operating profit margin, compared to just 2 percent for companies without AI. The increased performance is due in large part to the ability to offer customers more personalized services and products than ever before.

Reduce Costs

As small businesses strive to cut costs, artificial intelligence can be a valuable tool for automating tasks, eliminating manual data entry, and reducing the need for customer support staff. By taking advantage of AI technology, small businesses can save time and money while improving their efficiency and productivity. Companies that are constantly collecting data from customers, such as through transactions or web forms, can analyze all that data to identify patterns and trends. Using this analysis, artificial intelligence can predict customer behavior and streamline your marketing campaigns across all platforms. 

Better Decision Making

Good decision-making is critical for any business owner or manager. AI can help by providing data-driven insights that can guide decision-making in areas like marketing, product development, and operations. ​​It can also help assemble the best teams to increase productivity.

Increasing Efficiency 

Efficiency is key for any business, large or small. AI-enabled tools can help small businesses increase their efficiency by automating and optimizing processes and providing real-time results. Small businesses can see a 40% increase in productivity by utilizing AI in various ways. For example, AI can speed up processes and tasks that would otherwise be slow and tedious for human workers. In this way, businesses can operate more efficiently and get more done in less time. Implementing this technology into small businesses can be a game-changer in terms of productivity and output.

Security 

As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, security concerns are top of mind for many companies. AI can help small businesses enhance their security measures by providing fraud detection, intrusion detection, and data encryption capabilities. By incorporating AI into their security protocols, small businesses can give themselves a much-needed boost in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Final Thoughts

The adoption of artificial intelligence by small businesses can have a significant impact on their profitability. AI will likely benefit all businesses by making life easier, increasing efficiency, and improving productivity. Artificial intelligence is no longer a futuristic concept, it is permanently changing the landscape of business. Capitalizing on the power of AI is a key strategy for small businesses looking to grow and succeed. The benefits that AI can bring to an SMB are many. Begin exploring how artificial intelligence can help your business grow today.     FINSYNC continues to support your small business with updated accounting and business knowledge to help you grow, scale and succeed.
Wherever you look, prices of gas, transportation, essential materials, products, and services are shooting up at rates unseen in over a decade. Large corporations have already become proactive, bracing for impact as stocks continue to plummet due to inflation and Fed rate hikes.  Is there a concrete method to prepare your organization for inflation?  First, let’s look at why inflation is so high, how inflation accounting can help, and finally, ways to restructure your cost analysis for inflation within your organization. 

Why Inflation Is High

Rising prices at the gas pump and in grocery stores have been one problem, but inflation has spread beyond, to housing, car sales, and many other areas. The primary reason is that the nation still has not been able to keep up with consumer demand after COVID.  Supply chain interruptions, labor shortages, increase in shipping and insurance rates, along with China’s lockdowns have all negatively affected production lines for goods and services. Even though wages are rising, many companies are unable to retain employees. Take truck drivers, for example; there are 80,000 unfilled trucker vacancies in the US alone. Globally, the shortage is wider spread. Another cause of high inflation has to do with Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which both directly and indirectly fuels inflation. Russia is an important manufacturer of natural resources like oil, coal and gas. In addition, Ukraine is one of the largest exporters of grains and fertilizers. Together the war-driven instability in these countries is enough to destabilize the global supply chain system for decades. Despite global challenges, there are steps small businesses can take to help weather the storm and even come out ahead.  

Inflation Accounting

A great place to start tackling inflation is accounting for it correctly in your operations. Many companies take advantage of what is known as inflation accounting, which is when financial statements are adjusted according to price indexes rather than traditional cost accounting. These adjustments paint a clearer picture of a firm’s financial position during high inflationary periods. Here are the two main methods used in inflation accounting:

1. Current Purchasing Power (CPP)

Under this cost method, monetary and nonmonetary items are separated. Monetary items are subject to the recording of a net gain or loss. Whereas nonmonetary items, or items that do not have a fixed value, are updated into figures with an inflation conversion factor related to the consumer price index (CPI).

2. Current Cost Accounting (CCA)

This approach values assets at their fair market value (FMV) rather than historical cost, and fixed assets are recorded at replacement cost value on the balance sheet. Additionally, depreciation of fixed assets is to be calculated at replacement value.

  To calculate the inflation rate, divide the CPI at the end of the period by the CPI at the beginning of the period multiplied by 100.   Formula for Inflation Rate By adopting inflation accounting, you can match your business revenues accurately compared to current costs to provide a more realistic profitability breakdown. 

Comprehensive Cost Analysis

There are hundreds of inflation articles centered around businesses employing price increases. The reason is this tactic helps an organization in the short term. Even consumers might be on board with the higher prices, especially if they believe these are only temporary.  However, to overcome inflation in the long run, a company must look beyond price increases to reduce the financial volatility across the entire organization. 

Short-Term 

The beginning of an inflation crisis is a great time to get granular about your organizational costs. Don’t just look at the price your suppliers and competitors are charging, but perhaps create alerts to be notified of price fluctuations for raw materials and other supply chain data. Getting ahead of these increases will provide valuable information such as surfacing a supplier who is price gouging unnecessarily.  Another initial cost strategy is to understand your capital structure. Take a deep dive into your cash, credit, and debt to determine which loans need immediate repayment. Restructure your financial management by obtaining new lines of credit as a fallback in case situations last longer than anticipated.

Long-Term

Keep morale high to prevent employee attrition. The last thing your company needs right now is to lose its top talent to a competitor who is almost surely hiring. Losing employees could mean months of lost productivity and massive resource expenditure on identifying, hiring, and training replacements. It may also be time to update your technology stack. Take a lesson from Tesla, which now utilizes robots and AI to construct and build electric vehicles. Start learning new applications like automating your HR and payroll, or integrate new software to help roll out digital marketing strategies. Another cost-saving tool is to redesign products to reduce the impact of expensive materials. Go back to the drawing board to create innovative products that retain their quality without the dependence on finite resources.  Overall, inflation can present a valuable opportunity for many organizations to nail down their cost structure. Regardless of whether inflation is here to stay, companies that adapt their business operations quickly and decisively to rising costs will be in the best possible position to maintain margins and growth.     Sign up with FINSYNC to simplify your cash flow management to ensure your business has enough money to succeed in any economic environment.   
Most of us understand the key to business growth and success is developing excellent customer relationships that lead to long-term client retention. But where does this burden fall? Sales? Marketing?  The simple answer is everyone. Companies make mistakes in only developing a relationship during the transaction. But with digital tools like CRMs, content management systems (CMS), and demand experience platforms (DXP) becoming easily accessible, it is pretty clear this landscape has changed. These important relationships begin before the initial purchase and can be fruitful as a source of referrals long after their initial transaction. This article dives into the benefits of establishing a customer relationship management process and how to implement one within your organization. 

Importance of Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a process for managing all your company's relationships and interactions with current and potential customers. By increasing this bond or connection with your customers, you decrease the amount of work it will take to make a purchase. By implementing a solid CRM process, you build brand loyalty with your audience. This strong association users have with your company has many advantages, such as being top of mind when faced with a related problem. This scenario exemplifies the importance of social media and how your audience views your brand.  Recent studies have shown that a prospect needs to see or hear the advertiser's message at least seven times before they will take action to buy a product or service. Therefore, consistency is key to refining campaign strategies around vibrant images and product videos that are memorable and initiate buzz. Finally, the better your relationships are, the more comfortable customers will be when addressing an issue with one of your products or services. Do not underestimate the power of a good review. When you engage with your customers, even if you are troubleshooting problems, this valuable time can set them at ease and provide the potential for you to improve your merchandise.

Principles of Good Customer Relationships

Each time a potential customer interacts with your business, whether on your website, social media, email campaigns, or newsletters, their experience must be consistently enjoyable. In providing a service such as real-time customer support, you begin building a mutually beneficial relationship. You learn something about the customer, and they discover a new product or offering within your company. Here is a short list of things to consider when fostering these relationships.
    1. A customer's need for a positive experience far outweighs the goods and services you offer.
    2. Get inside their head and convey that you understand their pain points while being able to offer appropriate solutions.
    3. Personalize your communication by customizing your omnichannel messages about the different products you offer. 
    4. Share knowledge in an email, newsletter, or blog article, and keep your audience updated on the latest research and industry trends.
    5. Exceed expectations by building rapport and always going above and beyond in all areas of your organization.
    6. Listen and learn what your customers value the most.
Using these principles throughout your organization will keep your sales pipeline full of new leads and referrals. Building a solid relationship with your clients earns their trust that you will eventually save them time and money in the long run. 

Customer Retention

Customer retention is the ability to retain customers over time. This concept is a percentage of how many customers are retained and focuses on the long-term strategy of good relationship management practices.  The best consumers don't just buy one product or use your service once. The average repeat customer spends 67% more in the 31st-36th months of their relationship with a business than in months 0-6. Therefore, customer relationship management is a slow, consistent process that needs to be encouraged and nurtured. Not only do repeat customers come back again and again, but they also refer more people and bring in new business. Ask for regular feedback from the entire customer team. Once buyers develop a sense of trust, the word will spread.

Implement the Right Tools

CRM tools are the most extensive and fastest-growing enterprise application software category. Around 65% of businesses adopt these customer platforms within the first five years. Proving there is a clear need for companies to work with large volumes of customer data all in one place.  These software tools allow you to see the entire customer journey in a way that has never been possible in the past. Choosing the correct software for your business centers around your goals, how you implement your customer experience, individual processes, and reporting capabilities.  Over the past 5-10 years, customer relationship management has become a vital part of sales and marketing initiatives to develop engaging customer experiences. Receiving consistent, up-to-date, reliable information is critical for optimizing your systems, processes, and understanding of your customers.    If you’re looking for more helpful tips, the FINSYNC blog is a great resource to learn more about industry trends and other tools to help your business succeed.  
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