Seven tips for streamlining business payments (and reducing clerical errors)

Making payments is an essential part of every business. However, many companies are still relying on outdated and inefficient processes to take care of this aspect of their finances.

As a result, they’re making errors and wasting time on clerical procedures that could be streamlined using simple software and employee training techniques.

Payment errors can have a measurable impact on cash flow and workflow, but the good news is that they’re easy to address and prevent. To help you do so, here are seven tips you can use to simplify, automate, and increase the accuracy of your business payment systems and procedures.

1) Use an automated clearing platform

Most companies in the UK use the Bankers’ Automated Clearing System (BACS) to process direct payments from one bank account to another.

However, the traditional method of facilitating BACS payments has become slow and archaicin comparison to using convenient platforms like AccessPay.

Instead of having to process BACS documentation the old-fashioned way, using online portals for example, you can use a paperless online solution like AccessPay’s that takes care of the hard work while also greatly reducing the likelihood of errors.

2) Schedule direct deposits

In addition to streamlining BACS payments, you should also be scheduling direct deposits to pay employees and suppliers that you work with on an ongoing basis. You can also use this banking feature to collect monthly payments from clients and customers on an automated basis.

Structuring your incoming and outgoing payments with a direct deposit schedule will eliminate the hassle of having to manually collect and send funds repetitively. Having deposits and transfers set up in advance will also decrease the prevalence of billing and payment oversights.

3) Double check everything before submission

Even if you’re using a software or service that’s supposed to take care of the details for you, it’s still a good idea to review every major transaction individually before you initiate a transfer process.

This extra step alone can help you achieve a 100% accuracy rate in your financial management, and yet many companies fail to take this simple precaution.

4) Conduct weekly audits

Even if you’re double-checking everything, when business volume becomes overwhelming, it’s still possible to make mistakes. By revisiting your finances on a weekly basis you’ll have the opportunity to uncover errors that you may have overlooked during your initial review.

5) Outsource to an accounting professional

Handling all payment duties in-house could be hurting your accuracy and taking up your time unnecessarily. Although paying a third-party will require an investment of funds, it can pay off in the long-term by preventing costly errors.

It also lets you focus on other areas of the business that are more productive than tedious accounting duties, which weigh you down mentally and consume a precious portion of your schedule.

6) Create practical budgets

By budgeting accurately, you can avoid surprise expenses and cash flow restrictions. A limited or ill-devised budget can hurl financial challenges at your company unexpectedly, leading to a stressed working mindset that leaves you more prone to committing errors.

Conversely, a generous and comprehensive budget that incorporate dynamic planning will keep you equipped and prepared, thereby making mistakes a less common occurrence.

7) Invest in employee training

As a final measure, it’s best to make sure your employees are well-trainedin using your accounting, payroll, and payment processing software interfaces. After all, there’s no sense in overhauling your entire process if your employees aren’t kept in the loop.

Using customer support and video tutorials can help you save money on employee training costs by taking a self-taught approach. However, enrolling in a comprehensive paid course or paying for premium tutoring can be useful if your employees have a lack of software experience.

Accuracy can be affordable

While a few of the tips above may require an upfront investment (purchasing software or paying an accountant, for example), these expenses will often pay for themselves via the results they facilitate.

Additionally, even bootstrapped startups can start with some of the cost-free suggestions on this list to start making improvements in accounting accuracy immediately. Thus, optimising payment processing and accounting is a step every business should take at some point.