Jump on every technology that promises to improve accounting processes and you won’t have anything left in the budget to keep track of. But for some tech features finance execs should definitely jump on, few have.
So what’s really worth your time and money? We’ve assembled a list of three critical technologies for finance departments of all sizes:
- Remote deposit capture
- Positive pay, and
Here’s how they can most benefit your organization, and why now’s the perfect time to take advantage of them.
Technology #1: Remote deposit capture
Any company in need of a cash flow boost will want to seriously consider signing up for remote deposit capture.
It’s probably the best thing to come out of Check 21: the ability to scan checks at your company and have them automatically deposited into your company’s bank account.
Not only will the funds be available faster, but you can usually deposit checks well beyond the usual cutoff time and still have the money the next morning.
Why now’s a good time to sign on: The odds have gotten a lot better your bank is offering this service. Nearly two-thirds of financial institutions have remote deposit capture on their menus in this year, almost double the number that did in 2007.
In the past, many companies didn’t think about adding this feature because their bank couldn’t oblige.
Of course, there are several considerations. The biggest? What to do with the scanned checks. You need to hang onto them and at the same time make sure they’re presented only once. Otherwise you could end up on the hook with the bank.
But it’s a challenge worth tackling.
Technology #2: Image positive pay
Your bank has some other images you’ll want to see on the other side of the cash flow equation – as checks presented for payment on your account.
Positive pay is another vastly underused technology with a potentially high payoff.
Shocking stat: 67% of companies still aren’t using any form of positive pay to protect their organizations from fraud. A scant 3% of your peers use the most recent incarnation: image positive pay.
Yes, any positive pay is a key risk management move. But image positive pay is actually a better option for smaller companies that don’t issue thousands of checks per run. Because you receive the front and back images of the checks waiting to be paid, reviewing them can end up being a major time drain on longer runs.
Why now’s a good time to sign on: The price is right — or at least better than it used to be. Many banks have lowered their costs for this service. Some will even waive fees for positive pay if you’re signed up for enough other offerings.
Technology #3: Imaging
With all the benefits imaging has to offer, a scanner should probably be a permanent fixture in every finance department.
It doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. Most experts say scanning old invoices, purchase orders, etc., just isn’t worth it. Simply start with new documents going forward. You might even just scan beginning with your largest volume or most paper-intensive suppliers and customers.
Why now’s a good time to sign on: The technology’s been around for a while now, so it’s much finer-tuned. The quality of your images will be a lot clearer, and the machines are easier to use. Not only that, but if your company wants to store all those images and track them on an online site via your application service provider (ASP), you can do it without having to get set up in-house.