Article | May 13, 2021
In this blog, we will look at some important factors that should be considered when selecting a payment platform for a small business.
Sometimes, small businesses make decisions based solely on price. However, many other factors can have a significant impact on payment solutions for businesses and their customers.
Below are what we consider to be six essentials necessary to make a payment platform optimal for any small business.
Article | August 18, 2021
Treasury management or more generally Supply Chain Finance management is still a neglected topic at many SMEs.
While large international corporations make the investment into expensive treasury management solutions (often part of their ERP solution) and even setup their own In-House Banks, this is considerably more difficult for the mid-corp segment and even more so for the smaller segment of the SMEs. Often SMEs lack the funding, time and expertise to deploy those platforms and often those platforms lack the flexibility required by an SME.
Nonetheless in this globalized competitive market with fast moving cash, even SMEs are in need of an effective treasury management. Every SME has its own specific challenges, due to its specific payment cycles and cash reserves. Nonetheless most SMEs (estimated to about three-quarters) still do their treasury management via (complex) Excel sheets, requiring a lot of manual effort. This gap forms a big opportunity (in Europe SMEs account for more than half of all gross value added) for incumbent banks and Fintechs to offer easy and user-friendly tooling for this. In recent years, more and more Fintech players try indeed to provide an answer to this gap, often via SaaS platforms, which connect easily to the customer’s banks (via Open Banking APIs) and for which the setup cost is limited.
The gains for an SME in optimizing their treasury processes can be very substantial. A good treasury management can reduce costs in multiple ways:
Reduce working capital by reducing the time to collect money from customers, by reducing inventory and/or by paying suppliers only at the payment due dates.
Reduce unpaid invoices by a better follow-up and good debt collection techniques
Reduce penalties (such as administration costs or late-payment interests) due to late payments and indirectly also improve the relationship with suppliers.
Reduce effort (resource workload) for financial management, like the follow-up of payments of incoming and outgoing invoices, automated generation of payment instructions for incoming invoices…
Optimized cash management allowing to keep on your current account only the required cash amount to run your business, thus allowing to invest excess cash, but also to avoid requiring short-term debt when too much cash is invested (and blocked in medium- to long-term assets)
Reduce foreign currency costs and exposure risks by keeping the right reserves of foreign currencies, applying hedging (like swaps or options) techniques, correctly taking forex rate fluctuations into account in future cash flow predictions…
Reduce transaction commissions for bank transactions, by selecting the right banking products, but also by using the right banking partner(s) (especially for international foreign currency payments big price differences exist between different banking parties)
Reduce cost of fraud by improving control, transparency and accountability via a pro-active, automated monitoring of all cash flows, allowing to detect anomalies as soon as possible
This can be achieved in multiple ways:
Setup and optimize the processes and tooling with the help of specialized services companies (like e.g. the offering of BelPay)
Setup or acquire software solutions (often in the form of SaaS offerings, i.e. Treasury in a Box) for cash & liquidity management, like invoice generation and follow-up (including invoice and payment matching), debt collection, incoming invoice processing (including payment), cash pooling, cash forecasting/capital planning… These software tools allow a more pro-active treasury management and reduce manual effort by automating certain steps in these processes. Examples of such platforms are HighRadius, Gtreasury, CashForce, Kyriba, Nomentia, Monite, Pair Finance, AiVidens… But there are also more specialized tools, offering only a specific service, like debt collection (e.g. Virteo, recovr, Pair Finance, TrueAccord, CollectAI, CollectionHub, inDebted, Attunely…), digitalization (through OCR) of paper invoices (e.g. Tangentia, Contract.fit, Metamaze, Klippa, SimpleOCR…), expense management (e.g. Payhawk, Rydoo, Expensify, Spendesk, Pleo, Circula…), account aggregation and payment initiation (e.g. Isabel 6/Ponto)…
Capture revenue by allowing customers to pay for products or services in a way that is most efficient for them and for the SME, allowing to increase sales, but also to ensure the best possible payment ratio. This includes solutions like digital onboarding and management of Direct Debits (e.g. via Twikey or DigiTeal), including a Pay button (e.g. via Twikey or POM) in invoices which allows to pay the invoice with a pre-filled credit transfer, card payment or other payment option, integration with PSPs (like Adyen, Mollie, MultiSafePay, Ingenico, Stripe…) for online payments, digital invoicing allowing to combine invoicing and payment (e.g. PEPPOL platform or offering invoices with immediate payment option via UnifiedPost, ZoomIt or Doccle), "Buy Now, Pay Later" solutions (like Klarna or AfterPay) or new solutions like PSD2 Payment Initiation or the upcoming new scheme of SEPA Request to Pay (SRTP).
Improve integration between accountancy software (and/or accountant) and the cash management solutions and associated bank accounts. Solutions like Silverfin, TOCO, Yuki, OkiOki, Billit, Furoo, Clearfacts, Billtobox, sevDesk, Candis… can provide (a part of) a solution to this.
Usage of solutions for cash management (e.g. international cashpooling, sweep accounts…) and more general treasury management services offered by banks to their customers. These can be incumbent banks or new Fintechs, which specialize in the niche of serving SME customers. Examples are Tide, Qonto, Azlo, Arival, Fyrst…
Reducing costs of international payments and forex transactions via new Fintech offers, like XE.com, TransferWise, CurrencyTransfer.com, WorldFirst, iBanFirst, Ebury…, but also via specialized software tools, like Kantox, FiREapps, Money Mover, Acumatica…
Get cheaper financing via specialized credit institutions and banks (e.g. OakNorth, CapitalBox…), by issuing commercial paper (short-term paper) or long-term debt, via crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending (e.g. Funding Circle, Auxmoney, LendingCrowd, Iwoca, Look&Fin, Crowdcube…), via Credit Lombard loans or inventory-based loans (e.g. Finventory) or via invoice factoring (e.g. Edebex, Previse, Optimum Finance, GapCap, BlueVine, BillFront, Crowdz…). There are also more and more marketplaces and comparators assisting SMEs to find the best financing option, e.g. Funding Options, BusinessComparison, Crowdz…
Improve risk management (like currency risk, interest-rate risk, market risk, credit risk, counterparty risk…) via trade finance, like bank guarantees (cfr. Ebury), via better authorization and fraud detection mechanisms (detecting patterns and anomalies) or by better assessing counterparty risk (e.g. DueDil, InsideView, PitchBook…)
Apply tax optimizations, by optimizing for different tax regimes worldwide and also optimizing for tax deductions (like e.g. generate revenue on entities which have collected losses in the past)
Clearly the Fintech market for SMEs is in full evolution, but still quite immature. As a result dozens of offers exist, making it very difficult for SMEs (which was one of the reasons in the first place they work with Excel) to select the best and right offering(s) for their company. As such there is a big market for consultancy and other services firms, specialized in helping SMEs to improve their treasury management processes.
Article | March 18, 2020
When it comes to digital marketing for businesses, as the saying goes: content is king. Content marketing, that is. That's why a whopping 70% of marketers are currently investing in content strategies, and 72% cite having a good content strategy as a major key to their success. For small businesses, content marketing is arguably even more vital. That's because smaller companies often don't have the marketing resources that larger firms do, and content marketing delivers some of the highest overall ROI for every marketing dollar spent. It's also a long-term strategy that can continue to pay dividends for a long time after it's put into effect.
Article | July 29, 2021
The first and crucial part of building your small business is setting up finance for your business. Overhead costs for small businesses are also included in this broad category of business finance. An old proverb, “You need to spend money to make money,” gels perfectly with the business notion.
Business owners spend a lot of money creating a product or service, which is considered “direct costs.” Some expenses are not directly related to the creation of a product or service but aid in the operation of your business; these are referred to as "overhead costs" or "indirect costs." However, from an accounting standpoint, overhead costs are not considered expenses at all.
Small business owners have a lot of costs to consider especially overhead costs. Here are a few examples of overhead costs: a business license, accounts payable, invoices, office supplies, accounting, and legal fees, bank fees, and many more to pen down.
Business owners are behooved to be careful and make sure that their expenses should not outweigh their income. Business overhead is one area that most businesses face, and it is worth investigating further and managing it accordingly.
Overhead expenses consume most of the remaining space on your profit and loss statement. However, cutting your overhead costs will improve your business finances.
Let us further discuss few aspects of overhead costs and how to reduce overhead costs for small businesses.
What Are Overhead Costs?
Overhead costs are the indirect but requisite expenses for running a business. These costs do not directly generate revenue for the company, but they do not change as your business grows. Overhead costs must be borne even if no products or services are produced or sold for a period and cannot be
Here are few examples of overhead costs for small businesses:
Electricity bill, gas, water, internet, etc.
Rent for office spaces, warehouses, etc.
Business licenses and permits
Marketing and advertising materials.
Salaries and wages
Insurance for vehicles, employees, and properties.
The key is to keep track of your overhead costs and not let them interfere with your efforts to grow your business and turn a profit.
Once your concept of direct and indirect costs is cleared, the calculation of overhead costs becomes relatively easy.
Types of Overhead Costs
The overhead costs are divided into three main categories that can directly affect your small business fixed costs, variable costs, and semi-variable costs. Fixed costs are easily trackable. Below are few types of overhead costs for small businesses.
Fixed Overhead Costs
The majority of your business expenses fall under fixed overhead costs and do not change regardless of the profit earned by the company or change in the level of output; it remains the same each month. Fixed costs are easily tracked and managed as well.
Fixed costs are pretty predictable and are required to keep a business running smoothly.
Few examples of fixed overhead costs
Renting a manufacturing facility or a corporate office.
Fixed asset depreciation expenses.
Software subscription fees.
Fixed overhead costs are stable and do not deviate from the amounts budgeted for them. However, there are a few exceptions, such as if sales exceed what the company budgeted for, in which case fixed overhead costs may rise as new managers and administrative staff are hired. More employees are added to the company.
Similarly, if you decide to purchase a few additional pieces of machinery to increase production, this will result in a permanent change in fixed overhead costs.
Variable Overhead Costs
Variable overhead costs are those that change depending on the business activity, such as sales volume. Variable costs rise as your sales rise and fall as your sales fall. Variable overhead costs, as opposed to fixed overhead costs, vary from month to month.
Here are some examples of variable overhead costs:
Maintenance of equipment.
Unless the number of workers increases or decreases with production volumes, the labor involved in the production, or direct labor, may not be a variable cost.
Semi-Variable Overhead Costs
Semi-variable overhead costs have qualities of both fixed costs and variable costs. A business may incur such costs at any time, though the exact cost will vary depending on the level of business activity.
Utilities are classified as a semi-variable expense. These costs are only fixed up to a certain level of output. For example, the office’s electricity bill is a monthly cost but varies as per the season.
Semi-variable overhead costs include:
Utilities (power and water costs).
Company vehicle expenses (i.e., gas).
Ways to Reduce Your Overhead Costs
Going paperless is a simple way to save money. Although it may not appear to be a high cost, paper and ink do add up. Instead, adopt technology such as a cloud-based system to store all of your vital corporate data online. This will save you time and money while also allowing you to keep track of details for a more extended period. In addition, going paperless is cost-effective too.
However, going digital also reduces clutter and makes it easier for business owners to stay organized. In the event of a computer or program failure, make sure you have a backup of all your documents.
Going paperless is an intelligent decision to reduce overhead costs for small businesses because of few advantages such as being environmentally friendly, easy access, and digital file system easy to organize.
Create a Systematic Purchasing Process
It's a good idea to appoint one person in the company to handle, examine, and authorize purchases so that he can see all the expenses that management plans to incur before they're paid. In addition, negotiating contracts and placing office supply orders should be the responsibility of this person.
By putting one person in charge of purchasing, that individual can devote all of their time to finding the most incredible deals. The individual in charge of purchasing should be a skilled negotiator who is not hesitant to ask for a discount. Request that your purchasing manager go shopping for better prices on the things you buy frequently. Consider rewarding your purchasing agent with a bonus if they achieve specific cost-cutting goals without sacrificing quality.
Purchasing equipment such as computers, photocopiers, and other necessities every year is a significant expenditure. As a result, leasing equipment is frequently the best option for businesses looking to reduce monthly costs. Renting or leasing equipment makes it easier to upgrade to newer versions of computers and other equipment. Additionally, while leasing, costs such as equipment repairs and maintenance will be reduced if not eliminated.
Tax benefits are frequently available for equipment leases. In addition, depending on the lease, you may be able to claim your payments as a business expense by utilizing specific legal provisions.
Leasing equipment is one of the most productive ways to reduce your overhead costs for small businesses.
Market to Your Existing Customers
Marketing to your existing customers can be a good strategy to reduce costs. This step reduces your marketing costs and shows that you care about rewarding loyalty, which gives your brand a boost.
Customers who are happy with your products or services are more inclined to tell their friends and family about them, and word of mouth is still the most effective marketing method.
Organic promotion from peers is more likely to be trusted by potential customers than paid advertising.
Choose a Business Credit Card That Suits You
Choose the best business credit card that suits you for your business expenses. Your company can benefit from credit cards in several ways. For example, Cash-back benefits, travel miles, or a point system are all available on cards targeted for corporate use.
When buying office supplies and paying for travel expenses with a credit card, these incentives can pile up quickly. First, examine the annual fees and interest rates associated with your credit card. Then, it could be time to apply for no-fee credit cards with lower interest rates.
Choose a credit card that is ideal for your company, particularly in credit limits, interest rates, and fees. This could be one of the methods to your cost-cutting.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are typical overhead costs?
Overheads are business costs associated with the day-to-day operation of the business. Accounting fees, insurance, advertising, legal fees, interest, labor burden, rent, supplies, repairs, taxes, travel expenses, phone bills, and utilities are examples of overhead expenses.
How do you calculate overhead costs for a small business?
Divide the total overhead costs of the business in a month by the monthly sales to calculate the overhead rate. To calculate your overhead rate, multiply this figure by 100. A lower overhead rate indicates greater efficiency and profits.
Are overheads fixed costs?
Typically, overhead does not fluctuate with increases in product production, which is why it is a fixed cost. Mortgage or rent for buildings such as the corporate office are examples of fixed costs.
"name": "How to write resolutions for small businesses?",
"text": "Examine all aspects of your small business from the previous year to create a solid list of resolutions for the coming year. Consider your successes and failures and work to alleviate them."
"name": "What is a resolution for a business?",
"text": "In business, a resolution is a proposal made during a meeting of the company's shareholders or directors. It is discussed, and its approval represents an official confirmation of any action that the company will take. Resolutions are classified into four types: elective, extraordinary, unique, and ordinary."
"name": "Why should every business have a resolution?",
"text": "Resolutions help to focus your efforts and energy on new goals and reaching new heights. In addition, resolutions enable business owners to understand where they can increase efficiency and grow over the coming year."