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How Online Banking Can Save Your Business Time and Money

Online banking is an important tool for any business. While many businesses have used online banking to manage their money for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many small to mid-sized businesses to adopt more online banking tools than ever before.

Along the way, many of these businesses discovered that online banking isn’t just helpful in avoiding the virus. It also comes with many time and money-saving benefits. Kristen Hartman, SVP-Head of Treasury Management Product Management at First Midwest Bank, shared expert insights into how business owners can best take advantage of online banking to boost their bottom lines. Keep reading to learn more.

Manage your money anywhere

Many online banking tasks use to require a trip to the bank. “Having information at your fingertips instantaneously is one of the best reasons to sign up for online banking", said Hartman. Getting your balances online or from your mobile banking app and reviewing recent transactions has multiple benefits.

“Sometimes your balance isn't what you expected,” she said. With online banking, you can instantly check your actual account balance. Not only does that help you avoid mistiming payments and accidentally overdrawing your account, but it can also help you spot fraud or errors right away rather than weeks later when your paper statement arrives in the mail.

Deposit checks without a trip to the bank

When COVID began, many businesses turned to mobile check deposit as a safe and convenient alternative. While some may enjoy an occasional trip into the bank lobby, you can save time and money by depositing checks from the office, sitting in the front seat of your car, or from a remote worksite.

In the age of COVID-19, there's an added health and safety benefit too. If you’re still taking every check to the bank, it may be the perfect time to start with mobile banking. Larger businesses that process a higher volume of checks may want to upgrade to a desktop check scanner connected to the bank through the internet.

Send low-cost payments

You can make nearly any payment using business online banking, according to Hartman. “For small business and business banking clients, one of the biggest benefits is the ability to send payroll electronically,” she explained. ACH payments are low cost to send, and online banking bill payments are typically sent for free.

With online bill pay, you can send payments electronically to vendors, customers, or anyone else with just a few clicks and no cost. You can also send direct bank-to-bank ACH transfers for pennies to any eligible account. This is a meager cost compared to the costs pf $5 - $10 for printing, mailing, reconciliation, and manually processing a paper check. “The cost to send an ACH is typically pennies to the dollar,” said Hartman. 

Connect to accounting software

Online banking is very secure and allows you to grant access to employees and accountants. You can also connect your accounting software to automatically update with new transactions as they post to your account. Downloading transactions into your bookkeeping or accounting software leads to fast updates to your financial statements and simple, efficient reconciliations.

Hartman often poses this question to businesses: “If you’re leaner in staff, do you want the burden of retyping or reentering data or just looking for outliers?” Live bank connections take out the manual, error-prone work of data entry. “Reconciliation in an electronic environment allows you to focus on forecasting and analysis, rather than spending time on manual entry,” she explained.

View granular insights over cash flow

After logging into mobile banking, a few taps on your phone screen will bring up the latest transactions. When logging in with your laptop or desktop computer, you can view insights into pending and cleared deposits and payments. Hence, you can make the most timely business decisions, avoid costs, capture early payment discounts, or make other needed cash flow adjustments.

With online banking, “you can get your statements sooner,” said Hartman. “It’s all about speed and access.” In the case of fraud or a returned customer payment, for example, “if I'm on top of it and see it happen today, there's a greater likelihood of me recuperating those funds.” 

Online and mobile banking are essential tools for modern businesses

Online banking has been around for decades, and banks like First Midwest constantly work behind the scenes to protect your funds and accounts from online bad actors. Adding tools like Trusteer Rapport Rapport further enhances your banking security.

Online and mobile banking play important roles for businesses whether they have just one employee all the way up to large corporations with thousands. By taking full advantage of what online banking offers, you can save time and money for your business.

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