Why cash could be costing your business

Do you remember the last time you were waiting in line to make a purchase only to see a ‘cash only’ sign sitting on the till? Or when a tradesman insisted on cash payment after finishing a job at your home?

Maybe you had to put whatever you were planning to buy back on the shelf and leave without it, or apologetically dash out to make a withdrawal from the nearest ATM.

Or perhaps you once lost a customer’s business or had to direct them to the closest ATM when they realised they couldn’t pay via card? Situations like this can be frustrating for both the customer and the business.

It isn’t too surprising that recent ATO research shows that this cash-only approach to payments could be damaging to small businesses across Australia. Research revealed nearly half of Australians felt inconvenienced when confronted with a ‘cash only’ sign.

As we move to an increasingly cashless economy, consumers are also becoming increasingly sceptical of the motivation for refusing electronic payments, with two-thirds simply assuming that these businesses aren’t paying the right amount of tax.

This is unfortunate because most cash-only businesses are run by honest, hardworking Australians. These people are a valuable part of our economy but many continue to run their businesses as they have for many years and believe it is what is best for their business.

This may well be the case depending on each business’ individual circumstances. However, the research also found that more than 40% of cash-only businesses have actually never investigated electronic payment systems before. These business owners could be missing out on opportunities to make their businesses easier to run.

Electronic payments are more efficient and secure than cash payments, and also make it easier to keep detailed records. More than 90% of businesses already accept electronic payments.

People are increasingly demanding the flexibility of cashless payment options so it could be a good opportunity to investigate different options.

You can find out more about electronic payment systems at ato.gov.au/electronicpayments and more about record keeping at ato.gov.au/electronicrecordkeeping. For further information on tools and services to support your small business, visit ato.gov.au/SBsupport

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