The challenges posed by a post-pandemic world have affected organizations across the globe, no matter their scale. In the case of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), leveraging digital technology and harnessing its wide range of capabilities might just be the difference between successful adoption or failure to keep up.
During the enhanced community quarantine imposed last year, digital transactions surged by 18 percent, compared to pre-ECQ levels, the Bank of the Philippine Islands’ (BPI) Business Banking unit reported.
SMEs were among those that benefitted from this rise in digital transactions.
After all, many of them were already using digital solutions, allowing them to offer contactless and cashless options to serve their clients despite mobility restrictions brought about by the lockdowns.
To further enhance their services and, in effect, attract more customers, SMEs should also fortify their back-end processes.
“As businesses adjust to the changing consumer behavior, it is also important to prepare their back-end processes. And when they build their digital capabilities now, they will be ready for the resurgence in their businesses when the pandemic ends,” said the BPI head of Business Banking Eric Luchangco.
These digital capabilities include scheduling supplier and salary payments and digitizing bills and other financial transactions.
Specifically, for retailers and SMEs, mobile and online banking connects them to their customers, providing convenience to both parties. But establishing these solutions does not require significant investments from SMEs.
Business made easy
The goal of Business Banking is to help SMEs become more productive and efficient. Through BPI’s Internet banking platform BizLink, SMEs have access to a host of services that help keep their businesses running smoothly – access to accounts, transaction inquiries, download of bank statements, transfer of funds, and bills payments. SMEs can upload their payrolls, settle government payments, and approve check disbursements, all at their own convenience.
Moreover, BizLink also offers a Cross Border Funds Transfer feature, allowing customers to send and receive funds to and from foreign companies — an advantage that can help businesses go global.
Using this service, OF owners can send and receive funds instantly since processes are streamlined and transactions are quickly verified as these go through various clearing processes that include currency conversions.
Meanwhile, app users and SME owners can count on the app’s enhanced security as the platform utilizes data encryption technology (SSL 256-bit) to keep user data confidential when transmitted through the internet. Each user’s access to their company’s accounts can also be customized depending on the documentation submitted by the company.
“We continually work with our SME clients to help them operate efficiently in the new normal. Having an effective cash management tool will enable them adapt in the new business environment and puts them in a better position to thrive in the future. This will also help them reduce cash handling risks such as inaccurate payments and fraudulent activities while limiting physical interaction,” Mr. Luchangco said.
Linked to tech
To sum up, these are the transactions that SMEs can easily do via BizLink:
- Inquire and view account balances and transactions
- Download bank statements
- Transfer funds from one company account to another
- Pay employees, bills, government agencies, and BPI Accounts
Opening a BizLink account can be accomplished at any BPI branch by the company’s relationship manager.
Additional information and details on BizLink are easily available on its FAQs page.
Beyond the app
To further help SMEs grow via BizLink, BPI launched the BizTalk Online Webinar series. One of the series’ most popular webinars is the SME eForum, which, according to an entrepreneur, “provided me many insights that will guide us in our future plans for our business operations.”
The SME eForum taught us to be responsible in managing financial matters, another entrepreneur said.
Similarly, another webinar provided SMEs with a clearer and bigger picture in what is now known as the “New Normal.”
“This has raised my awareness about current trends and living in the new normal setup. All the panelists were knowledgeable and generous in sharing their wisdom,” an entrepreneur who attended the webinar said.
Another participant also shared that the webinar was “very inspiring.”
Meanwhile, the Innovations webinar also had great feedback. “This session was very helpful and informative. The choice of speakers was spot on. Thank you also for providing participants a copy of the presentation. It will allow us to go back to all the information shared and then digest, ponder, and, ultimately, act on,” said one business owner.
BPI BizLink offers a no-fuss service, since all users need is an internet connection. Users have the option to access their finances on its dedicated website at www.bpibizlink.com or its mobile application counterparts which are now live on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store which have been downloaded and installed more than 50,000 times.