How to open a business bank account in Canada

Canadian banks are known for their reliability and stability. Knowing how to open a business bank account in Canada can help you leverage those banking benefits.

In this post, we’ll answer all the pertinent questions related to opening a business bank account in Canada so that your organization can reap the benefits of one of the safest banking systems in the world.

 

Do I need to be Canadian to open a business bank account in Canada?

There are no residency requirements or citizenship requirements to open a business bank account in Canada. In fact, you can open your account in Canada even if you don’t plan to immigrate there.

 

Do I need to be in Canada to open a business bank account?

Some banks in Canada do require you to be there in-person when opening a business bank account while others don’t impose such requirements.

In case you choose to open your account without visiting, we recommend that you call the bank you wish to open your account in beforehand. This way, you’ll be informed of any account restrictions and requirements.

There are a number of international banks that operate in Canada. So, if there is a local branch near you, they may help you open a business bank account in your country of residence and transfer it to Canada. However, you may have to pay higher charges for holding the business bank account internationally and make a higher minimum deposit to open your account.

 

What documents will I need to open a business bank account in Canada?

If your company fulfills the qualifications given in the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations under the Bank Act, the account opening process is pretty straightforward. Once you’ve submitted the required documents, you should be able to get your account up and running in one business day.

You’ll have to provide two valid forms of identification for the business owners along with a photo ID and a government-issued document.

In addition to this, you’re required to submit documents based on your company type:

Corporations:

  • 2 pieces of identification of individuals who are the corporation’s signing authorities
  • Articles of Incorporation/Association
  • Certificates of Status
  • Certificates of Compliance
  • Certificates of Existence
  • Corporate Annual Government Filing
  • Corporate Profile Report
  • Business License
  • Business Number
  • Notice of Assessment for Income Tax

 

Partnerships and Limited Partnerships:

  • Registered declaration of partnership
  • Trade name registration
  • Copy of partnership agreement

 

Sole Proprietorships:

  • Master business license
  • Trade name registration

 

 

Which bank should I open a business bank account in?

Think about the different services you need based on the type of business you’re running.

We recommend that you thoroughly research the services offered by each bank to shortlist the ones that can help you meet your business objectives.

Keep in mind that the Canadian banking industry is way more centralized as compared to other countries like the United States. There are also fewer banks in Canada (only five banks dominate 90% of the retail banking industry).

The main five banks include:

  • The Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

 

 

What bank fees can I expect?

When opening a bank account anywhere, you’re required to pay different banking fees and charges. Some of the fees charged by banks (including Canadian banks) are the standard monthly/annual maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees, checkbook fees, ATM fees, fees for debit transactions over the monthly limit, and paper statement fees.

When doing business in Canada, you should take into account the high banking fees charged for sending cross-border payments. In addition to the bank fees, many banks set an exorbitant exchange rate for foreign payments.

Banks commonly increase their fees and charge unfair markups, especially when exchanging currencies. Moreover, keep in mind that the exchange rates mentioned on boards in exchange bureaus and banks vary from that day’s real Foreign Exchange market rates. They don’t include the additional variable bank fees which mean that they’re always higher than stated.

 

How do I send domestic and cross-border payments from Canada?

Ablii is a business payments solution that makes it easy for companies to send domestic and cross-border payments. It lets you send money from Canada to Canada, the USA, and India, as well as send payments from within the USA and from the USA to Canada.

Using Ablii, you can easily pay vendors and suppliers and collect payments from business clients. Plus, it doesn’t require businesses receiving payments to create an account.

In addition to this, Ablii integrates with Quickbooks accounting software and offers a customizable approval process. It also lets you set up real-time notifications for payments.

 

Conclusion

Opening a business account in Canada is pretty simple given that your business meets all the necessary requirements. You should research your options before opening a business bank account in Canada to ensure your bank can meet your specific business needs.

And, with a business payments solution like Ablii, you’ll be able to send domestic and cross-border payments from Canada to the USA, India, and within Canada easily!

 

5 inspiring businesses that have found innovative solutions in this challenging time

The last 5 months have been incredibly challenging, and this is particularly true for many small businesses. However, like all challenges, this one has forced many to dig deep and find an opportunity to serve their customers in new and innovative ways. We’ve compiled a list of small businesses that have inspired us through their ingenuity and tenacity and we hope that maybe they inspire you as well!

 

  1. Kendall Hills Farms– We believe it’s particularly important to support buying local during this difficult time, and a farmer’s market is a terrific way to do that. But of course, for many living in the city, this has been quite a challenge when it comes to buying local food, especially produce. Introducing virtualfarmersmarket.ca, which enables customers to shop at a farmer’s market without leaving their home office. Locally sourced, no-contact deliveries and curb-side pickup, and new, fresh options every week…we cannot recommend this enough! The farmer’s market supplies much of southern Ontario, but be sure to check that they deliver to your area!

 

  1. Rebalance Sports Medicine Physiotherapy & Chiropractic- With 2 locations in downtown Toronto, Rebalance is a highly regarded sports medicine clinic. Unfortunately, the province-wide shutdown forced the clinic to temporarily close its doors. However, the clinic managed to continue offering its services to patients by using a fully secure virtual platform (think Zoom for healthcare). Rebalance is not the only clinic to offer virtual services, and we recommend you seek out a clinic that meets your personal needs, but the highly touted clinic seemed to maintain its 5-star service throughout the shutdown. Now that they are allowed to open again, both locations are offering in-person visits, but continue to offer virtual appointments to those who’d prefer to see a clinician from the safety of their own home. To learn more, visit https://rebalancetoronto.com/

 

  1. Alo– Arguably Canada’s top restaurant, Alo was forced to close their doors due to the pandemic and resulting shutdown in Toronto. However, the restaurant launched a multi-course tasting menu for pick-up so that diners may continue to indulge in fine dining from the comfort of their own home. For those wondering, while it’s not cheap, the price is more than reasonable considering the restaurant was named the #90 best restaurant in the whole world last year! To learn more about Alo and their ‘Alo at Home’ service, visit https://www.exploretock.com/alorestaurant/.

 

  1. Toronto Neighbourhood Walks- A truly uplifting story, a 19 year old Torontonian, Jayden Daniels wanted to learn more about the city while he was out walking various neighbourhoods in the midst of the pandemic lockdown. He had taken to the internet to learn more about Toronto’s neighbourhoods and saw an opportunity to help the many people who were now exploring the city in an attempt to get some fresh air and some exercise during the difficult time. An impressive young man, Jayden Daniels made the app free to download so that everyone may enjoy it, but has encouraged users to donate to the North York Food Bank instead. To download the app, simply go to the app store on your phone and type in ‘Toronto Neighbourhood Walks’.

 

  1. Peace Collective- The online brand that became famous for their ‘Toronto vs. Everybody’ sweatshirts has seen continued success by introducing masks during the pandemic. They actually started producing masks due to requests from customers. While their typical apparel business was certainly hurt during Toronto’s lockdown, mask production allowed them to continue employing their seamstresses and keep the brand strong during a difficult time. As part of their push, they are currently advertising that they donate three meals to a Canadian food bank for every garment purchased during COVID-19. To learn more about Peace Collective, visit https://www.peace-collective.com/

We continue to see examples from around the world of how creative, innovative and most importantly, resilient small businesses can be. Using the power of digital, small business owners have managed to expand their reach, pivot their business, or reinforce their mission, and we at Ablii couldn’t be more impressed! As an online payment platform for small businesses, Ablii has always harnessed the power of digital, but it is now more important than ever that we share stories of how small businesses have adapted and sought opportunities from within such a unique challenge. Do you have any inspiring stories of how a small business you know has adapted to this difficult time? Please feel free to share it with us!

Adding a personal touch to your small (personal) business

When it comes to running your small business, customer satisfaction should be one of your top priorities. One way to deliver a good customer experience is by adding a personal touch to your customer interactions.

Here are three ways to add a personal touch to your small business:

 

Send a happy birthday email

Sending a happy birthday email to customers makes them feel special and lets them know you value them. It humanizes your brand and helps establish and retain relationships. Not to mention, it gives you an opportunity to show some personality.

The first thing you need to do is collect your customers’ birthdays. You can do this by asking customers to enter their date of birth at the checkout page. If you already have an email list, you can craft a birthday collection campaign instead.

To give your happy birthday email a personal touch, use your brand voice in the messaging. You might even consider offering customers an exclusive coupon or discount on their special day. Subway, for example, gives customers a birthday cookie.

 

Ask for feedback

Another way to add a personal touch to your small business is by asking customers for feedback. Not only is it a great way to let them know their opinion matters, but it can also help you improve your business.

To get started, you can set up a simple feedback collection form on your website. Keep in mind that you should only ask customers for as much information as you need. Typically, this means their email address, the product or service they’re providing feedback for, and their feedback message.

Alternatively, you can ask customers to provide feedback over email. The benefits of using email to solicit feedback are twofold:

 

  • You can automate feedback emails.
  • You can ask customers for feedback after key interactions.

For example, you can set up an automated feedback request email to be sent to customers a week after their purchase. Or, you can ask customers to provide feedback after the onboarding process. Ride sharing app, Lyft, asks customers for feedback after a ride.

 

Thank them for their purchase

Thanking customers after they make a purchase is perhaps one of the simplest ways to add a personal touch to your small business while delivering a good customer experience. You can use this as an opportunity to let customers know you appreciate their business.

From an implementation standpoint, you want to configure your marketing automation tool to send customers a thank you email soon right after they complete their order. Alternatively, you can thank customers for their purchase after the product has been delivered to them.

To give your thank you email a personal touch, remember to use your brand voice and tone in your subject line and messaging. You might also consider signing off the email with the CEO or founder’s name to make it feel personal.

 

Conclusion

Adding a personal touch to your small business can help you build strong customer relationships from the get-go. The best part is that it’s incredibly easy to do and there’s lots of room for creativity. You can get started by sending customers a happy birthday email, asking for feedback after key interactions, and thanking them for their purchase.

What are some of the unique ways you add a personal touch to your small business? Let us know in the comments below.

How much does it cost to start a business (hint: it depends)

Whether you’re launching a service-based company or a product-based startup, there are certain things you need to take into account to ensure business success and profitability – such as calculating startup costs.

While there’s no magic formula for finding out exactly how much money you’ll need to finance your business, there are some startup costs and additional expenses that are common to most businesses. Adding those costs up will give you a workable estimate of what you need to start your business.

Let’s start by discussing what business startup costs are and go through a step-by-step process on how to calculate them.

 

What are business startup costs?

Before we dive into what you need to start your business, it’s important to get acquainted with the different types of business startup costs. They can be classified into two main types: one-time costs and recurring costs.

One-time costs:

Capital expenses (or capital expenditures) are one-time expenses that are incurred when purchasing fixed assets. These are up-front payments you make when investing in your business to buy, improve, or maintain long-term assets. As a result, you’re able to upgrade the quality and quantity of products and services you can deliver.

Some common examples of capital expenditures are as follows:

  • Buildings (plus additional costs that extend the useful lifespan of a building)
  • Intangible assets (such as business licensing based on state and federal business laws and patents)
  • Property and rent expenditures
  • Land (plus the cost of maintaining and upgrading the land)
  • Furniture and vehicles
  • Inventory and vendor expenses
  • Technology expenses (such as computer equipment and software)

 

Recurring costs:

Recurring costs (also referred to as operating expenses) are ongoing expenses for running the business. They may contribute to startup costs but are incurred throughout the lifespan of the business. So, you’ll have to set aside funds to cover these expenses during the startup phase.

Here are some of the main recurring costs you need to take into account as a startup:

  • Rent
  • Administrative costs
  • Office supplies
  • Utilities
  • Sales and marketing expenses
  • Taxes and insurance
  • Website
  • Travel

You’ll also have to consider operational costs for initial business startups such as licensing, legal, incorporation, and permit fees.

How to calculate startup costs

 

Here’s how you can find the startup costs of your business:

Step #1: Identify what’s absolutely necessary

When you’re accounting for the above-mentioned startup expenditures, you may notice not all of them apply to your business. For instance, if you’re launching a service-based business, you don’t have to account for shipping and inventory expenses. Similarly, if you’re an online business, you may not need to factor in travel expenditures.

Once you’ve read through the list and figured out all the items that apply to you, determine what expenses are absolutely necessary to streamline your finances. For instance, if you can’t afford to rent space in a building, you might consider working from home.

Step #2: Jot down estimates

After you’ve drafted a complete list of your expenses, assign dollar amount estimates to each item. Keep in mind that these approximate expenses can vary based on your specific business requirements.

When finding approximate costs for your business expenses, consult peers in your field and do online research to make informed guesses about what amount you should allocate for each item. Doing this legwork early in your startup journey will help you come up with a realistic budget plan and devise a workable game plan to launch your business.

Step #3: Determine your break-even point

After you’ve figured out the estimates and have a clear idea about how much funds you’ll need to jumpstart your business and keep it running, you’re now ready to perform a break-even analysis.

Calculating the break-even point enables you to find out how much money you’ll need to cover your business startup expenses and ongoing operating costs. This information will help you make a business plan to ensure your startup remains profitable.

 

Financing your startup

Now that you understand how much money you’ll need to launch your business, you’ll have to arrange funds to cover the costs.

Here are a few ideas for raising capital for your startup:

  • Investors
  • Loans from friends, family members, or a financial institution
  • Business credit cards
  • Crowdfunding or Kickstarter campaigns

Although there are different ways to finance your business, you should do proper research and consult with your financial advisor for guidance.

 

Conclusion

While you may have a great business idea, it’s important to take control of your finances before you turn your winning concept into a thriving and profitable business. Calculating startup costs help you understand how much money you’ll need to start your business and keep it running.

Do you have any questions about how to identify one-time or recurring business costs specific to your industry? Let us know!

Why bank wires need to be retired

Did you know that the bank wire method for transferring funds is based on decades-old technology? This is one of the reasons it’s slow and cost-intensive.

The good news is that there are alternative payment methods that use modern infrastructure to transfer funds with low transaction fees and faster processing times.

Let’s take a look at why bank wires are outdated and how your business can benefit from alternate methods of domestic and cross-border payments.

Bank wire vs wire transfers

 

Companies frequently do businesses with entities located in geographically distant locations, be it remote workers, suppliers, or utility service providers. Sending funds from bank-to-bank is therefore a regular business activity. Most business owners use bank wires to transfer funds.

Many people often confuse bank wires and wire transfers though they’re different in more ways than one.

The main distinguishing factor between the two is that a bank wire involves the transfer of funds from bank-to-bank whereas a wire transfer is used to send money through a number of networks using a bank or third-party. In bank wires, funds are transferred only through banks. On the other hand, many non-banks and private corporations frequently offer wire transfer services.

Both bank wires and wire transfers are based on the same technology that was used to send telegraphs many decades ago. In fact, the first wire transfer was sent back in 1872.

However, there haven’t been any noteworthy advancements in wire transfers since the establishment of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions (SWIFT) network in 1970. This means transferring funds using a bank wire or wire transfer today is no different from what it was 50 years ago!

The traditional ‘fast and convenient’ way of money transfer has now become outdated and costly. The bank you use to send or receive a bank wire normally charges a fee for their services that both the sender and the receiver pay.

Wire transfer fees are based on different factors such as whether the funds are incoming or outgoing or whether they’re domestic or international.

Correspondent banks act as a middleman to facilitate the issuing bank and the receiving bank. This banking system has made bank wires slower and more expensive than ever before.

What is SWIFT and how does it work?

 

SWIFT is the world’s largest electronic messaging system that was originally designed to securely and easily transmit financial messages.

It’s essentially a bank-to-bank messaging network that uses a standard system of codes showing where a fund transfer is coming from, where it is going, and how it will get there.

According to 2018 estimates, SWIFT facilitates the exchange of an average of 31.31 million messages a day. The high volume of daily message transmission makes it almost impossible to trace fund transfers. Tracing lost fund transfers is costly, takes a lot of time, and there’s always a chance that you won’t recover your money.

The SWIFT regulations state that if a financial institution doesn’t have a correspondent account, the funds will be routed from bank to bank until it reaches the required destination. For instance, if your bank doesn’t have a connection with your beneficiary’s bank, it will have to loop another bank that does have a relationship with your bank – the correspondent bank – to complete the fund transfer.

In addition to this, SWIFT and other intermediary financial institutions charge different fees for their services. The payee has to pay a fee when receiving their funds. You also have to pay additional fees for international wire transfers that require currency exchange.

Two better ways to transfer money

 

Here are two alternatives to bank wires and SWIFT networks that are better in terms of security, processing times, and cost-effectiveness.

ACH

 

ACH (Automatic Clearing House) transactions offer a fast, secure, and cost-effective transfer of funds between banks. ACH transactions work in a batch process, unlike bank wires which involve the transfer of money from one bank to another.

When a money transfer reaches a bank, it’s stored on that day and sent on the next day. This way, these money transactions cost less than wire transfers. However, ACH transactions are slower than wire bank transfers and can take around 2 to 3 business days to complete.

Ablii

 

Ablii is a business payment solution that lets you send and receive domestic and overseas payments. You’ll be able to transfer funds online directly between bank accounts. Moreover, both parties (sender and recipient) will receive real-time status updates on payments in transit.

This payment solution enables you to send payments using data saved in your accounting software including contacts and invoices. Ablii also allows you to manage a searchable payment history through an easy-to-use interface.

Conclusion

 

Alternative payment methods like ACH payments and Ablii offer fast and secure ways to transfer funds. They are also more cost-effective than bank wires, making them a better option for businesses.

Ready to implement a fast and secure payment system for your business? Get Ablii today!

15 Finance terms every small business owner should know

Being a business owner, you have to wear many hats. Especially when it comes to finance, the number of accounting terms and acronyms may feel overwhelming. You may not enjoy talking finance, but understanding these concepts are crucial to your success. We are here to help! We’ve compiled a list of the top terms you should know as a small business owner.

Assets: All things your small business owns for daily operations. These assets span two main categories: tangible assets or intangible assets. Tangible assets include items such as, cash, real estate, equipment, computers and furniture. Intangible assets include intellectual property, copyrights and stock.

Accounts Payable (AP): AP is the sum of outstanding amounts your business owes to vendors or suppliers that have not yet been paid for.

Accounts Receivable (AR): AR is the money owed to your business by customers for the purchases of goods and services made on credit. Account receivables are reflected as a current asset on a balance sheet, since the customers are legally obligated to pay the amount.

Balance Sheet: Summarizes your small businesses key financial data at any given time. This big picture view into your fiscal health includes assets, liabilities and owner’s equity.

Capital Expenditures: CapEx are the purchases your small business makes that will be used to improve performance long-term. These include vehicles, computers, building improvements, and machinery.

Cash Flow: Cash your small business generates from every-day business operations after subtracting purchases made on capital expenditures.

Depreciation: Is a representation of the amount of an assets value that has been used up. It applies to tangible or physical assets over its useful life. There are many types of depreciation, including straight-line and various forms of accelerated depreciation. These depreciating assets allow your small business to write off their value over a period of time.

Dividends: Are a portion of your small businesses earnings that are distributed to the shareholders. The board of directors manage and determine the amount paid to the class of shareholders, by issuing the dividends in the form of cash, additional stocks or other property.

Expenses: The cost of operations that your small business incurs to generate revenue.

Forecasting: A process that uses your small business’s historical financial statements to predict future trends. These trends can be analyzed for a specific period of time and can help with sale, profits and asset values predictions.

Liabilities: Are the debts your small business owes. These liabilities include credit card balances, mortgages, monthly bills and bonds.

Operating Expenses: OPEX are day-to-day operating expenses your small business incurs to keep it operational. These include inventory costs, payroll, insurance, rent, R&D and equipment.

Revenue: Is the amount of money that represents the goods and services your business sold before subtracting any expenses.

Retained Earnings: RE is the amount of net income available to your small business after paying out dividends to your shareholders. Your small business can incur positive net earnings (profits) or negative net earnings (loss).

Working Capital: The money your small business has available to spend or invest on items for the business.

Hopefully this quick list saves your time and helps you feel confident discussing your business’ finances. Still crunched for time? Get in touch with us today to save time and increase visibility while managing your cash flow and payments.

COVID & CORE banking hours in Canada

It’s been an extremely challenging time for small businesses. Cash flow issues and reliance on government funding have become the new norm. We’ve received feedback from our customers that have struggled with the digital options available from the banks, such as remote deposit capture and ATMs, as these options only accept checks up to a certain amount. When digital payments aren’t an option, before making a trip to the bank–make sure it’s open. To help, we’ve compiled a list of both COVID and CORE banking hours in Canada for the Big Five banks:

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

The Royal Bank of Canada is the largest of the Big Five with respect to revenue ($46.0 billion in 2019) and number of employees (85,000 in 2019). Founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as a commercial bank financing the fish and timber industry. RBC now has over 10 million clients and 1,209 branches worldwide.

 

You can find your closest branch by visiting RBC’s branch locator where you will find up to date information regarding banking hours.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)

Toronto-Dominion Bank is the second largest of the Big Five with respect to revenue ($41.1 billion in 2019) and has 89,000 employees. TD Bank is the result of a merger of the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank in 1955. TD now serves over 11 million customers at it’s 1,091 retail locations in Canada.

 

You can locate your nearest branch and its opening hours using TD’s branch locator.

Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

The Bank of Nova Scotia also known as Scotiabank is the third largest bank in Canada with respect to revenue ($28.8 billion in 2019) and 99,000 employees around the world. Founded in 1832 also in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to improve the transAtlantic trade industry. Today Scotiabank serves 10 million customers at it’s 900 Canadian locations.

 

You can locate your nearest branch and its opening hours using Scotiabank’s branch locator.

Bank of Montreal (BMO)

The Bank of Montreal is the fourth largest Canadian bank with respect to revenue ($22.8 billion in 2019) and over 45,000 employees around the world. Founded in 1817, BMO is the oldest bank in Canada. BMO now serves over 7 million customers and has over 939 Canadian branches.

 

You can locate your nearest branch and its opening hours using BMO’s branch locator.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is the fifth largest bank in Canada with respect to  revenue ($18.6 billion in 2019) and employees (over 40,000 in 2019). CIBC was formed as a result of the merger in 1961 of the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the imperial Bank of Canada. CIBC now serves over 10 million customers worldwide at their 1,100 branches across Canada.

 

You can find your closest branch by visiting CIBC’s branch locator where you will find up to date information regarding banking hours.

How to create a great customer experience

Customer experience refers to interactions between a customer and a company throughout their business relationship. The secret to keeping customers satisfied is to deliver great experiences at every customer touchpoint. It’s critical to remember that customer experience does not begin and end with a sale, but includes any interaction they have with your business before, or after a sale.

When customers are happy with your brand, they’re more likely to stay with you. This is why businesses that put customers first and build a customer-centric culture outperform their competitors.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the ways you can deliver great customer experiences every step of the way.

Make a good first impression

The customer’s first impression with your business isn’t typically formed when they interact with a company employee face-to-face or over the phone. In fact, it’s formed when they visit your website for the first time or view your content on social media.

Everything in your branding elements – from your logo and color schemes, to your messaging and illustrations – tells the customer what to expect from you and shapes their impression of you.

One way to make a great first impression on your customers is by strengthening your brand touchpoints, including your customer service centers, company website, email newsletters, as well as social media pages. Delivering good customer experience ensures customer satisfaction and also helps you get positive word-of-mouth marketing going about your small business.

Improve website usability

Another way successful companies create a great customer experience for their customers is by making sure their website is user-friendly and accessible. Delivering a seamless website experience is essential for a good user experience, and it’s all about using good information architecture. After all, you want your customers to be able to effortlessly browse through your site and quickly find the information they’re looking for.

We recommend that you test your site’s usability with a small team to get a better idea of the end user’s perspective. Tinker with your site to understand its ins and outs and identify the points where customers struggle.

For example, if you’re running a membership site, your goal might be to enable visitors to land on any page of your website and find the information they’re looking for, intuitively. By making it easy for customers to find information and complete tasks, you’ll be able to deliver a great user experience while boosting conversions.

Identify customer pain points

Being mindful of your target customers’ needs can help you accurately identify their pain points and address them. You can use this information to position your product or service as a potential solution. Solving the challenges customers face helps you deliver great customer experience.

Start by creating a customer journey map and identifying their pain points. This will help you find areas of friction that negatively impact their experience. This will help you figure out how your product or service can solve the customer’s problem.

A good practice is to collect customer feedback and analyze data to figure out the most common issues customers face. This way, you’ll be able to focus on solving their problems and positioning yourself as a customer-first business.

Offer coupons and discounts

Employee satisfaction increases employee productivity which in turn means delivering better service and value to your customers. This ultimately leads to an increase in sales and promotes profitability.

Successful businesses keep their customers happy by building a culture of rewarding and recognizing their employees. This enables them to increase customer satisfaction and boost customer loyalty.

You can improve customer experiences by keeping employees and customers at the forefront of your company. Consider offering staff members special discounts on occasion and rewarding loyal customers by sending them exclusive discounts via email.

Set up self-service options

Offering self-service options is a great way to enable customers to find answers to questions through your website (or via a telephone number) during after-hours. This is especially useful for companies that aren’t open around the clock.

You can offer self-service options to your customers by creating an online helpdesk or knowledge base with FAQs on your company website. Another way you can offer assistance to your customers is by setting up live chat options that they can use to talk to a customer service representative and resolve their issue, or leave a support ticket if an operator isn’t available.

Conclusion

By focusing on improving the customer experience, you can achieve your internal goals of driving up sales and increasing customer retention. We looked at some of the ways you can improve your customer experiences and increase customer loyalty and, hopefully, you’re in a good position now to take the next steps.

Do you agree that creating a great customer experience can help you get ahead of the competition? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

 

 

 

 

Payments from Canada to India are live!

Toronto, ON – Ablii, a self-service online payments platform for businesses, is proud to announce that it’s expanding with remittances to India. Now businesses in Canada can send cross-border payments to India as well as the U.S., in addition to domestic payments.

nanopay Corporation launched Ablii in the summer of 2019 to replace traditional payment methods, such as checks and wires. While banks offer some services for large corporations, there are limited affordable payment options for smaller businesses. Ablii aims to fill this void in the market and offer features that businesses are looking for, such as low-cost payments, automated updates to online accounting software, and management controls.

With the recent expansion, businesses in Canada can now make cross-border payments to both the U.S. and India for only $5.00 per transaction, making it one of the most affordable options on the market. Competitive exchange rates, plus no sign up or monthly fees, lets business owners try the service risk-free.

“In Canada, we continue to see many businesses using checks and wires. Despite many of the bank’s functions moving online, the majority of international payments are done in the branch. We want to give business owners back their time and their freedom from in-person payments, and now we can for payments to both India and the U.S.” said Simon Keogh, Chief Product Officer of nanopay Corporation.

According to a study by Payments Canada, “more than 80% of small businesses want more payment options.” It’s time to give the businesses what they want. Business owners can sign up today at ablii.com, and follow news impacting small-to-medium sized businesses on Ablii’s LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

“The world is changing and globalization is the norm. All businesses, not just large corporations, have to access the global marketplace in order to compete. It’s clear the need for secure, ubiquitous, and low-cost payments are common around the globe. This is why we are so excited to offer business payments to India,” said Laurence Cooke, Founder and CEO of nanopay Corporation. “With Ablii, it’s never been easier for business owners to pay vendors, contractors, or suppliers in India.”

Ablii looks to soon expand into other international markets, as we continue to offer more affordable alternatives for international payments.

Protecting your small business from occupational fraud

March is Fraud Prevention Month, an annual public awareness campaign aimed at helping educate the public, and providing the tools and resources businesses need to defend themselves against fraud.

However, businesses are the target for many kinds of fraud, and small businesses are particularly vulnerable. Which is why we decided to take this opportunity to bring light to some of these issues and discuss what can be done to mitigate these risks.

 

  • Firstly, there are multiple kinds of fraud, but what is occupational fraud and how does it threaten a business?

Occupational fraud is sometimes called workplace fraud or internal fraud, but refers to fraud committed by employees or executives, against the company. There are 3 general categories of occupational fraud.

 

  1. Corruption: This may be the most well known type of occupational fraud. Examples include bribery, kickbacks, and extortion. However, corruption is not the most common form of occupational fraud, nor is it the most costly (on average) to businesses.
  2. Asset misappropriation: By far the most common form of occupational fraud, examples of asset misappropriation include, skimming, fraudulent disbursements, and larceny (false sales/shipping, theft of office equipment, etc.)
  3. Financial statement fraud: This may be the least common source of occupational fraud, but it is certainly the most costly for businesses. Examples include improper disclosures, fictitious revenues and improper asset valuations.

Businesses are often focused on external threats, and combat these by implementing firewalls, alarm systems and encrypted access to systems. However, occupational fraud is more common and causes more financial loss to businesses than frauds committed by third parties, and these internal threats require controls and protective measures as well.

 

  • Businesses of all shapes and sizes are vulnerable to occupational fraud. How are small businesses affected differently?

It’s important to point out that regardless of business size or industry, all businesses have some level of vulnerability to fraud, whether strategically planned, or opportunistic in nature. Having said that, small businesses do seem to be in a higher risk category for a number of reasons.

Small businesses typically have fewer resources to contribute to anti-fraud controls than larger businesses. Not only that, smaller businesses are typically more trusting of their employees and therefore may not feel the need to expend additional resources for these controls.

According to the ACFE 2018 Report to the Nations, small businesses lose almost twice as much per scheme to occupational fraud than large businesses! In addition, fraud caused by a lack of controls is nearly 70% more likely to occur in small businesses than large businesses.

Also, one fact that I found surprising, fraud is nearly twice as likely to be perpetrated by the owner or an executive in a small business (less than 100 employees) than a large business.

 

  • What types of controls can businesses put in place to protect themselves and their consumers from these issues?

There are many controls a business can put in place, and each business needs to think about what works best for them. Having said that, a few examples include:

 

  • A code of conduct: Having a corporate wide code of conduct that explicitly states the ethical behaviour all staff should exhibit has a surprisingly high impact. In a survey of companies done by the ACFE, there was a 56% reduction in median fraud losses when a code of conduct was in place.
  • A fraud risk assessment program: A great tool for businesses to understand their risk universe, the likelihood of a risk event occurring, and the measures or controls that are in place mitigate them. Start with a simple approach that can scale.
  • A digital business payment platform: No, moving to digital payments does not automatically protect from occupational fraud, but many platforms today, like Ablii, have built-in controls to help small businesses specifically fight occupational fraud.
    • Payment approvals require a second set of eyes to review all outgoing payments before they can be completed.
    • Employee permissioning ensures only employees with proper authority can add/edit payees and bank accounts.
    • Transaction logs keep records of all transactions and account activity on an immutable ledger, allowing businesses to easily identify any financial discrepancies.

Protecting your organization from fraud takes a little work, but once procedures and technology are in place, it will begin to feel like a routine part of running the business. Questions or comments? Get in touch with one of our team members!

 

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