Introducing the Business Payments Coalition: The Former Remittance Coalition Broadens its Mission

Business Payments CoalitionIn recent years, payment industry stakeholders in the U.S. have been collaborating to improve payments efficiency. A quest is underway to achieve the worthy goals of originating and receiving more payments electronically to reduce the average end-to-end costs of transactions and to enable innovative payment services for consumers and businesses. In the U.S., opportunities to improve payment system efficiency are especially significant in business-to-business (B2B) transactions, which include the invoice, payment and remittance detail.

With that in mind, give a hearty salute and wish a happy anniversary to the Business Payments Coalition (BPC), formerly the Remittance Coalition, which celebrates five years this month. The organization’s new name recognizes that its goal has broadened beyond simply facilitating the exchange of remittance information among B2B trading partners. It still seeks to foster adoption of electronic payments and remittances in the business-to-business environment, but its wider-ranging mission today is to improve efficiency of B2B payments across the end-to-end process.

The Coalition consists of organizations and individuals working together to promote greater use of electronic B2B payments and remittance data exchanges, as well as other ways to increase B2B transactions efficiency. Over the last five years, the Coalition has developed a plethora of tools and standards that address the various challenges that businesses face when using electronic alternatives to paper-based payment options. As the payments environment continues to expand and new electronic payment options grow, the Business Payments Coalition has continually expanded its efforts beyond remittance to lend a fresh perspective to overall payments efficiency.  (more…)

Getting the Most From Your Accountant Means More Than Just Doing Your Taxes

accountantBy Karen Peacock
SVP and Small Business Segment Leader at Intuit

Great accountants don’t just take care of tax-prep and compliance issues. Numbers really do tell a story and today’s entrepreneurs are turning to qualified small business accountants to help drive success and business.

With the right accountant as a thought partner, you can get insights that deliver benefits to your business by analyzing company data and providing strategic advice in support of a wide range of business decisions. How? The major technology engines of the era — cloud computing, social, mobile and big data — are fueling a wave of consulting-based and advisory accounting services.

Sound too fancy for your small business? It isn’t. As the world becomes more connected, more data becomes available and accountants can access more through the cloud — the power of what that can do for you as a business owner will only continue to grow.

Tech-savvy Gen Y and Gen X business owners increasingly expect to interact with their accounting professionals the same way they run their businesses — from the smartphone in their pockets. And they expect fast responses to their requests. The good news is that accountants no longer have to spend most of their time doing manual data entry. As a result, they can instead focus on business strategy, value-add consulting and services.

Following are just some of the ways accountants can help you understand what drives profit for your business, and help put you at the wheel to make essential changes.  (more…)

32 iPhone Apps to Run Your Small Business

By Peter Somerville
Director of Investor Relations at StreetShares.com

The pace of small business has never been more relentless. The good news is that you have a whole toolbox in your pocket: your iPhone. Here are 32 apps I use every week in my work at StreetShares.

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Mail and Calendar

Gmail – If you’re a power Gmail user, this is the way to go.
Outlook – Surprisingly useful, this app may be the best thing to come out of Redmond in 20 years.
Google Calendar – Use the “schedule” view to see your day at a glance.
Week Cal – Full of features, sometimes at the expense of an elegant layout.

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Apps Quickly Becoming an Integral Part of Small Business DNA

By Vinay Pai

man_holding_tablet_computer-2When operating a business, it’s easy to get absorbed into daily routines, and forget to take a step back and ask, “Is there a better way?” One of the biggest takeaways I can share from my startup experience is to encourage entrepreneurs to explore and discover new technologies that can improve how you operate your business.

With technology changing by the minute and its options seeming endless, business solutions may appear out of reach, too expensive or completely overwhelming to think about. There are, however, free or low-cost alternatives to help your business run efficiently. A recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine discusses how apps and the Cloud provide entrepreneurs a better way to run their small business. Entrepreneurs running their business on the cloud not only benefit from the mobility factor, but also benefit from the many options to integrate new tools that help improve business productivity, operations, and even access to credit.

Let’s take for example Theresa Lee, the founder of Future Glory. Theresa handcrafts socially conscious goods, and she relies on QuickBooks integrations with Shopify and PayPal so she can focus on design, and not numbers. She uses the Shopify for QuickBooks app, which automatically syncs all of her Shopify e-commerce data, sales transactions, and PayPal payments to QuickBooks, giving her back time to focus on creating amazing accessories. Other customers who don’t have an online store use the Sync with PayPal app to seamlessly import sales (including line items, fees and taxes), as well as customer information into QuickBooks. By using apps, Theresa manages all the day-to-day bookkeeping herself, spending less than 20 minutes a day on tasks such as invoicing and tracking vendor payments.  (more…)

Go Mobile this Month with Google

By Nancy Jeng

This year, more than half of all searches will take place on mobile devices. Yet many small businesses are not optimized to serve a mobile-first audience. So how do you know if your small business site is mobile-friendly?

This month, Google releases a new tool called Test My Site to help small business owners and website managers evaluate their sites for mobile-friendliness. Just input your URL and get your mobile friendliness score. Here, we break down what mobile friendliness means, and why it matters for your business.

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Mobile Design. People are five times more likely to leave a site if it isn’t mobile friendly. Your site mobile design score will tell you whether your content is sized properly, legible or even viewable on mobile devices.  (more…)