- In their role as Business Advisers, CPAs and accounting professionals can enhance their client’s profitability with solid credit card processing recommendations.
- Other client benefits include enhanced cash flow management and avoidance of costly merchant processing mistakes.
- Such services strengthen client relationships and can enhance the role of trusted business adviser.
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The primary role of accounting in business is to help interested parties make informed business decisions, whether they be within the organization or on the outside, such as lenders. The art and science practiced by the modern CPA measures and summarizes business activities, interprets financial information, and communicates those results to management and other decision makers.
Because of their unique relationship with business owners, it is also common that accountants and similar trusted advisers take an active role helping clients make business decisions, and so enhance the profitability of the enterprise. One critical cost that is often overlooked and misunderstood is the client’s credit card processing costs. As this can equal between 2% and 5% of a business’s gross sales, the ability to offer qualified recommendations about merchant services is a great opportunity for accountants to provide additional value, strengthen relationships with the client, and provide ongoing services.
Real Merchant Solutions has often been successful in reducing the charges for this essential cost of doing business by 1% of gross sales or more, and has saved clients in excess of $10,000 annually on sales of $1,000,000. By calling on the expertise of a local Merchant Advocate, well qualified and experienced in the intricacies of this complicated, yet essential business tool, accounting professionals can provide significant additional value to their client base.
When appropriate, Real Merchant Solutions can arrange for authorized individuals to have access to real time, and month end reporting, so as to help better manage and reconcile transactions. Such insight can provide valuable, and time saving understanding of cash flows and batch deposits, and help the accounting professional know where the client’s revenue is at every stage, simplifying the month-end close process necessary to generate accurate financial information. By having such direct access, the CPA firm need not wait for this data to be forwarded by the client, as it is all available on a daily basis.
Adding Value to the Client Relationship
In addition to the potential to help clients operate more efficiently by realizing savings that go right to the bottom line, there are other potential benefits to discussing merchant processing with clients:
- Too often, even sophisticated merchants can be taken advantage of by unscrupulous processors, and lured into unfavorable, long term contracts with high rates, punishing Early Termination Fees, and usurious leases on equipment they don’t need. Knowing what to guard against can help save clients thousands of dollars and even legal entanglements. Because Real Merchant Solutions only works with processors that agree to month-to-month agreements without termination fees, and who provide free equipment in most cases, the business owner is always master of their fate, and free to leave at any time.
- All accounting professionals have occasion to work with clients that have gotten behind on bills and other obligations, such as sales taxes, payroll taxes, or rent. By using the EasyPay service, at the client’s direction, any percentage of daily receipts can be deducted and deposited into a separate account controlled by the business owner or his accounting professional to ensure that the needed funds are available when required.
- In some cases, a valuable recommendation might be for processing charges to be paid by a “daily discount”, where fees are deducted from each batch, therefore avoiding a large processing charge the first of each month.
- Because of their traditionally higher fees, many merchants have refused to accept American Express cards in the past, even though those card holders are typically much freer spenders. However, now that AMEX has introduced the very competitive Opt Blue program, which eliminates the separate American Express statement, and which includes AMEX receipts with the daily deposits from the processor, this may now be appropriate for certain clients.
- Traditionally, credit card receipts are deposited two days after batches are settled, but with Money Express, it is possible for those deposits to be accelerated so that the funds are available the very next day. This is especially valuable for restaurants and other businesses that do a brisk business on weekends, as Friday, Saturday, and even Sunday deposits can now be available for withdrawal first thing Monday morning, regardless of which bank the merchant has their accounts with.
Establishing a relationship with a skilled Merchant Advocate can increase the value of a private practitioner or CPA firm and lead to improved client relationships. As suggested by the Journal of Accountancy, “By moving from being a provider of services, such as tax return preparation, to a provider of strategic business advice, such as ideas for doubling the revenue of a client’s company over the next three years, CPA’s can develop deeper, more impactful relationships with clients.”
Establishing a relationship with Real Merchant Solutions can be the first step to help CPA firms provide value and savings to clients with credit card processing recommendations, providing real benefits for clients, and strengthening the professional relationship.