The world is going cashless, fuelled by disruptive trends like mobile payments, integrated billing and digital banks. Already, in countries like the UK, only three in 10 payments are made with cash, and technologies such as mobile card readers and digital wallet apps, together with the rise of cryptocurrencies, are primed to make it even easier for businesses to accept cashless payments and get paid faster.
This is having an enormous impact on customer behaviour as some of the apps that enable cashless payments also provide users with information about their spending history, and use this behavioural data to give them financial advice, or recommendations on saving goals.
As more consumers embrace the convenience of cashless payment options, so too should businesses. Additionally, adopting technologies like this will also assist them in tracking transactions in real time and managing their money better. Cloud accounting software, for instance, enables businesses to track sales, create and send invoices and know how their business is doing at any time.
With the acceleration of Internet-of-Things technology and Artificial Intelligence, cloud-based systems are being given ‘smart’ properties that can meet the growing demands of users, such as business owners. Research and consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, predicts that by as early as 2020, we will be seeing the advent of SMART clouds, which will of course affect applications like cloud accounting.
SMART clouds will have advanced features and functions designed to respond to the real-time nature of business and will be essential for business-critical services. They will also give businesses greater governance and control as well as offer integrated social collaboration solutions. These features will not only allow for improved collaboration and simplified access to information, but will also enable the interoperability of business processes and systems, resulting in a more resilient and agile business.
However, it is important to note that according to Privacy and Security Advocate, Olga Sushko, the more widespread cloud services become, the more attackers aim for them. “It’s just like how the general number of internet security threats grew alongside the increase of PC usage. They will both hunt for user data and try to gain access to the service itself.”
Fortunately, businesses can fight back by using technological innovations. For instance, they can use big data analytics to monitor for covert threats and identify evolving external and internal security risks, enabling them to react more quickly.
As such, it is now more important than ever for business owners to be aware of trends like these in order to grow their businesses and remain competitive. The first step, however, is adapting to a cashless world today for business success tomorrow.
Jolawn Victor, Head of Emerging Markets at Intuit, makers of the world’s leading online accounting software – QuickBooks.