Finance is a central tenet of business and a pillar upon which any successful company stands. After all, the point of capitalism is to create organizations which not only do something useful but those which ultimately monetize their plans and bring value to shareholders.
Many economic ideas exist to help businesses launch, grow, measure, and manage themselves.
The introduction of new technologies for the finance sector has, therefore, had an appropriately uplifting effect on business. This trend has accelerated with increasing intensity, and businesses today are looking at a drastically different environment than they were just a decade ago.
From lending to payrolls, fintech — the intersection of finance and technology—has revolutionized the traditional landscape of payments and changed the lives of business owners in various ways. This innovation explosion has led to massive proclamations and ambitious new projects, but the real impact is felt mostly on a smaller scale.
New digital financial platforms lighten the load for small- and medium-sized businesses primarily, helping them focus on honing their product or service rather than juggling financial loose ends or wasting precious resources on runaway financial management.
Agile lending makes SMBs bloom.
Banking is by far the most adjacent of the many financial disciplines to business as banks represent the traditional template by which a new company comes to be (if it needs to source working capital). However, banks are being challenged by a new breed of leaner, digitally enabled fintech firms which can offer smaller businesses a faster and more cost-effective path to funding.
Helped by new regulations like the MiFID II and GDPR, banks are mandated to “open the books” on customers’ financial data to create safer and faster flows of information.
The new regulations have also created opportunities for upstart digital lenders, practiced in advanced data science and AI techniques, to better mobilize customer information and therefore pass them greater cost savings. Online-only lenders are part of a trend called LaaS—or Lending as a Service—which uses cutting-edge technology to identify patterns in customer financial behavior automatically and to match them with a loan that has terms fitting their individual needs.
Traditional lenders typically look at over 20 data points when determining how creditworthy an applicant is and letting an algorithm make these decisions result in a process to mere seconds rather than days or even weeks. Based on qualifiers that customers input and verify via thorough yet quick online applications, LaaS leaders have enabled access to money for SMBs and torn down the more significant obstacles that the financial crisis erected in the way of these loans.
Operations optimized with fintech
Once a business is up and running, fintech helps to keep the momentum moving forward as well. The average small company must manage countless financial ideas as it grows: payroll, payments and invoicing, pensions and wealth management, supply chain logistics and much more.
Thankfully, the digitization of services has meant that any small company can build a stack of fintech platforms that can scale with it as it grows. Managing payrolls, for instance, is a high-overhead process that becomes much more complicated as a business adds employees.
Several online companies have deployed a range of technologies to their platforms which assist businesses to exercise better control over their payrolls. This idea gets expensive and unruly as a business expands, and negligence in organizing salaries can mean compliance violations (which vary by country), budgeting mistakes, taxation problems and other costly issues.
These outside payment companies have available data points and can achieve your goals from your automated payroll, real-time. Most will even help you with payroll to your global workforce. Armed with these insights from a financial company, employers can reduce payroll inputs significantly and optimize their hiring and retention practices in all their various geographies as well.
Opening new payments portals
Fintech’s role has also been to make payments for goods and services faster, easier, more convenient, and more cost-efficient for customers who choose to pay with a wider array of methods that now include cryptocurrency, loyalty points, and other digital cash alternatives.
Whether online or in person, a business shouldn’t be turning away customers based on how they want to relinquish their money, so companies like Square and Stripe have created innovative, ultra-portable Point-of-Sale systems that take minutes to set up. They can instantly read and process touchless payments like Apple Pay, but also credit cards, and even some mainstream cryptocurrency wallets.
Consumer-focused fintech solutions usually make payments a priority, because this is the area where customers want the greatest flexibility. Businesses are able to answer this demand if they use various payment solutions like Venmo, Paypal, and many others which acts as a middleman that immediately pays retailers.
Fintech platforms are delivering more convenient and cheaper solutions across a large range of payment channels and radically redefining how money moves from customers to businesses.
A core concept to any new fintech product is transparency, and though it’s difficult to tell if transparency is the result of fintech’s onset or the catalyst which began it all, there is no arguing that it’s healthy for consumers. Businesses that deploy a well-balanced assortment of fintech solutions can reach wider audiences, lower their costs, and discover key insights using the data available in this more transparent environment—a rising tide that lifts all boats in industries both near to and far from finance.