Amazon is probably still smiling in the wake of its lucrative holiday season, during which a spike in eCommerce not only meant success for its online marketplace but also for the company’s lesser-known B2B operation, Amazon Business.
The unit provides logistics services, like warehousing and shipping, for the sellers operating on the Amazon platform. But that’s not the only way the company supplies tools for other companies; third-party B2B firms can also connect to the community of sellers under the Amazon umbrella.
One of the latest to do so is Kashoo, a cloud-based small business accounting firm that announced last week it had taken its first step onto the Amazon Business portal.
PYMNTS spoke with Kashoo Communications Lead Dave Clarke about why small business owners are flocking to digital solutions, like Amazon Business and Kashoo, to run their companies and how cloud technology puts cash flow back in the control of the entrepreneur.
[bctt tweet=”Why SME owners are flocking to digital solutions like Amazon Business.”]
According to Clarke, being able to connect SMEs that already procure digitally through Amazon Business with cloud-based accounting solutions is part of Kashoo’s vision to aid money management through technology.
“We definitely believe small business owners are becoming more savvy when it comes to technology,” he said. “A lot of that gets attributed to how pervasive technology has become on a personal level.”
Just as small business owners may do their shopping online, when they put on their small business owner hats, online procurement may seem natural.
“More and more, small business owners have iPhones and iPads for personal use but are also realizing how useful those devices are for business,” Clarke added. “Small business owners seek control over their companies, and technology makes that easier.”
He explained that the modern small business owner doesn’t simply want control and insight into finances when they get to their office and sit down at a desk — and that’s where cloud technology comes in for Kashoo.
“Cloud is about two things: anytime, anywhere data access from any device and real-time data sync,” Clarke said. When it comes to running the books, cloud technology allows professionals to access the information they need on a mobile device. Again, this type of accessibility is all about control — key for the modern small business owner who “wants to know exactly where their business stands at any moment.”
“They know exactly where their business stands at any moment,” he continued. “When you know how much is coming in and how much is going out in real time, you’re in control of your cash flow.”
Financial control isn’t just about looking at the books, either, Clarke said; it means taking action on the go, too.
“Every small business owner wants to get paid faster,” he explained. “And that starts with invoicing.” Cloud-based accounting tools mean mobile invoicing capabilities, which means a tighter grip on cash flow and faster movement of money. “The sooner you get the invoice out, the sooner you get paid,” said Clarke.
Cloud adoption is on the rise for businesses today. The latest research from North Bridge Growth Equity and Venture Partners found that more than three-quarters of businesses surveyed have some type of Software-as-a-Service tool in place — a 9 percent increase from the year before.
Still, there is some apprehension of the cloud, namely around data security and compliance.
Collectively, the adoption of technology comes down to four things, according to Clarke: “cost, efficiency, comfort and control.”
He went on to note that if small business owners are going to adopt a new tool, they must not only be sure that they can afford it but also expect that technology to lead to greater efficiency of their small business operations overall. Plus, he added, small business owners need to consider whether that technology is comfortable to use and puts them in control of the process they’re running.
Without these four features checked off the list, small business owners are unlikely to take a chance on an unfamiliar innovation. On the other hand, entirely avoiding new technologies could mean a business owner is missing out.
“Things like paper checks or Excel spreadsheets aren’t inherently bad,” Clarke said. “But if there’s a better way to do something that satisfies those [four] considerations, small business owners should explore it.”