Streamline and Improve Finance Processes with These Simple Tips

Streamline and Improve Finance Processes with These Simple Tips
American Express
American Express® offers simple solutions for businesses facing cash flow and payment processing challenges. Learn how with these useful finance tips

When a finance department operates more efficiently, everyone benefits. Customers and suppliers will be more satisfied with smoother payment processing, and businesses enjoy increased revenue growth and reduced costs. An efficient finance function takes less time and effort performing traditional non-revenue generating financial tasks and instead invests in identifying potential areas of growth or cost-savings by studying financial data.

Here are some strategies and solutions to simplify and improve the finance processes in your own business.

Identify your finance function pain points

It sounds obvious, but before looking for solutions to finance challenges, identify the real pain points. Some common challenges facing these departments include:

  • Complicated or legacy accounts receivables and payables tools and processes with steep learning curves that cause delays or inconsistencies
  • Overflow of transactions and time-consuming or non-value manual tasks
  • Ongoing cash flow issues, such as constantly struggling between getting quicker payment receipt and deferring payments to suppliers/vendors, while simultaneously dealing with insufficient cash to make payroll or other key expenses
  • Poor integration between banking transactional, accounting and payment systems
  • Partial view of business spend and suppliers

Meet your finance department's needs

Although the challenges facing finance departments may seem complicated, business finance professionals have clear priorities, which include:

  • Continuous access to enough cash to meet required bill payments
  • A method or tool to help negotiate longer/better supplier payment terms
  • A simpler and faster way to accept payments
When these needs are met, customers are happier, financial processes become more efficient and interaction with vendors and suppliers improves. It's a win-win-win situation.

Leverage continuous access to cash with unsecured financing

Getting unsecured credit is an efficient and timely solution that complements more traditional means of financing and supports business cash flow challenges. Use a business credit card to pay bills when they're due. This alleviates the need to defer supplier/vendor payments in anticipation of customer payments or receivables and may enable early pay discounts and other cost efficiencies.

American Express Business cardmembers, for instance, can leverage up to 55 days* of unsecured credit depending on the purchase date, payment date and billing cycle. Compare that to when you write a cheque or pay by EFT.

You can also save time and effort by referring to credit card statement items when completing monthly bookkeeping and accounting tasks.

Accelerate your payments collections

In addition to paying your suppliers on a timely basis and enabling your cash flow with an American Express Business Card, accepting it for payments from customers means you can enable efficiencies across your supply chain. You'll get paid faster, and you'll save time, money and effort in several other ways. These include:

  • Reduced costs and processing time associated with cheques, EFTs and wire transfers
  • An opportunity to expand your customer base to those businesses and individuals who prefer to pay with their American Express Business Card.
  • Key customer insights through data spend analytics

Automate your payments

Digital payments to suppliers can go a long way to improve visibility into spends while helping to track and manage cash flow. For example, products like American Express' vPayment enable companies to set a payment amount, date range, and payee in order to optimize working capital while eliminating late payments, increasing efficiency and simplifying the reconciliation process.

Payments are deposited directly into the supplier's bank account using a unique virtual account number for each transaction. This process eliminates the risk of data entry errors that could result in accidental late payments. And with no card numbers changing hands and the specific single-use virtual account number only being used once, the process is also more secure.

These convenient and simple methods of accepting and issuing payments can make for more streamlined finance departments and more satisfied customers.

*The number of days varies based on a variety of factors, including when charges are posted to your account, whether your account is in good standing, and the closing date of your statement.

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. It shouldd not be regarded as comprehensive or a substitue for professional advice.