The range of innovative and affordable new technologies for Australian SMEs are critical for streamlining your processes and serving your customers more effectively.
Here are the top seven technology tools that can help SMEs set themselves up for success this year:
A mobile credit and debit card reader
The data is undeniable — cash-only SMEs are at risk of missing sales with Australians carrying only $55 in their wallets on average, and topping up their funds at the ATM less than once a week. New tools are available to business owners to set themselves up quickly and easily to accept credit and debit card payments, which in turn ensures that your customers are happy and you’re not missing sales. Mobile payment readers are the fastest, most convenient way to get set up to accept card payments. Square has two affordable readers — Square Reader for chip cards ($19, enabling you to accept chip and magstripe cards) and the new Square Reader for contactless and chip ($59, enabling you to accept tap-and-go cards, mobile wallets like Apple Pay, and chip cards).
If your business is enabled to send your client an invoice as soon as the work is complete, you’ll save valuable time after hours. E-invoicing tools and apps can get paid up to 80 percent faster when compared to traditional processes (such as calculating and formatting an invoice in Excel). Square Invoices enables you to send unlimited e-invoices from the Square Point of Sale app for free, and your customers can then select to pay you quickly and securely online with the click of a button.
A cloud-based point-of-sale system
Increase your business mobility with a powerful point-of-sale system that you can run from a tablet or smartphone. Cloud-based point-of-sale apps, like Square Point of Sale, give businesses greater mobility by running everything you need to record transactions, accept payments, send digital receipts, and manage your inventory and staff directly from a mobile device. By getting team members out from behind the counter and speaking with customers, you’re enabling better service and relationship building, and boosting sales in turn. Cloud-based point-of-sale apps are typically more affordable as they can be free or at a low-cost monthly subscription fee, and come with all the powerful features you’d expect from a fixed hardware-based POS — including connectivity with hardware like kitchen ticket printers, receipt printers, cash drawers and barcode scanners.
Employee management software
If you’re increasing the size of your team, it’s a great indication the business is on the right trajectory. But a larger team brings more management and administration needs, and keeping track of manual time cards can become a messy task. That’s why Square’s new Employee Management features enable you to clock staff in and out, directly from the Square Point of Sale app. You also benefit from increased security features such as passcodes and managed access to features. From $3 per month, per employee, it’s an affordable way to bring order to your growth.
Business intelligence and reporting tools
Using business and sales data from last year’s performance will help you plan everything from staffing to promotional and marketing activities. That is why it’s important to be set up with software that tracks your business health, so you can optimise for growth in real time. Square Analytics, which uses all the valuable data captured from your integrated point of sale, gives you a powerful insights into business operations. Leverage an ongoing view of comparative sales reports, track the busiest times of the day, customer frequency and feedback, sales by employee, and much more.
Integrated accounting software
Streamlining your front-of-house operations is critical for servicing your customers efficiently, but getting the right software and tools to sort the back end will help you save time and run your business smarter. Cloud-based accounting software means you can get a real time, mobile view of your business profitability and accounting. Furthermore, many online accounting packages nowadays integrated directly with cloud based point of sale platforms, so that transaction data flows seamlessly between each and reduces the need for manual data entry. Square Point of Sale integrates with QuickBooks Online and Xero, giving you the choice of some of the world’s best cloud-based accounting software.
Australians spent an estimated $21 billion online between October 2015 and October 2016, meaning that if you’re not already selling online, your business could be missing out. For many new SMEs, online sales is also an easy, low-risk starting point to startup a new idea or test a product. Getting started online is simple with a web shopfront powered by world’s most popular website builders: BigCommerce, Weebly, Ecwid, WooCommerce, Magento and Wix are some of Australia’s favourite options.