Technology is increasingly becoming part of almost every aspect in our daily lives. Several years back, a very small percentage of our daily activities involved technology. Today, almost everything we do involves technology, from payments, to communication, to transportation.
Business owners too have embraced technology to better run their businesses. Some of the common uses of technology in running a business include: Collection of payments, online sales, recording of sales and business expenses, business performance analysis and tracking of stock.
Businesses, and customers, are slowly shifting from cash payments to mobile money and card in the payment of goods and services. Some businesses have completely locked out the cash payment option, allowing only mobile money and card payments. While cash payments may be easy and convenient to the customers, they can be an absolute pain for the business. Cash can not only be hard to account for, it has been known to be a major source of discrepancies when balancing books. When businesses receive cash payments, business owners are forced to implement mechanisms to ensure the safety of the cash. Such mechanisms include CCTV cameras, multiple cash drawer counts and checks, safe cash drawers among others. In addition to this, businesses that are known to collect payments in cash are more prone to attacks and burglary. Just like collection of payments, B2B transactions paid for in cash can be equally hectic. A slight mistake in recording of transactions paid for in cash can throw off the entire accounting books, making it very hard to accurately understand your numbers.
Technology has made it possible for businesses to minimize errors that would otherwise possibly be encountered in its absence. Mobile money, for instance the use of Paybill Numbers, has not only minimized possible errors, but increased efficiency by reducing the amount of time needed to handle cash. Before this, cash collected would ordinarily need to be transported to the bank. Paybill has made it possible for businesses to receive payments instantly to the bank account. In addition to this, businesses are able to easily track payments digitally through monthly statements from banks and other service providers.
2. Online Sales
Platforms such as Keffys Retail have made it possible for businesses to start selling online. In an effort to reach more customers and provide convenience to the customers, businesses are slowly embracing selling online. Selling online does not mean moving away from traditional selling where walk-ins are welcome. Online selling is an additional way of transacting with your customers and possibly (in most cases), attracting a new class of customers. Other benefits of selling online in addition to reaching a larger market include the ability to engage with customers/ potential customers effectively, ability to show case your stock and prices to customers without them having to visit the business, ability to view competitor prices, proper storage of data which enables analysis among others.
3. Recording of Sales and Expenses
Several years back, most businesses (especially medium and small scale), did not utilize proper record keeping systems. Over time, businesses have come to the realization that keeping of records is the first step of data analysis in an effort to strategize. In the last 2 decades, big companies such as Amazon and Google have demonstrated the benefits of recording, storing and analyzing data (sales and expenses included) in strategy development and execution.
In the recording of sales, we have seen a rapid transition from using manual receipts to digital receipts. Businesses have embraced the use of POS (Point of Sale) systems and other online technologies such as Keffys Retails which allow them to record and safely store all sales records for future reference. Keffys Retail, and other accounting systems such as QuickBooks also have features enabling businesses to record and store their expenses.
With proper recording and storage of data, most systems can automatically analyze and generate reports such as sales, expenses, profit or loss, customer growth, orders and more. Analyzing business behavior over the past months or years is extremely important as it allows us to predict the next steps and develop well informed strategies.
5. Stock Tracking
Businesses that have a huge variety of stock, such as general shops, have a hard time tracking the quantities of products, their expiry dates, damages, and refills. Due to the nature of these businesses where large quantities of small products move quickly, business owners are unable to keep track of this movement. Incorporating technology, such as POS (Point of sale System) has made it possible for businesses to track the flow of these products and have a better management system. With a POS, you can tell how many units of a product remain, how many need to be ordered, how many are damaged, which ones will expire soon etc.
Overall, technology has been tremendously beneficial to businesses. Businesses have not only been able to properly record and store their sales and expenses information, but also better manage staff, flow of products and analysis.