Financial access

Power … control … speed. Luxury vehicles set themselves apart by anticipating drivers’ needs and desires and giving them ultimate control over the experience. In the same way, online business banking services cater to companies’ requirements and preferences for self-administered access to online information and services.

“Online banking allows businesses and their staff members to increase their efficiency by tapping into powerful new technologies that help save time, reduce costs and improve productivity,” says Ditz Rabel, a principal business relationship manager with Wells Fargo. “Also, online banking provides many tools that can help reduce the risk of fraud by giving a company more controls and more instantaneous access to account information.”

Smart Business spoke with Rabel about the significant benefits available from online business banking services.

What online services improve the speed and convenience of business banking?
Online banking services can connect customers to the right solutions at the right time with the right resources. For example, online business banking can provide customers with tools that help them with financial record keeping — including maintaining check registers, reconciling accounts, reducing fraud risks, viewing images of deposited and disbursed checks, and printing and downloading activity reports.

How can self administration facilitate the online banking experience?
Account access makes online banking more efficient. Self administration gives business owners and designated employees the ability to create, delete and maintain their own user identifications. They no longer have to wait for the bank to process requests.

Also, self administration allows the system administrator to know the company’s account structure. This allows key staff members to retain full control over when and how they manage the company’s accounts, which results in more control.

How can downloadable reports increase accuracy and reduce processing time on financial statements?
The success of any business correlates directly to the quality of financial information it receives and utilizes. Being able to download reports from an online banking service and then upload them onto a business accounting system means having reliable (99 percent average uptime) account data in a variety of formats (BAI, BAI2, .CSV, HTML). With these reports, the sole proprietor of a home-based startup now is able to know his cash position as quickly and easily as the CFO of a Fortune 500 Company.

Additionally, the reconciliation process no longer requires sifting through stacks of documents, electronic versions of accounts receivable and accounts payable detail, and ACH and wire transactions. Individual account activity and overall relationship analysis statements all are available electronically without having to wait for a mailed paper copy.

How can electronic services enhance the accounts payable and accounts receivable processes?
Electronic services ensure that business owners have quick access to accurate information. Direct transmission and downloadable reporting options enable a true system-to-system pipeline of communication. This dramatically reduces reconciliation time and human error in the data transmission between businesses and banks.

In addition to reporting advantages, there are invaluable electronic support services such as:

Desktop deposit – Cutting-edge technology that allows qualifying businesses to deposit checks to their bank accounts by scanning check items in their own office. This can accelerate the collection of funds and features convenience and security benefits.

ACH – Direct transmission of client files and Internet ACH offers more secure and reliable connections over old modem connections. This service allows businesses to send transactions electronically and attach information to the dollar amount, including invoice numbers, account numbers, and customer ID information.

Lock box – Image enhancements and electronic reports for lockbox activity help expedite reconciling the accounts receivable.

Online initiated wires – These wires are easy to use and provide maximum flexibility in security features and user parameters. This service allows for up-to-the-minute access to wire activity in initiating outgoing and tracking incoming wires.

What special security measures protect online business banking processes?
Online security measures include Positive Pay and ACH Fraud Filter. These electronic programs help ensure that only legitimate, fully authorized transactions (check or electronic) are processed.

Through self administration, companies are empowered to perform tasks that save them time and give them more control. This increased control and account contact can help businesses prevent fraud. Some of these tasks include: resetting passwords, deleting or disabling users, adding and updating access to online services, and establishing dual control.

Also, using services such as direct deposit and bill pay through online or ACH transfers helps reduce the risk of fraud. These electronic money transfers decrease — or in some cases eliminate — the need to use paper checks.

DITZ RABEL is a principal business relationship manager with Wells Fargo. He has 26 years of banking experience in analyzing, managing and advising commercial and financial institution relationships. Reach him at (713) 209-6608 or [email protected].