The 11 most common financial operations challenges for Australian small businesses

Isabelle Comber10 minutes
Business tips
The 11 most common financial operations challenges for Australian small businesses
In this article
  • What are the most common financial operations challenges for small businesses?
  • We love to solve complex problems. 

As a small business owner, there’s nothing more frustrating than facing endless hurdles when you’re trying to grow.

You can’t be an expert in everything. After all, you started your business because you had a vision and big ambitions, not because you’re particularly skilled with finances. You don’t have time to be spending hours on paperwork and finance admin, which is tricky because financial operations are an essential piece of the puzzle.

So how do successful businesses do it all? Well in reality, they don’t

It’s a cliche because it’s true, you need to ‘work smarter, not harder’. For every problem you come across when it comes to financial operations, there’s a tool that can help you solve it. You don’t have to be an expert, you just need to be in the know. 

Small businesses are the backbone of the Australian economy, making up 97% of the total business count. At Airwallex, we’re passionate about helping every single one of them solve everyday financial operations challenges. Here’s how we do it.

What are the most common financial operations challenges for small businesses?

1. You’re working with a major bank, and it’s causing major problems

When you started your business, you decided to bank with one of the big banks because it made the most sense. Here’s an institution that you’ve probably banked with before, plus – lots of businesses use them and you know your finances will be secure. 

It’s true, the big banks have been trusted by many businesses. But for businesses that want to scale rapidly, expand overseas and create unique customer experiences – legacy options that weren’t purpose-built for SMEs are falling short. Banking with them can often involve hidden fees, costly foreign exchange, forced settlements, inflexible term deposits and hours spent on hold with customer service (listening to the world’s worst hold music). 

The Solution: Airwallex was created to help businesses of all sizes grow without limits. We’re here to help streamline your financial operations so that you can focus on business growth, not financial admin. We’re not a legacy business, which means we’re agile and constantly evolving our products to fit your needs better, while always being secure and trusted. 

2. Taking online payments is full of complexities

No matter what kind of business you run, taking and making online payments will be critical – but it can be a massive headache if you’re not using good tools. Circulating bank details to customers, taking credit card payments over the phone or using clunky payment providers; this costs teams hundreds of hours a year. 

The Solution: Using Airwallex’s Payments and Plugins features and integrations, Australian businesses are able to automate payment process. We can help you accept payments from customers around the world via their preferred payment methods (including Apple Pay). 

3. Your customer experience is overcomplicated

In our distracting world, every second that a customer spends considering your business or products is at risk. The possibility of cart abandonment is brutal, with studies suggesting that rates are as high as 70%.

You can see that customers are visiting your website, maybe even starting the customer journey, but just aren’t committing. A clunky payments process is likely to be a significant contributing factor. 

The Solution: Again, our Payments and Plugins products are the answer. Easily integrate with popular platforms or create shareable Payment Links rapidly.

4. You keep getting hit with costly conversion fees

Pretty much all businesses these days are global. Even if you’re an Aussie company, selling to your local community, chances are that part of your supply chain is international. 

Massive conversion fees are a nasty surprise that most businesses encounter. Sometimes you can even feel the pain with double conversions when dealing with merchant fees. These eat into your bottom line and compromise already slim margins. 

The Solution: Our solution allows you to collect and hold multiple currencies without being subject to FX fees and spend the currencies as and when required. An Airwallex Global Account can do exactly that; they’ve helped our clients save thousands in fees.

5. You’re lacking visibility over your finances

When you’re running a business, money is moving everywhere. Supplier and vendor payments, subscriptions, customer transactions, bills, employee expenses… The list goes on. And if you lose track of any of these movements, your operations can quickly descend into chaos.

Financial operations are critical to the success of your business. A birds-eye, real-time view of money movement is absolutely essential.

The Solution: The Airwallex Dashboard is your gateway to everything financial operations. Straightforward to navigate and – we’ll say it – beautiful to look at, keeping track of money movement has never been easier. 

[A sneak peek of the Airwallex Dashboard, open onto the Global Accounts tab]

6. Bills are being misplaced, delaying payments

Bills are an unavoidable part of running a business. Pay them late, and you risk being hit with hefty fees. Misplace them, and could create an administrative nightmare for yourself at EOFY. 

Multiple approvals of bills can create even more chaos if you don’t have the tools to set up workflows properly. With every new person who needs to sign off on a bill, you risk it getting lost in chains of emails or spreadsheets.

The Solution: Never lose track of a bill again. With Airwallex Bill Pay you can upload, approve, pay, and reconcile domestic and international bills – from your desktop or on-the-go on our mobile app. You can easily create multi-layer workflows and we’ll even send your team helpful notifications when bills are waiting for approval or payment. 

7. You can’t keep track of your team’s spending

Expense management is another one of those tricky money movement issues that can see small businesses accidentally misplace funds. This can be frustrating for employees and administrative teams; with receipts floating around, approvals can easily be missed and mysterious costs can pop up. 

The Solution: Like Bill Pay, Airwallex’s Expense Management product empowers your team to submit their expenses on-the-go. With the help of Borderless Cards, your team can pay for goods and services in their required currency, snap a pic of their receipt and upload it to the platform. You can also sync expenses to your accounting software to close your books faster each month.

8. You’re waiting by the mailbox for company cards

While we’re on the topic of company cards, who has time to wait four to six business days to get their cards issued by the bank? With new and existing team members, you want them to move quickly and not be held up with their work while waiting for access to company funds. 

The Solution: Forget waiting for a physical card in snail mail, Airwallex’s Virtual Cards can be issued in seconds and distributed to your team to use from their phones straight away.

9. You’re wasting time and compromising security on data entry between software 

Moving data manually between programs is tedious and often risky, with human error potentially compromising security. In light of the recent customer data hacks from huge Australian brands like Optus and Medibank, business cybersecurity is in the spotlight right now.

It’s not only your time that’s on the line, it’s also your reputation. You want financial data to flow around your platforms seamlessly, and through as few hands as possible.

The Solution: There’s priceless value for businesses in software integrations. When your tech stack seamlessly integrates, you know that the right data is moving to the right place. There’s no more messy data entry, and you can run your business with more accuracy (and less stress!). Check out Airwallex’s full suite of integrations.

10. Your funds aren’t working for you

Every second of every day, your money should be working for you. If you have been raising funds through seed rounds, or just a cash reserve to fuel future projects, any finances should be earning you returns.

With the major banks, however, it’s generally only term deposits that are on offer. Your money is locked up, and off limits for a set period. This doesn’t work for small businesses, who often need access to their cash at short notice. 

The Solution: Airwallex Yield is an exciting new product that’s challenging the status quo when it comes to returns. Businesses can grow multi-currency cash balances with low-risk, highly graded liquid investments that have no minimum lock-up period or penalties.

Aussie tech company LeonardoAI found that it was the best option for them to grow their investment, while also giving them flexible access to their capital. “The Airwallex Yield product gives us over 4% on our USD balances, with usually a two or three business day turnaround time if we need the funds,” says CFO Chris Gillis. 

11. You worry about the security of your funds

New financial technologies can be appealing, but can they really keep your funds secure? Small businesses operate on small margins – if you were to lose a big chunk of change, it could be devastating enough to make you close up shop. 

As this is a big concern for small businesses, many end up going with the major banks – and losing out on all the benefits that modern finance tech can offer. 

The Solution: With Airwallex, the security of your money is our number one priority. Airwallex meets the highest international security standards including PCI DSS, SOC1, and SOC2 compliance, in addition to our local regulatory requirements; Airwallex holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL No. 487221) and is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). 

We love to solve complex problems. 

We’ve solved common (and uncommon) business challenges for over 100,000 Australian businesses. If you’re ready to put us to the test and see your growth trajectory soar, sign up for your free global account today

Disclaimer: This information doesn’t take into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. If you are a customer of Airwallex Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 487221) it is important for you to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the Direct Services, which is available here. If you are a customer of Airwallex Capital Pty Ltd (Authorised Rep No. 001304702), it is important for you to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for Airwallex Yield, which will be made available to you at the time of onboarding. Airwallex Yield is brought to you by Airwallex Capital Pty Ltd (Authorised Rep No. 001304702). All investments carry risk. *Target returns are after fees and accurate and updated as at 24 January, 2024 (AEDT).

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Isabelle Comber
Business Finance Writer

Izzy is a business finance writer for Airwallex. She specialises in thought leadership that empowers businesses to grow without boundaries.

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This information doesn’t take into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. If you are a customer of Airwallex Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 487221) it is important for you to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the Direct Services, which is available here. If you are a customer of Airwallex Capital Pty Ltd (Authorised Rep No. 001304702), it is important for you to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for Airwallex Yield, which will be made available to you at the time of onboarding. Airwallex Yield is brought to you by Airwallex Capital Pty Ltd (Authorised Rep No. 001304702). All investments carry risk. *Target returns are after fees and accurate and updated as at 9 April, 2024 (AEDT).

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