Get off the paper
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Why it’s important to adopt digital business tools
Business owners in the manufacturing sector can pride themselves in handling much of the business in traditional ways. They still write and mail cheques, may keep track of their books by hand and even make regular visits to their banks’ local branches. In this highly competitive industry, time is the scarcest resource, and spending time working on finances by hand and waiting for cheques to be printed and mailed takes business owners away from focusing on their company’s operations.
The manufacturing industry has a lot of partners, vendors and staff, most of whom are not in a position to wait for the bank to open. Moving away from traditional banking and getting comfortable with online banking is key to efficient cash flow and spending less time worrying about the dollars and cents of the business.
The biggest shortfall when it comes to running your finances with ‘paper and pen’ is how easily you can make a mistake. One wrong number on one sheet can completely throw off your entire budget, not to mention all the time required to go back through the books and make sure that mistake doesn’t show up anywhere else.
One of the advantages of having all of your business’s banking online is being able to see every account, investment and all pending payments in one place, and often on one screen. A common fear around online banking is that it’s complicated and you may not know where to find what you need. This can be extra stressful working with a business’s money. If something is misplaced, the consequences can be much more severe.
With more and more individuals embracing online banking, and more businesses across industries utilizing its benefits, online banking is constantly improving and simpler than ever. In the case of Canadian Western Bank (CWB), the Direct Online Business Banking platform is specifically designed for the complexities that accompany managing a company’s finances. Business owners also have the added benefit of being able to completely customize their online dashboard.
The size of your business doesn’t matter. A single profile with Direct Online Business Banking can include accounts of your parent company and all its subsidiaries, so funds can seamlessly move between branches and areas through a single web application. This makes all the most important information readily available the minute the screen is open and helps make sure all the other information is exactly where it needs to be.
Sending and receiving funds
One manufacturing client I worked with shared his annual hours for himself and his entire staff and what their individual job descriptions entailed. As I read through the numbers, I counted up how many hours either he or a member of his staff spent going to the bank for deposits. It added up to over two hundred hours annually. That’s a lot of time away from the warehouse floor and away from the direct operations of the business.
Too many business owners take time for granted when it comes to their deposits. This is where online banking becomes so incredibly valuable. Online and electronic banking ensures that the funds you receive can be immediately deposited into your account, moved to exactly where they need to be and readily available when it comes time to pay the next vendor or bill.
At CWB, we offer scanners for businesses to support our Remote Deposit Capture software. The remote deposit capture solution and software moves the funds directly into your account – without having to visit your branch or wait in any bank lines!
It’s the same case when it comes to sending out funds as well. Many vendors working in the manufacturing industry will sometimes offer discounts for paying bills early. If you’re writing and mailing out cheques still, the funds won’t reach the vendor particularly quickly, meaning you won’t have the opportunity to capitalize on additional savings. Paying with online direct payments and Interac e-transfers allows you to instantly send money to your vendors without having to wait for a cheque to move through the mail.
It amazes me to see how many manufacturing businesses still try to run their finances the traditional way. Every time I meet with a new manufacturing client, I almost immediately ask to see what their finances currently look like, and I’m always astonished if I see a business owner pull out a dusty binder with pencil-marked up paper or cheque stubs. When this occurs, I waste no time introducing these business owners to the benefits of online and electronic banking.
Business moves fast and your finances need to keep up. Vendors won’t wait long for cheques and staff shouldn’t spend so much time in line at the bank that it affects your bottom line. Adopting an online business banking platform isn’t the way of the future anymore. It’s just how business is done today and there’s no shortage of business owners who still need a hand upgrading. Learn more about CWB’s cash management solutions at cwbank.com/clearyourhead.
Mike Spiess is assistant vice-president and manager of commercial relationships with Canadian Western Bank.