You may have heard of the expression “drinking from the firehose.” You’ve probably experienced it – an information overload so extreme that the incoming becomes unintelligible; the press of incoming responsibilities overwhelming an already mile-long to-do list, making even the simplest task seem impossible to complete.
That’s how many small business owners feel every day, particularly when it comes to cash flow: daily ins and outs, fixed costs, unplanned expenditures, accounts payable, accounts receivable, all a gush of information from an
enormous pool of sources. It’s no wonder that when small businesses fail, 82 per cent of the time it’s due to ineffective cash flow management.
That’s why we partnered with Strands to enhance Business Financial Management (BFM), an AI-powered cash flow solution for small businesses. Our digital payments technology in the Strands BFM platform helps aggregate the daunting amount of data for easy-to-read, easy-to-understand financial analysis. It’s digital, automated and intuitive, turning a torrent of information into a navigable stream and making the seemingly impossible task of cash flow management possible for even the most novice of business owners.
There are a few key differentiators in BFM that make it most valuable for small business owners: first, they are able to pull inputs from other financial management tools housing a business’s data (e.g. receivables, collections and invoices) and use that information to better understand their position. By synthesizing this data, small business owners can see and understand where they’ve been, where they are and where they’re going. This is a powerful tool that can inform strategic decision making.
AI-enabled solutions also help keep things in order and on track. Through AI and machine learning, BFM can track various payment methods or invoice due dates for vendors and suppliers. Accounts payables, receivables, budgets and inventory become manageable, and small business owners get personalized alerts with various options for when and how to pay. An interactive heat map that displays spending patterns creates a visual representation of the data – another way BFM helps small business owners easily interpret and analyze a deluge of information.
Even with a profitable, sound business model, small businesses are in danger of drowning without an effective cash flow management solution. While some small businesses are only looking for short-term cash flow solutions, integrated BFM platforms can benefit those seeking predictive analytics and tailored insights, capabilities that are often overlooked by the most common banking solutions.
We saw a real opportunity to change the game for small businesses. By coupling all the features Strands has to offer with Mastercard’s proven technology (products) and scale, we can help solve the short-term financing needs of small business in real time and make a true difference in their daily operations and long-term success.
The Mastercard-Strands solution was officially unveiled on the FinovateSpring 2019 stage in San Francisco.