Entrepreneurs Have Many Good Options for Managing Finance Using Cloud and Mobile Technology.
Financial technology is charging forward with changes at a nearly-dizzying pace. Two of the biggest changes are the prevalence of mobile devices and the shift toward cloud technology. Small business owners must stay informed and be poised to take advantage of the efficiency these advances offer.
The shift to running financial apps in the cloud is made possible, in part, with broadband service that is cheaper, and more importantly, faster. Going into the cloud saves work for small businesses. While in the past, small businesses had to be their own IT departments, today, cloud service providers do the dirty work for you, upgrading hardware, providing software patches, etc.
Beyond that, many small businesses are now investing in managed services from a network operation center. These managed services cover things like operations management, migration services, network security, and backup and disaster recovery. Being able to put your network in the hands of an experienced professional, without having to pay for a full-time staff member, allows small businesses to expand and grow their network as necessary. This flexibility and support ensures that any financial apps that are used by the organization are completely secure and are always supported by someone with experience in the field.
Naturally, one of the facets of cloud service much loved by its users is safety. Cloud servers include redundancy in their architecture and off-site data storage. Data are backed up on a regular basis and recoverable in the event of a disaster.
Financial software in the cloud is available at accessible prices and from reputable providers. As a couple of ready examples, Intuit QuickBooks retails at $39.95. Freshbooks runs $39.95.
The cloud version of these software packages contain the same features as the original: in the case of QuickBooks it’s a full suite of electronic payment, payroll, and online banking applications. Freshbooks is in all-in-one accounting suite, with billing, expense management, and estimates functions. There’s also a payroll app at an additional charge.
Mobile apps are now ubiquitous. Any type of smart phone can allow you to make transactions in your bank account. Many of the relevant apps are meant to serve as full replacements for traditional banking services. For example, Optical character recognition enables one to take a picture of a check and deposit it just by e-mailing the image. It’s almost sci-fi stuff.
But banking is banking–it’s not the fun stuff. Let’s discuss POS, point-of-sale. POS apps are available for your phone, requiring you to plug into a card reader and start swiping. Apps and card readesr are provided by banks or by third parties like SquareUp which can link transactions to business accounts.
These convenient apps do have downsides: POS solutions for phones carry high per-swipe fees, which means that some businesses may not be able to justify the added cost.
Funding For Startups
Having discussed some basic new and emerging technologies for your business, let’s look at web-based avenues for funding. If banks and venture capitalists say no, another option is to put a proposal for the business on a website and ask the public for support: crowdfunding.
Some of the popular crowdfunding sources have paid off for many, many companies, including some with established owners and some name recognition. Several sites now provide a platform for business owners to seek crowdfunding. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub, and GoFundMe are the biggies, and I’m confident you know of a business that has achieved funding through one of them. They all tend to attract some enthusiastic supporters who have a sense of community and generosity. You do have to invest time and money in putting together a solid presentation, but these sites have high-enough profiles to ensure that your project will get attention.
Receiving funding, processing transactions and dealing with computing architecture have evolved dramatically in the last several years. Entrepreneurs can and should take advantage of these developments.