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  • The State of B2B Payments

    Earlier this week, President Obama delivered his penultimate State of the Union address.  Whether you agree with his assessment of our country’s condition or the future he envisions for it, the practice of looking back and analyzing where we were, where we’ve come, and where we’re going is a productive exercise.  In this spirit, we thought it a good time to take a look at B2B payments, their past, present, and future.

    Historically, check payments own the B2B market.  In 2004, 81% of B2B payments were made by check.  Today that number is down to 50%, according to a survey by the Association for Financial Professionals.  But within this figure the survey notes there is a difference between large companies (those with revenues exceeding $1 billion) and smaller organizations.  Larger businesses process only 40% of their B2B payments by check, while these smaller companies pay 63% of their payments by check.  Larger organizations use wire transfers and ACH payments more than their smaller counterparts.  Wire transfers are often too expensive for small companies, as too are ACH payments.

    Both wire and ACH are also more difficult for small businesses to convince vendors and customers to use.  In fact, 82 percent of survey respondents indicated that they do not use electronic payment methods because they can’t get customers to pay that way.  74 percent said suppliers too won’t pay electronically.

    Here in lies the issue facing B2B payments.  While check payment loses its hold on the market, what is taking its place?  The answer is many things.  ACH payments, wire, credit card, debit card, and EFT payments all make up the other 50%.  This causes issue as all companies use different methods and thus require and request separate payment methods.  The payment field is becoming fractured.

    But there are benefits to electronic payments.  Cost savings, improved cash forecasting, and fraud control were all noted as benefits of electronic payments.  The question then is will one of the before mentioned methods rise above the rest to become a ubiquitous tool, providing not only the savings and security of electronic payments, but the ease of use and acceptance that checks have had for so many decades?

    We do not feign to know the answer to this question (we are not soothsayers after all), and since we don’t, we have worked to make it easier to use any of these methods.  PrintBoss enables you to create checks, ACH files, and even virtual credit card payments with a click of a button.  The key is flexibility and PrintBoss provides that.

    What will the B2B payments landscape look like in the future?  Chances are it will be even more focused on electronic payments, but which ones?  It’s hard to say, but what we can say is that PrintBoss makes your payments today easier and more secure.

  • Security and Your Check Printing Software

    Read any sporting magazine or watch the talking heads on ESPN and you’ll hear analysts say that the focus in most sports nowadays is on offense.  It’s sexy, it’s fun, it’s better TV.  Many even question whether we are seeing the last vestiges of great defenses like Ohio State this past Monday, or the Seattle Seahawks that will take the field this Sunday.  Could the Legion of Boom be the final hurrah of defense-centric champions?

    As is common, this started to make a lot of us here at Wellspring Software consider how this relates to check stock and check printing software.  A great defense in any sport is like great security in any accounting system.  Security in your accounting operations is perhaps more important than security anywhere else in your business.  A breach of security in any of your bank accounts opens your business to all types of fraud.  Check printing security in particular carries high risk as the data involved relates directly back to your bank accounts, the life blood of your business.

    There are many security weaknesses in check printing that many businesses do not consider.  For example, many companies still use preprinted check stock.  This is the type of check stock that comes with the MICR line (your account and routing numbers at the bottom of the check) as well as your company information (address, phone number, name, etc.) and check number already printed on the face of the check.  This seemingly harmless paper carries all of your bank information.  Have one of these unused checks stolen from your office or accidently dropped in the parking lot and your entire bank account is compromised.  Use blank check stock and enjoy the most secure check stock available.

    Many even small businesses write hundreds of checks a month.  Staying on top of the printing and depositing of those checks is a weak point of any accounting operation.  For this reason, Positive Pay is the most advanced check printing security measure available.  Positive Pay is a specific file that records all checks printed in a check run along with their corresponding data, such as account number, payee info, check number, etc.  The exact info required in the file is stipulated by your bank.  At the end of each run, this file is then sent to your bank.  Any check that is then attempted to be drawn from your bank account is compared against the Positive Pay file.  If any discrepancies exist, then no money is drawn on your account.  This way, even if your bank information is stolen, no fraudulent checks can be passed because they will not appear in your Positive Pay file.

    Is this actually the end of defense in professional sports?  Doubtful.  Just as great check printing security protects the most vital parts of your business, great defenses win championships.  Don’t let the talking heads fool you and don’t compromise your business with insecure check printing.

    Learn more about check printing security here.

  • Cut Costs with QuickBooks Check Printing

    There are two ways to increase your bottom line: 1) Increase Revenues and 2) Cut Costs.  Whether you’re in marketing, finance, accounting, sales, operations, or any other department, the measurability of your success rests on whether or not you are helping increase revenues or cut costs.

    Often businesses, particularly small and mid-sized companies, and the people who run them focus more on the first of those two ways, increasing revenues.  This is understandable as without sales you have no business.  But too often the second half of that equation is forgotten or at least not given enough attention.

    Small business owners often feel they don’t have the capital to invest in technologies that will “cut costs,” as those savings are typically not realized without time and scale.  “How can I invest $5,000 in something that won’t pay itself off for a couple years when I don’t have $5,000 right now?”

    This sentiment protects against unwise and expensive investments, but it also often prevents businesses from seeing high return investments.  Not all new technologies cost a lot and not all of them take years to realize their savings.  Check printing is a perfect example of this.  Most businesses pay their bills and employees with checks.  Most small and mid-size businesses use preprinted checks, often QuickBooks checks, which are checks that already have the MICR line and company information printed on them.  By using a QuickBooks check printing software like PrintBoss, which only costs $150, these same businesses can stop using preprinted checks and start using blank checks.  The $150 cost for the software will be earned back the first time blank checks are purchased.  While preprinted checks can cost over $300 per thousand, blank checks sell for only $60 per thousand.

    Investing in new solutions to cut costs and improve efficiency does not mean investing in expensive technologies.  Business owners do not have the luxury of unlimited budgets.  So when you’re looking to improve your bottom line by cutting costs you need to find inexpensive but effective solutions with a quick returns.  QuickBooks check printing software that allow you to print on blank check stock is an easy, effective, and simple solution for all businesses.

  • Make a New Year’s Resolutions to Print Checks on Blank Check Stock

    It’s 2015, are you still printing checks on preprinted check stock?  We are 15 years beyond Y2K and 14 years beyond the prognostications of Arthur C. Clarke and his 2001 expectations.  Nobody carries maps in their cars anymore and when was the last time you wrote a letter to someone and placed a stamp on it rather than clicking send?

    There is no denying we are in a technical age, yet the majority of businesses still waste time and money processing their payables with old preprinted checks.  Why not make a resolution this New Year to save you and your business time and money, while increasing your accounting security by printing checks onto blank check stock.  It seems simple and it is, but the benefits are huge.

    So what exactly are you resolving when you decide to print checks onto blank check stock?  Fortunately, it only takes a few changes to make this money saving change.  First, you need a check printing software that enables you to print the MICR line and company information on a check.  This software should add zero extra steps to how you currently print preprinted checks.  In fact, once this software is set up, you should barely notice you are using it.  What this software does that your host accounting software, like QuickBooks, doesn’t do is store your bank information.  A solution like PrintBoss ($150), then connects a company in QuickBooks with bank information in its database and when you print checks from a company, it automatically prints the associated bank information onto the check.  So all you do is click print.

    You will also need to get blank check stock.  This is the easiest part of your resolution, because blank check stock costs a fraction of preprinted checks.  1,000 blank checks cost $60, while Intuit sells 1,000 preprinted checks for over $300.  Furthermore, if you print checks from more than one bank account, you can use one blank check stock for all of your bank accounts.

    The final part of your resolution is often the hardest: try something new.  Without a doubt, printing checks onto blank check stock will save you time and money, yet many businesses are afraid to change.  Companies get stuck in process ruts, doing certain things certain ways because that’s how they’ve always done it.  This mentality can be very costly as new technologies can improve both costs and processes.  So businesses must be willing to take the steps to improve and save.

    Fulfill your check printing New Year’s resolution today by trying PrintBoss free for 30 days.

  • How Checks Stay Relevant in an Electronic Age

    Many of us don’t even carry wallets anymore.  Things like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Bitcoin, and a multitude of other electronic payment innovations are aimed at removing our wallets from our pockets and putting everything on our phones.  Even some states are moving toward electronic driver’s licenses.  Soon we’ll be able to buy pants with one packet in them for our phones only.

    Yet despite this market move toward electronic everything, checks remain the standard business-to-business payment method, accounting for over 55% of B2B transactions.  How is this possible?  We discussed this a few months ago, citing the distinction between B2C payments and B2B payments.  While virtual credit cards and e-wallets have made it easier for consumers to pay with credit cards stored on their phones, this same method does not work as well for businesses that, one, are not paying a payable befoSecurity key lock with businessmanre a POS machine, and two, are not willing to accept a 5% merchant credit card fee.  If someone owes me $10,000, I am not going to accept a payment method that charges me $500.

    But there is another big issue facing businesses that most business owners quote when asked why they don’t pay via new electronic methods: security.  Over the many generations that checks have been the keystone in B2B payments, security has become tighter and tighter.  Whether it is security in the check stock itself through chemical detection paper, micro-printing, fluorescent fibers, and toner grip paper to name a few, or check printing software enhancements like electronic signatures, encrypted bank information, or Positive Pay capabilities, check security has become a key differentiator of check payments.

    While these new B2C or even P2P payment methods provide the flexibility that consumers want, the security risks associated with larger B2B payments are still too great.  There is a reason that you can send $50 to a friend free of charge through Popmoney, but this same service won’t allow a business to send more than $5,000 a month.  It’s too risky for the banks to back those payments.  If you need to process that much in a month, which most small businesses do, then banks will say just send them a check.

    There’s a reason that checks have stayed relevant in this electronic age and it’s because they are reliable, secure, and trusted.

    Print your checks onto blank check stock with our PrintBoss 30 day free trial and save even more time and money while increasing your security.

  • How Best to Print Checks in QuickBooks

    Over 55% of B2B payables are processed through checks.  Checks are the most reliable, securest, and most accepted form of B2B payment today.  It is for this reason that they have remained at the heart of business transactions.

    So what is the best way to print checks?  With QuickBooks, and most other host accounting packages, you have two options: 1) Print checks to preprinted check stock and 2) Print checks to blank check stock.  Many business owners and accountants don’t realize that this second method is even an option.  This is because many host accounting packages, QuickBooks included, do not come out of the box with this functionality.  QuickBooks alone only allows you to print checks to preprinted stock.  And as they say, what you don’t know will hurt you.  Printing checks to blank check stock saves you time and money over its preprinted alternative.

    QuickBooks invites you to print checks using its preprinted check stock.  Preprinted means that the check paper already has your bank information and company information printed on the check when you receive it.  This alone is a security risk.  When you print checks from QuickBooks, you must make sure you are using the correct check stock for the correct company and that you are using the correct check number.  You can see quickly the many opportunities for human error.  Add on top of this the cost of preprinted check stock ($368.99 per thousand) and you realize that not only is it error prone, but the QuickBooks check printing system is expensive.

    While printing checks to blank check stock is not a feature Intuit offers, there are many third party software, like PrintBoss, that enable this ability.  PrintBoss enables you to print all of your checks for all of your companies and all of your different bank accounts onto the same blank check stock.  PrintBoss stores your bank information on encrypted files and matches them with the company information coming from QuickBooks.  PrintBoss then prints the MICR line (the account and routing information at the bottom of a check), as well as your company information, amount, and check number on the check face.

    With PrintBoss you never have to worry about changing out your check stock from the printer, or the security risk of unused check stock lying around the office with your bank information printed on its face.  Not to mention, blank check stock costs a fraction of the price of preprinted stock at $60 per thousand.

    Printing checks onto blank check stock is the most secure, efficient, and cost effective way to pay your payables.

    Try the PrintBoss 30 day free trial today to experience these savings and enjoy worry free check printing.  Check PrintBoss out in the Intuit Marketplace to learn more.

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    This Thanksgiving we would like to give thanks to all of our vendors, customers, partners and everyone else with whom we do business.  For nearly 25 years we have been in the check printing business and along the way we have had the great fortune of working with amazing people.  There is not enough space in a 300 word blog to thank everyone, so let us simply say THANK YOU ALL and...

    Happy Thanksgiving (big)

  • What is the Cloud? It’s the Internet

    Do you use Dropbox or Google Drive?  What about OneDrive?  Do the pictures you take with your iPhone automatically link to your iCloud account?  Does your home security system link to your cell phone?  Do you get a text when your washing machine finishes a load?  Are you connected to the Internet of Things?  Do you live in the Cloud?

    It’s hard to go anywhere or read anything and not be confronted by the Cloud.  But I suppose that is the point of it.  The Cloud connects all things across all platforms and devices.  It’s not enough now to get a new TV with DVR to record your shows.  No, now we must be able to save those recordings in the Cloud so we can watch them on our iPad on the train into the city, or on our phones as we wait in line at the DMV.

    But what exactly is “The Cloud?”  Everyone is developing for the Cloud and says that you need to go there, but where exactly is there?  Like QuickBooks add-ons, they are no longer software, but "Apps."  This is where things have gotten muddled.  It is due to this same confusion that some even question the Cloud’s permanency, wondering if it, like many technologies before it, is a passing fad.

    But when you sort through the marketing speak, you are left with a very simple definition of the Cloud that communicates its history and permanence: the Cloud is the Internet.

    Now, before anyone becomes enraged by this oversimplification, calm down.  Yes you can create private clouds of remote servers networked together to share and store files.  But that’s not really what we’re talking about.  We’re referring to all the mass jargon floating about referring to the “The Cloud.”  The Cloud is the one we all use, the global network that connects pretty much all things.  It’s the one where I can save a doc to my OneDrive from my home computer and then use any other computer on planet Earth connected to the Internet to open up that exact same document.

    Cloud computing is really just computing on the Internet.  It’s the idea of having applications that run online, that save your data online, and that are accessible from anywhere that is online.

    Why do we write a 400+ word blog on this basic definition?  Because Cloud product marketers have woven a mystical shroud so tightly around the term “Cloud” as to make the general public believe it is something so fantastical and complicated that it must have been conjured by Dumbledore himself.  The truth is that it is simply the next logical evolution of how we share and store files and information, a next step in the Internet age.  We’ve all been using it for a couple decades now.  So don’t be fooled when marketers rebrand the Internet “The Cloud.”

  • What You Need to Know from Solutions14

    So ends another great Sleeter Solutions conference in balmy Las Vegas.  Like last year’s, Solutions14 was held at the Caesar’s Palace on the Vegas strip.  Attendees and exhibitors alike were treated to the fine service and food of the casino giant.  As expected, Caesar’s provided a great atmosphere to share and discuss the now and tomorrow of accounting.

    The conference started with a fun, though fairly embarrassing for those of us without rhythm, flash mob by the exhibitors.  The dance steps may have been a little fast and advanced for those of us with two left feet, but it got a rise out of the crowd and certainly a lot of laughs.  Doug Sleeter’s opening keynote on determining and increasing your value was well received and a great kickoff for the conference.Stu Sara Graham at Solutions14

    Doug was followed by Susan Solovic, an entrepreneur, TV personality, author, and much much more.  Susan explained the importance of creating a noticeable difference in your company by using technology, hiring the right people and pricing your product at its true value.  Susan’s speech was the type that makes you walk away reevaluating your business and thinking of all the things that you can do to make it better.  Again, a great start to the conference.

    The next several days passed in a blur of educational sessions, meals, keynote addresses, and lost money on the casino floors (okay, that may have just been our bad luck).  Between sessions, attendees were encouraged to visit the exhibitor hall where third party products (like PrintBoss) were on display.  As accounting packages like Sage and QuickBooks go to the cloud, parity with their desktop relatives is being sought through add-ons.  If the exhibit hall was any indication, the market is rife with add-on options.  Everything from payroll services, time sheet apps, inventory software, and check printing software
    was represented.  It was an exciting atmosphere as QuickBooks Pro Advisors dove into all the technology options for their and their client’s business.

    In the end, cloud technology continues to drive discussions.  From cloud storage, to cloud accounting, to the Internet of Things, cloud technology is the present and the future.  What was once on the horizon has now arrived, with desktop applications going the way of the dodo.  It will be interesting to see a year from now when we all arrive at the Bellagio, what else has changed.  Hope to see you there!

  • Are You Going to Sleeter's Solutions14 Conference? What You Need To Check Out

    The Weather Channel predicts sunny and mid-70s next week in Las Vegas, Nevada.  If only all of us attending the Sleeter Solutions14 conference were going to spend any time outside.  Given what’s on the agenda for the show, I doubt any of us will one, have the time to venture into the sun and two, want to miss anything going on in the classrooms or with the QuickBooks add-ons on the exhibit floor.  That’s right, we are just three days away from Solutions14!

    Here are the top things we are looking forward to this year at Sleeter’s Solutions14:

    Doug Sleeter Keynote:

    Every year Doug Sleeter opens his conference with a few words to all exhibitors and attendees.  Without fail, Doug’s words are poignant and current.  This year Doug’s lecture is titled, “What is YOUR Value?”  Given his industry knowledge and years of experience, there is no doubt he will have great insights into determining your value proposition.

    Tech Update with Randy Johnston:

    Randy has his finger on the pulse of technology in the accounting field.  Heck, the guy was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 2011.  When he speaks, you listen, especially when he’s speaking about tech.  Hearing about the latest and greatest technology in accounting from Randy is like getting a free lesson in IT strategy.  From updates to operating systems, to the latest in mobile use, to what’s happening with QuickBooks add-ons, this is definitely a can’t-miss keynote.

    The Exhibition Floor:

    We are certainly a little biased in this regard as we are one of the QuickBooks add-on exhibitors.  But none-the-less, the exhibitors at this year’s Solutions conference is a who’s who of accounting products.  From time sheet management companies like TSheets, to inventory management like MiSys, to check printing software like PrintBoss (that’s us!), the exhibitors have you covered for all your accounting needs.  With accounting software packages like QuickBooks and Sage moving toward the cloud, and Xero only in the cloud, this new wave of cloud accounting software is less feature rich by design.  Intuit has made it known that the burden of parity with its desktop versions falls on third party developers.  The good thing is that these third party providers are stepping up and adding some incredible QuickBooks add-ons.  So make sure you make your way around the exhibit hall (and stop by the PrintBoss booth!)

    There are so many other activities and speeches we are looking forward to that we don’t have the space to discuss here.  If you’re going to Solutions14 we hope you’ll stop by the PrintBoss booth to talk shop, tell us about your business, and discuss how PrintBoss can save you time and money printing checks.

    See you all Sunday!  In the meantime, try PrintBoss free for 30 days to see how when you print checks from more than one bank account, no software will save you more time and money.

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