With virtual banking and digital payments-based online technology, there is lots of scope for them to be integrated into other digital services. One area of technology that is particularly relevant is digital automation.
There is a range of digital automation services that can be used to link together different apps and devices to enable them to respond to one another. If a certain activity takes place on one app, it can trigger an action on another.
One of the most well-known digital automation services is IFTTT (If this, then that), which is a free platform that links together numerous different apps and devices to enable them to respond to each other. Users build ‘recipes’ in which a certain activity on one app (‘this’) triggers an action on another app or device (‘that’).
By integrating virtual bank accounts with these types of services, businesses can build on the many benefits virtual banking already offers around flexibility, cost effectiveness, speed and usability.
Here are just a few of the potential use cases where digital automation can enhance what virtual banking can do for you and your business:
Automated money transfers
Using a digital automation platform, you can create a command that makes automatic transfers from your virtual bank account to another account with a different banking provider.
Payments could be set up to go into a business savings accounts, with the trigger being if there is a certain amount of surplus funds in the virtual account once all monthly overheads have been taken account of. Alternatively, money owed to suppliers could be automatically paid out once the balance of the virtual account has reached a certain level, to ensure prompt payment once funds are in place.
These kinds of automated transfers would obviously need to work around the various security elements required to make the transactions.
If your business is waiting for a large or late payment from a customer, you could set up your digital automation platform to pick when the payment has been made and to make a mobile push notification to members of the finance team.
This means staff won’t have to continually check the virtual bank account to see if the payment has been made. If they don’t receive the notification by a deadline, they could then receive a notification to contact the customer directly.
These notifications could also be provided by voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Home.
Digital automation could also be used to update online spreadsheets. Once a payment is received by the virtual account, it can trigger an outstanding payment to be moved to the paid column on the company’s balance sheet.
The will cut down the amount of time finance teams spend updating records manually.
Energy cost management
Another potential use case could be for your virtual account to connect to your smart energy meter.
If it looks like the company will use more energy in a particular month, the smart meter could communicate with the virtual bank account, to ensure the money to cover the extra energy costs is made available. Equally, if it looks like energy usage will be less than normal, the smart meter could instruct the virtual bank account to credit another business account with the funds no longer needed.
This approach could also be applied to processing expenses. If the company’s virtual bank is linked to an expenses app, employees can input their expenses with receipts, and the money can be automatically transferred to their personal bank accounts as soon as the expenses are verified.
Rather than waiting until the end of the month to be reimbursed, employees can receive the funds quickly, meaning they won’t be out of pocket for long. It also makes the expenses process much less onerous on the finance team.
These are just a handful of the potential ways in which virtual banking and digital automation could make businesses more efficient and effective. It’s yet another way in which using virtual banking can give small businesses an advantage.