PALO ALTO, Calif. — Bill.com, the leader in integrated bill payment, invoicing and cash flow management solutions for businesses, today released a survey revealing the three barriers that are keeping the franchise industry from reaching its true potential.
Bill.com surveyed 460 owners and finance leaders of franchises to discover what were the top issues facing the franchise industry today. Respondents identified three major obstacles to growth:
managing and controlling costs;
accurately anticipating cash flow; and
suffering day-to-day distractions from long-term goals.
Of the respondents, 70 percent own and operate one store while 30 percent were multi-unit owners. 49 percent of respondents owned franchises in the business service space while 15 percent were restaurant/quick service restaurants (QSRs). Despite these differences, across the board, 70 percent of respondents said that their number one challenge as a franchise owner was managing costs, and a great deal of respondents cited the struggles of managing too many invoices and documents as the main reason why they were losing control of their costs.
Another major hindrance to franchise growth identified was the ability to manage cash flow, with more than 50 percent highlighting this as a primary impediment to their success. Indeed, one of the biggest advantages the respondents identified for automating their payables and receivables process was the ability to track due dates and sync with their accounting systems, so that they could finally get a clear view of their financial status at any time.
Beyond cash flow visibility and management issues, two-thirds of respondents simply felt that the amount of time sunk into financial details is distracting them from long-term planning. 77 percent said that reducing the amount of paperwork they have and moving to a paperless system was important.
Automation Seen As The Solution
Respondents to the survey identified back office automation as a way to overcome these obstacles to success. With automation, tasks associated with the process of paying and getting paid that used to eat up weeks every month are now able to be finished in just minutes a day with solutions such as Bill.com. This means franchise staff can spend time much more productively – doing things like helping open more stores rather than tracking down paperwork.
The survey also revealed that early adopters of automated cash flow systems are leading the industry in cost and time efficiency, creating an unlevel playing field that leaves those franchises with manual systems at a disadvantage. Franchises using automated systems are able to expand more rapidly, with 45 percent of respondents believing that an automated cash flow system could help them rake in their receivables 2-3 times faster.
“This survey validated what we have seen through the success of our many franchise customers: automation is a critical ingredient in helping franchises reach their true potential,” said René Lacerte, founder and CEO, Bill.com. “With their dispersed locations and employees, it is hard to imagine how franchises could find any success in a paper-based environment. By tapping into the efficiency and power of the Cloud, franchises can finally grow quickly while maintaining precise control of business operations.”
A full white paper, “How to Super-Size Franchise Success: Survey Reveals Top Three Barriers to Growth, Identifies Financial Automation as Solution,” is available today for free download from http://cashflow.bill.com/rs/bill/images/WP_supersize_franchise_success.pdf.
Bill.com is the home of the fastest-growing business payments network in the nation, enabling 200,000 users to pay and get paid millions of bills worth billions of dollars. The Bill.com Business Payments Network™ brings small-to-medium businesses simple online bill payment, custom invoicing services, unlimited document storage, workflow collaboration, and the ability to access their back office from anywhere via any mobile device. Bill.com's services easily sync to users' accounting software and online bank accounts to better control company financials while also guarding against errors and offering enterprise-class fraud protection that current methods cannot match. Bill.com serves customers through its direct, accountant and bank channels, bringing together people, systems and documents to redefine how business payments are made