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Coronavirus

How to Successfully Shift Business Operations and Payments Processes During the Coronavirus Pandemic

How to Successfully Shift Business Operations and Payments Processes During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Author: Matt Carrico, Director, Product Management

As social distancing has become a temporary way of life, many unique and unprecedented business concerns are emerging. First, let us say, that we at FNBO are aware of the struggles businesses are experiencing during this time and are here to help.

Businesses of all sizes are in new territory and are doing their best to navigate the current environment. Whether it’s learning how to manage a remote workforce, keeping operations running smoothly or even having to temporarily close your doors, everyone is learning to adapt. Fortunately, there are many tools and resources available to make it a bit easier.

Managing Workforces Remotely and Keeping Morale High

On March 3, Twitter told the company’s 5,000-member workforce to work from home. It wasn’t the first company to take such actions, and it likely won’t be the last as more businesses adhere to measures designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

While large companies, such as Twitter, are often set up to accommodate remote work scenarios, many smaller businesses, and even some larger ones, may experience a greater challenge to accommodate offsite workers.

Fortunately, several cloud-based venders have offered to help businesses facilitate remote working by providing free temporary access to remote working tools. Services like these make it easier for businesses to host virtual meetings, access virtual desktops, manage staff workflow and more.

However, while tools like these help companies focus on business as usual and keep employees engaged, business owners and managers will need to work hard to keep up company morale.

Some businesses find daily email announcements helpful, while others hold virtual roundtables to answer questions on company policies and procedures in the face of the pandemic. Your leadership team may even want to consider sending short video updates to employees. This is a great way to stay in contact at a time when employees may feel isolated.

Uniting your staff may be one of the most critical things you can do to maintain a strong workforce during the pandemic. Announcing quick wins as well as new relationships will let your employees know that you are still focused on growth, even though times may be hard at present.

Managing Money and Making Payments

As business disruption continues, it’s natural for companies to worry about making payments and getting paid. Most frequently, these concerns are due to a high reliance on manual processes.

For instance, paper-based payment methods, such as checks, often require multiple levels of approval. When businesses are operating remotely, physical sign offs are naturally harder to facilitate. Many businesses have resorted to taking the check printer home, while others must go to a physical location and take turns entering the office to print and sign checks.

In addition to payment challenges, cash flow is also top of mind with businesses. Some need to move money between financial institutions but can’t travel to branch locations during shelter-in-place restrictions. Now is the time to discover the products and services your financial institution offers. In most cases, there are digital solutions that can facilitate transfer of funds and ensure that payment processes continue uninterrupted.

FNBO’s PayMaker allows businesses to send and receive payments from anywhere via check or ACH. Businesses can sign up for a free trial online and start using the service within 5 minutes, so even if you haven’t implemented a digital solution prior to Covid-19, you can still take advantage of the benefits and maintain your payment processes during this critical time.

Above all, it’s important to remember that shelter in place does not mean that collaboration stops. Encourage cooperation between employees and vendors, as well as with your financial institution by implementing digital tools and cloud technology. Now is the time to stay in contact and work together.

Ensuring Security in a Digital Work World

As more businesses transition to remote work environments, security concerns have escalated and rightly so. Security firm Crowdstrike has reported an increase in criminal cyber activity as attackers take advantage of coronavirus concerns with malicious attempts to hack into user information.

To enhance security in remote working situations, companies should enforce the use of business-issued devices when possible and ensure that all devices, systems and software are up to date.

It’s also vital that businesses maintain current financial security protocols. If your business relies on dual control, for example, to safeguard payments, now is not the time to suspend those security measures without adopting viable substitutes, even if it seems like a way to keep processes moving.

Instead, talk to your financial institution. There are ways to ensure that controls are in place for financial transactions even in a disrupted environment. PayMaker, for example, allows you to digitize your controls while seamlessly integrating with your accounting software. This provides you with an auditable process for outsourcing check and electronic payments.

Finding the Support You Need

It’s key to remember right now that we are all in this together and no one wants to see you succeed more than your financial institution. If your business is struggling or in danger of interruption from coronavirus impacts, talk to your financial institution about how you can maintain essential business functions in a remote environment.

Learn how FNBO is supporting its business customers during this critical time.

About the Author:

Matt Carrico leads FNBO’s effort to help business owners improve their cash flow, as well as their accounts payable and receivable efficiency. Matt has 15 years of sales and strategy experience.