When adopting new technology, fortune favors the bold

When adopting new technology, fortune favors the bold

Technological innovations are helping businesses in every industry improve their customer experience and gain an edge over the competition. Adopting new technology is no longer a choice for most business owners, as being an early adopter can mean the difference between surviving and thriving. So why are so many small businesses slow to adopt new technology?

Adoption rates of new tech in large enterprises are up to 10 times higher than in small businesses, depending on the industry. While large companies have more resources and manpower to earmark for new technology, it does not seem to account for the difference between small and large businesses being so great. According to a 2018 survey by AT&T, 75% of small businessowners are eager to embrace new technology, but 38% of those surveyed are categorized as late adopters. So what gives? Here are 3 reasons why small business owners may be late to the party.

1. Resources

For most, this is likely the largest hurdle to overcome. Small businesses often run on small budgets, and many small business owners are not willing to invest in new tech unless the benefits are proven. Peter Tsai, a senior technology analyst states, “…small businesses aren’t increasing IT budgets at the same rate as large enterprises, they’re focusing their limited resources on more immediate concerns, such as refreshing aging and potentially out-of-support infrastructure, software, and services.” However, using this strategy means your business is always playing catch up. Fortune favors the bold, not the risk averse. The decision to adopt new technology must be carefully mulled over, but the right opportunity could increase employee productivity, speed to market, and ultimately, profit margins.

2. Integration

Recentstudies show that most late adopters list cost as the largest barrier to adoption, but that the second largest complaint (16%) is integration. Just the word ‘integration’ can trigger thoughts of delays, hidden costs, and internal training. These are concerns for businesses of any size, but delays and retraining can have a much larger effect on a small business. Still, the short-term pain is often worth the long-term gain of improving a critical aspect of operations. There are also opportunities to take advantage of new technological developments that don’t require any heavy lifting. The Internet has enabled many small businesses to improve their operations through relatively seamless online platforms, such as website design (i.e. Wix), social media management (i.e. Buffer), or our very own B2B payment platform for small businesses, Ablii.

3. Exposure

Today, technology is changing at such a fast rate that some small business owners simply do not know what new products are available in market as they don’t gain enough exposure to make an educated decision. Dominic Perks, co-founder of the venture capital firm, Hambro Perks, believes there is a bit of a spiral effect in place, where small businesses engage less with technology, thus, owners have less exposure to what innovations are in the market. Overall, this makes it more difficult to make a decision on what tech works best for them. “There are lots of SME owners that simply have not had technology in their working lives; they just don’t ‘know’ tech, and what is possible.”

Breaking the cycle of limited exposure is never easy, but small business owners must start somewhere. Beginning the search by casting a wide net, and then narrowing the scope by understanding the industry, business operations, and customer needs can help an owner navigate the sea of options. Only then, can owners make a decision on what aspects of the business need improving most, whether it’s via project management, online payments, or digital advertising.

Fortune favors the bold

Adopting new technology is never easy, but then again, neither is running a small business. There is always the risk of making the wrong decision, but even worse is making no decision at all. By being strategic in improving specific processes, staying connected within the industry, and being timely, small business owners can gain an edge on the competition. The small business owner should not underestimate the power of the ‘first mover advantage’. Make the right first moves, and you may not be a small business much longer.

For more information on how you can try our new online business payment platform, risk free, visit Ablii.com

4 tips to help small business owners reduce stress this tax season

4 tips to help small business owners reduce stress this tax season

It’s official, we have entered the most stressful season of the year…TAX SEASON. Just the thought of tackling all that paperwork can make a person lose sleep, and nobody feels that burden more than a small business owner. Fear not– we spoke to an accounting expert on behalf of Ablii customers to ask for actionable tips to deal with the daunting task of filing taxes. Here are 4 tips to minimize the stress of tax season for business owners in Canada and the U.S.

1. Keep your receipts

This tip is simple but crucial. There’s no bigger frustration than an impending audit and no receipt backup transactions. The Income Tax Act states that records should be retained for six years ( or 3+ years in the U.S.) from the end of the last tax year, making it very important to have a centrally located database for invoices.

2. Know what is tax-deductible

Deductibles are all about what’s “reasonable”. Keep track of your eligible business expenses and notes explaining the thought process of how you determined what was “reasonable” and therefore deductible for tax purposes. Not only is this good business practice, but it will also limit your exposure to questions from the IRS and CRA.

3. Acquaint yourself with available income tax credits and deductions

Did you know that you could qualify for home business tax deductions, which could include the interest on your mortgage? How about a tax credit of up to $2,000 if you hire a tradesperson working in the first two years of their apprenticeship program? There are a whole array of tax credits available which could benefit your business. Investing time into determining what these are and if they apply to you could be extremely valuable to your business and provide you with quantifiable results.

4. When in doubt, consult

Qualified experts can be expensive but they can also save you money, time and future liability. Finding a trusted advisor is especially important as you grow your business and begin to face more complicated tax issues.

 


Filing taxes will never be stress-free, but we hope these tips make the process a little easier and wish you all the best this tax season.

Valentine’s Day is Christmas for fraudsters, but they don’t take days off

Valentine's Day is Christmas for fraudsters

Making our loved ones feel special is an important gesture, particularly on Valentine’s Day. A fancy dinner or a day at the spa are wonderful ideas, and of course, more roses are purchased on February 14th than any other day. But be careful — Valentine’s day can be considered Christmas for fraudsters. According to the Better Business Bureau, victims in the US and Canada have reported losing nearly $1 billion on romance scams over the last three years. Business is not spared either, with 63% of businesses facing the same or more fraud losses in 2018 than in 2017. This week may be peak season for consumer fraud, but small business owners are vulnerable in their personal and professional lives.

 

Personal Fraud

Thinking about sending flowers to your loved one? With many online flower shops promising to sell the freshest flowers with the best price and the fastest delivery, it can be confusing to settle on the right company to please your special someone. Many e-commerce sites will send you an email with a personalized offer claiming to be for a limited time only. Maybe they’ll throw in a bottle of wine too.

Okay, so you’ve made the purchase, written a customized note and paid for priority delivery hoping that they’ll receive it on February 14th. You get an email confirmation that your flowers were delivered. Perfect! But you don’t hear from your partner. Did they like it? Did the bouquet have their favourite flowers?

A few hours go by and you hear nothing, so you decide to call the flower company. You are told that there was an error with your package and they had to use a different, more expensive carrier. To fulfill the delivery, an additional fee is required using a payment method of your choice. You provide payment right away since the clock is ticking.

In the end, no flowers are delivered. You’re out the money and, most importantly, your Valentine’s Day is ruined. This was all due to a phishing scam that started with a spoofed email and a fake website. Fraudsters create emails and websites that appear legitimate but are intended to deceive and steal personal information to use for illicit purposes.

 

Small Business Fraud

Now, while the news often focuses on the latest romance scam or online dating scheme, we don’t often hear about how small businesses suffer from fraud every day.

Small businesses typically have fewer anti-fraud controls in place than large organizations, making them particularly vulnerable to attack. With few internal protocols and little protection externally (like consumers have with their credit card providers), 60% of small business fraud victims don’t recover any of their losses.

Believe it or not, the median fraud loss of small businesses is the same as companies with 10,000 or more employees. Unlike personal fraud, fraudsters don’t wait for special occasions or holidays to attack small businesses. They have become technologically savvy and continually look for vulnerabilities.

Check tampering, billing schemes and seemingly legitimate e-commerce sites make it extremely important for businesses to review their finances, whether it be through an internal audit or by reconciling accounts with a fine-tooth comb. Of course, there are now many affordable ways to help small business owners manage their payments and accounting so that no detail is left unnoticed. Regardless of whether you’re concerned about being scammed personally or professionally, here are a few general, but important tips to remember:

 

  1. Do Your Research: A simple Google search can reveal a lot about a company. Where is the company located? Do they have reviews on just one site or multiple sites? Often times, companies can purchase fake “reviews” in order for their business to appear legitimate. The Better Business Bureau is a great, reliable source of information on a company.
  2. Read the Terms and Conditions: This may seem time-intensive, but “the devil is in the details”. Do the terms raise any red flags? What recourse do you have if the product or service is not delivered?
  3. Carefully Review your Bank Statements: Whether you are reviewing your business account or your personal account, double-check every payment on the statement and flag anything that seems suspicious.
  4. Use Common Sense: Do things seem “too good to be true?” If you’re second-guessing yourself, your instincts are probably right.
  5. Report the Fraud: If you’ve been a victim of fraud, chances are others are being targeted as well. Always report suspected fraud to your local police department and the national anti-fraud governing body.

Co-authored by Nadir Samji, Director, Fraud Strategy and Operations

nanopay Corporation

Why are we still using checks?

Why are we still using checks?

The year is 2019. NASA is discussing a manned mission to Mars, driverless cars are on the road, you unlock your portable phone/mini-computer with your fingerprint, and yet, most businesses still use paper checks to make their payments. Why is this outdated, inefficient payment method still being used by the majority of businesses?

There seems to be a few factors at play here. First and foremost, familiarity. For better or for worse, checks are a part of life for most businesses and have been a part of the payment ecosystem for hundreds of years. Businesses have built their internal processes around the use of checks, and believe it’s more burdensome to change their ways than it is to continue with the tried and true method of manual check processing. But why is this still true in this digital age?

The manual entry method of a cheque is slow and prone to error, but checks are cheaper than credit cards, universally accepted, and can be used as a simple record keeping system for businesses. Checks also give businesses a (false) sense of control, by allowing owners to personally sign, or have oversight, on every payment made. Familiarity and inertia can go a long way in keeping checks alive, but still, 67% of those polled would be willing to move away from cheques if they had other options. This leads us to another piece of the puzzle, innovation.

Most businesses don’t feel they have a legitimate alternative to cheques for their payment needs, and this is especially true for small businesses. While consumers have PayPal, Apple Pay, e-Transfer, etc. most businesses are left using either checks or credit cards. Credit cards are a great alternative for small payments, but the fees become unreasonable for large business payments. Small businesses need a digital payment option that is intuitive, secure, cheap and helps reduce payment reconciliation, and they want it to be fast.

“Small firms are indeed looking for new, faster ways of payment,” said Dan Kelly, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, an advocacy group for 110,000 Canadian independent businesses. “Many firms are particularly interested in new ways to make business-to-business payments where larger sums of money can be transferred quickly without hold times or high transaction costs.”

In fact, 81% of those surveyed are willing to integrate new technologies into their operations, with newer businesses even keener (88%) to find a new payment method.

However, there is still the issue of infrastructure. Most banking infrastructure is old…like really old. In fact, many banks still use systems implemented in the 1970s, which means that truly innovative solutions have to be built on top of, or integrate with, outdated systems. Until banks replace these systems and start moving towards open banking and real-time payments, businesses will be left wanting better payment options.

The small business is still the backbone of the economy and there are finally companies realizing the opportunity that lies in providing a digital payment product that caters specifically to small businesses. Still, in order to enable businesses to give up their checkbook, we will need to see two things. Firstly, companies must continue to produce payment products, like Ablii, that are cheap and intuitive to use, but also offer the security and control businesses require. Secondly, both the government and banks must fully commit to implementing new payment infrastructure that allows technology companies to bring truly innovative products to market. Only then, will the checkbook be eliminated once and for all.

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