This excerpt originally appeared in the The Fintech Times, published on December 7, 2017.
Steve Robert, Co-Founder & CEO of Autobooks.co
Small Businesses have always struggled with finance, cash-flow and bookkeeping. Most financial institutions provide small businesses with the same antiquated tools they provide to consumers and retail customers – thus limiting their potential and leaving them no choice but to look for alternatives from non-bank providers.
There are over 30 million small businesses in the US alone and that number often doesn’t reflect the growing gig-economy or “micro-business” segment defined as < $250k in annual sales. These business owners must use several tools to solve individual problems – costing precious time & money.
More than 80% of small businesses do not use an accounting system, contrary to popular belief – presenting a huge market opportunity, if only these business owners valued accounting & bookkeeping. But they don’t. They value cash-flow.
Autobooks, a fintech company based in Detroit, MI works with financial institutions to provide integrated payment and accounting software for small business, that integrates directly into internet banking. Put another way, Autobooks helps businesses bring money INTO the bank, similar to how Bill Pay has helped to move money OUT of the bank.
By helping businesses ‘automate’ bookkeeping, more businesses can get the benefits of accounting, without needing to learn (or hire) an accountant. Concepts like reconciliation go away entirely and a company can run a real-time income statement or balance sheet as money moves into or out of their bank account. If a user can send an invoice or pay a bill, they can now achieve accounting – and their bank will soon be able to deliver additional products and services specifically tailored to their unique needs.
As it turns out, banks have customers that need help with finances. Banks already have their trust and their attention – as they hold their money. Autobooks helps banks bring critical services down market to a new audience, providing contextually relevant and increasingly personalized services to support each of their customers respective stage; whether they are opening their first checking account, looking for convenient ways to get paid by their customers, or whether hiring employees or shopping for insurance. Soon, banks will be able to present a business with proactive credit and lending opportunities, based upon the business’s actual, real-time financial health – instead of reacting to distressed inbound leads. This isn’t possible today, when finances are managed by external 3rd Instead, by “bundling” critical back-office tools together and making them easy to use, the bank becomes an extension of their customers business – the place they start and end their day.
By providing products and services customers actually want, to those who need them most (small businesses) and integrating them, making them easy to use and affordable – all banks, not just Mega Banks can compete for the next generation of businesses while at the same time rebuilding relationships that have drifted to non-bank providers.
Autobooks believes businesses with better cash-management tools have a higher likelihood to succeed; building larger, fiscally disciplined businesses that create wealth, increase GDP and have social & environmental impact on their communities.