Automated Cash Flow Operations, On-Demand Capital Seen as SMB Saviors –

Cash flow management – or more precisely, the lack of it – has long been one of the most lethal problems for Main Street SMBs. But that struggle to keep money flowing through the doors in a timely fashion has only gotten worse with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether it’s a coffee shop, boutique, salon or bakery, all manner of businesses have been forced to cut corners to survive – even if that means not paying the rent, holding off on suppliers’ invoices or making do with a reduced staff.
It’s a reality that QuickBooks Money SVP Rania Succar is acutely aware of, and it’s why her company has been laser-focused for the last 18 months on ensuring that millions of its Main Street SMB clients have had the necessary cash on hand to balance the books.
“The pandemic has affected different businesses differently. But universally, we are seeing that anywhere from 60-75% of small businesses are struggling with cash flow,” she said in an interview with PYMNTS. “It’s the primary reason that people shut down their businesses, [but] it’s also the main reason  some businesses don’t accept more clients and more projects, because they don’t have enough cash.”
Read more: 68% of Main Street SMBs Saw Sales Grow After Digital Investments
For QuickBooks, solving such a pressing challenge for its clients is one of its primary goals – and it’s why the company is pushing ahead with several new initiatives aimed at improving financial stability for SMBs.
For just about any kind of business, Succar said integration is a key element in solving the cash flow challenge. “Banking, capital, interchanging payments, money in and money out – all of these things should be part of one integrated system, because that’s how you solve cash flow,” she explained.
To that end, QuickBooks has spent a lot of time building a bank account offering customized for small businesses that works seamlessly with its payments solutions, payroll tools and bill pay services. “Within that, we’re automating savings for small businesses to help with financial stability,” Succar said. “So when we see them collecting sales tax on our platform, we’re working to automatically move those [funds] into a sales tax envelope, so it’s automatically there for them when they need it.”
With everything integrated into a single system, it becomes that much easier to provide capital to businesses when they need it, also enabling QuickBooks to expand its lending capabilities.
“We believe every small business, as soon as they’re a customer on QuickBooks, should have access to on-demand capital with a single click,” Succar said. “We’ve been increasingly making offers available to more of our small businesses, making it easier for them to get capital instantly.”
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One of the problems related to cash flow management that often trips up SMBs is a lack of clarity with their finances, which can lead to some major mistakes. For example, when a salon owner thinks they have enough money to pay a bill that’s coming up, only to realize they don’t have enough to cover it, or if someone delays an invoice, that can lead to all kinds of downstream effects, such as not being able to hire a desperately needed worker.
Once again, the integration is allowing QuickBooks to come up with a solution. “With all the money transactions in one place, we have developed what we believe is the industry’s strongest cash flow forecaster, where we can predict 90 days of cash flow to help with things like that,” Succar said.
She believes that once all of these things are in place, QuickBooks will soon be able to automate the vast majority of SMBs’ cash flow operations, resolving numerous financial headaches and allowing business owners to focus on their actual business rather than wasting hours balancing the books. In effect, it means SMBs will be working with the same advantages that CFOs at large enterprises have enjoyed for years.
“Historically, at big companies, the CFO had a human calculating all of these things for them,” Succar said. “We’ll be able to automate it instead, predict what your income taxes are going to be and set it aside for you.”
With such incredibly powerful tools at their disposal, it’s no wonder that Succar is extremely optimistic about what the future holds for SMBs as they emerge into the new, post-pandemic world. “We have been blown away by what our small businesses have done in the last 18 months, and we are confident we’re going to see them emerge even stronger as a result of some of these wonderful shifts and innovations we’re seeing,” she said.

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