Surviving in the digital age: 3 items businesses can’t let go of
The digital revolution is rapidly changing the way we do business. But there are some things that business owners simply can’t let go of. From fax machines to cheques, here are some of the everyday items that have so far managed to survive the digital age. Will they continue to do so?
Pen and paper
A fifth of business owners admitted to still using a pen and paper for their business administration, according to research from Worldpay.
With advances in technology giving businesses the power to easily input data and make accurate projections for the year ahead, it’s surprising that so many companies lack the available tools and instead continue with time-consuming manual processes.
And, as a result, 40% could not provide up-to-date monitoring or forecasting of revenue and profit, 48% were unable to identify their top 10 customers or their ordering habit and 57% said they did not know their busiest trading day of the month.
Whilst it’s unlikely that pen and paper will ever completely go out of use, for key business tasks such as forecasting, budgeting and planning, ditching the manual process in favour of new software could save businesses considerable time and resource.
Originally due to be phased out by 2018, cheques have long been thought of as a disappearing payment method. But more than 500 million cheques were written in 2015, according to Payments UK, suggesting that this really isn’t the case at all.
Whilst there was a 13% decline in cheque usage on the previous year, that’s still a lot of cheques to be processed when arguably there are faster and more convenient ways to make payment.
That said, the report showed that cheques are “still valued as a convenient and secure method of payment by those who choose to use them”.
Banks have promised to keep processing them for as long as necessary and some have even adapted their processes with the times to introduce “cheque imaging”, which allows consumers to take a photograph of a cheque and send it to the bank via their smartphone.
However, whilst they may be convenient for customers, when it comes to credit control cheques aren’t always a favoured payment option for the business on the receiving end.
By accepting cheques you give your customers control and could be opening up your business to late payment excuses such as ‘the cheque is the post’. Plus, cheques take time to clear, are prone to human error and can bounce, leaving you waiting for payment well beyond your agreed credit terms.
As a result, many businesses have chosen to make BACS, direct debit or credit card their preferred payment options.
Remember them? Well, fax machines are still an essential part of business operations for nearly a third of workers in Europe, and they are thought to be more important than tablets, according to a new report.
The research from business communications technology provider, Fuze, highlighted the outdated communication technologies still in use across Europe and found that, whilst tablets and smartphones have grown in popularity, fax machines and desktop computers are still more important than new gadgets.
Could your business live without these? Let us know in the comments below.