Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Payment Processing Tips for Small Businesses

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Payment Processing Tips for Small Businesses

Article excerpt


In a tight economy; small businesses are finding it increasingly necessary to offer their customers a payment card (credit/debit) option. CPAs can use these tips to educate their small business clients about payment processing:

* Advise clients to choose a technically savvy and financially stable payments provider. Due to product complexities and ongoing investment in infrastructure and security, payment systems have moved from being bank owned to technology providers that can vary in size, depth and trust. Consider clients' needs and help them identify providers that process the forms of payments (credit cards, debit cards, ACH payments--which include direct deposits or e-checks--check services and gift/loyalty cards) and methods (retail point-of-sale, Web, phone, mobile, check scanner) that fit those needs.

* Look to maximize sales channel opportunities. Help clients "close the sale" by being accessible in all the places their customers want to buy: over the phone, on the Web, at a trade show, in the field, etc. Forcing customers to call or go into a store to make the sale limits sales opportunities.

* Embrace credit cards. Credit cards can be more expensive to accept than cash or checks, but some customers prefer only to use credit cards. Asking customers not to use a credit card can mean sacrificing repeat sales. Additionally, business-to-business (B2B) shops can pick up new customers by being credit card friendly, and are well positioned as a first alternative when a competitor is out of inventory.

* Integrate payments data with the accounting system. A best practice is integrating payments acceptance into the accounting system. Not only can this eliminate the inaccuracy of manual data entry, but it can also reduce days sales outstanding (DSO) and enhance your clients' audit and compliance positions. …

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