Selecting and implementing the right technology in your business can be overwhelming and confusing. As technology continues to advance, the choices become endless and it is understandable many businesses choose to throw it in the ‘too hard basket’ and continue doing business the way they have done in the past. There is no question that in some cases this may work, but could there be a better way? The answer to this question, of course, is ‘yes!’
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a lot of lessons in quite a short period of time. In reality, it has changed the way we do business. One such change is the move towards cashless and online payments. This concept was highlighted at the peak of the pandemic, with experts warning us the virus could be transmitted via cash. It became evident that those businesses that had systems in place for multiple payment methods were able to quickly adapt to the situation and continue to provide their goods or services and receive payments. Despite this, we should not use COVID as an excuse for needing to consider change. We should instead focus on why the idea of going “cashless” is not a temporary solution, but an important and necessary progression that every business should consider.
What do we mean by ‘Cashless’?
Let’s start by highlighting that it is not providing our goods or services for free! When we refer to the term ‘cashless’, we are simply looking at eliminating the handing over, or receipt of, cash in the physical form. The reality is that access to our money is becoming more and more easy – whether that be in person, or online. If we look at what is available today, we have certainly come a long way from our traditional Visa or Debit cards. We now see the concept of ‘Tap-and-Go’ extended to our everyday devices. If you have a smartphone, it is likely you can use this as your bank card, not to mention your smartwatch – with the turn of a wrist you can pay for anything you desire. As a business, there is an opportunity to take advantage of this.
Every business is different, but the time old saying “Cash is King” is still, and always will be, relevant. Making it easier for your customers to pay is the key to collecting cash quicker. In the tourism and hospitality sector, seasonality and timing is a continual battle. For both a supplier and customer, having the funds available at the right time can have a significant impact on the ability to make the next purchase or finalise the next sale. We also need to consider that a portion of our sales is from impulse purchasing, particularly in the tourism sector. Someone passing through town may see what you are offering, but in many cases do not carry cash on them (or a very limited amount). The ability to take a payment using a cashless method is going to increase the chance of finalising that sale– who wants to drive around town in search of an ATM just to get the cash to make a purchase? This is also reflected in the online world – if you can offer a product or service that can be purchased in one click, it is far more enticing for the consumer to make that commitment as opposed to BPAY or online bank transfers.
What options do we have?
There is an endless number of solutions and the following is not an exhaustive list.
Let’s start with two point of sale solutions that can be implemented without any major disruption to how you currently operate your business:
Perhaps the most common ‘Tap-and-Go’ product currently in the market, Square is a quick and easy solution that offers card payment options anywhere and anytime. For as little as $60 a card reader can be purchased and linked to your smartphone or tablet, and after a quick Square account registration you can be taking payments by card – it’s that simple.
- Bank Merchant Facility
Arguably not as mobile as Square, another quick option is to simply get an EFTPOS machine through your bank. This offers a card payment solution that in most cases can be linked directly to a cash drawer or point of sale software to offer that ‘Tap-and-Go’ solution we’ve all found so convenient.
In addition to face-to-face point of sale options, there are online payment options. The two ways in which we could incorporate an online payment gateway is via invoices that we send, or via an online shop where the end consumer can simply view an invoice or choose a product, click a payment link and enter their card details to make their payment. There is a huge number of vendors that can provide this functionality including the following:
There are plenty of other options available in addition to the three listed. When choosing which product to use, you will need to consider the fees charged by the products, as well as the hardware cost that may be required to run the system. Another consideration is which product can integrate into your current accounting and bookkeeping software. Will it be compatible with the software you have? Is there an opportunity to make a further change in your internal accounting processes to get a product that will help your business?
The most important question to ask yourself when deciding on a product is “what does my business require?” From a simple ‘Tap-and-Go’ point of sale card reader through to an online payment gateway for invoicing and orders, cashless payment options are available to meet your demands and should not be overlooked when considering the future of your business.
Author: Vaughan Jeffery, Senior Accountant, RSM Australia
Senior Accountant – Business Advisory
RSM Australia Pty Ltd
Unit 3, 42-46 Rose Street Manjimup WA 6258
PO Box 120 Manjimup WA 6258
DL: +61 (0) 8 9771 9900 | F: +61 (0) 8 9777 1000