Payment Systems 101

6 min read
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Your startup is about to become an actual business. Without your cash flowing efficiently, you won’t be a business for long. You’ve got staff who will all need paying at the end of the month. How are you going to make sure they get paid on time? Even if you’ve hired an accountant, you’ll need to choose the right software to make sure everything works smoothly.

Small businesses used to get stung by expensive and complex payment systems. But there are now many low-cost, easy-to-use payment services apps that can help your business to thrive.

For a long time, manual accounting methods were the only reliable way for businesses to keep track of cash flow, but these have always been time-consuming and can be error-prone if logged by time-poor colleagues. Enter the internet-enabled, cloud-based payments and accounting apps that have revolutionized bookkeeping tasks, especially for businesses operating with very small margins.

None of the apps available at the moment can replicate the full skill-set of an actual accountant, but online payment systems can track, record and action essential financial tasks.

Why choose the cloud?

The cloud makes software and data accessible online anytime, anywhere and from any device. This means that there’s no need to install and run applications over a desktop computer. Instead, businesses subscribe to an online software package that can be incorporated into your whole company’s device network. This means that accounting and payments systems can be tailor-made for businesses of every size, and are very easy to scale up or down.

Pinpoint your accounting software needs

In order to stay solvent, all businesses, whatever their size, will operate various forms of time-tracking and monitoring of billable hours, creating and sending invoices for goods or services, and recording all expenses.

Depending on your company’s particular requirements, you can choose your payments system provider based on individual components. Some core functions that all companies should consider include:

  • Accounts payable – all bills and money owed

  • Accounts receivable – all money received

  • Billing – invoices to clients and customers

  • Expenses – employees’ business-related expenses

  • Payroll – salaries and related taxes

  • Inventory – goods and stock

  • Time sheets – employees’ and contractors’ records of time worked

But remember, if your company does business all over the world, you will need a solution that includes various currencies and can support international financial transactions. These days, customers often expect to pay for goods and services directly from the businesses that are offering them. So, it’s essential to provide payment methods that are secure and easy to use, for both your customers and suppliers alike.

piggy bank

Payment solutions for your business

Consider the following payment systems options to help your business thrive:


  • Platforms: Web and mobile
  • Resources covered: Instant purchase, customer segmentation, visual merchandising
  • Cloud-based: Yes
  • Integrations: Web e-commerce platforms

The e-commerce website enhancer allows e-commerce businesses to craft personalized shopping experiences for customer segments. Use visual merchandising tools to create dynamic category pages and create, preview, and schedule a wide range of content updates without involving external IT departments. Best of all, it is seamlessly integrated with DHL software, making global deliveries as simple as possible.


  • Platforms: Web and mobile
  • Resources covered: Outgoings, receipts
  • Cloud-based? Yes
  • Integrations: None

Apart from invoicing and expense management, this payment service can also help you stay compliant with accounting regulations by optimizing expense processes. Take pictures of receipts with the Concur app and submit them to make expense claims, making them simple and quick for managers to manage and approve. You can add as many business bank cards as you want, and there’s also integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) to give you a complete view of your budget and forecasts.

mobile phone being used for contactless payment


  • Platforms: Web and mobile
  • Resources covered: Outgoings, receipts, reports
  • Cloud-based? Yes
  • Integrations: None

This software automatically tracks your income and expenses and is available in both web and mobile versions. Connect your bank account or credit card to the app, and it will monitor expenses so that your employees are reimbursed promptly. It also includes a calculator for real-time tax savings – and you can also get tailored tax reports detailing all your finances to give to your accountant.


  • Platforms: Web and mobile
  • Resources covered: Outgoings, receipts, reports
  • Cloud-based? Yes
  • Integrations: Sage, Oracle, QuickBooks

Through the app, you can scan your receipts and log your outgoings, then generate reports and submit them to managers for approval. And because Expensify analyzes your company policies, it knows exactly what to send. The software also features an automatic reimbursement system, which will rapidly deliver money to employee bank accounts, based on your accounting reports.


  • Platforms: Web and mobile
  • Resources covered: E-commerce customer payments, invoicing
  • Cloud-based? Yes
  • Integrations: Web platforms

Available in 202 countries and territories, and 25 currencies, PayPal Business allows card payments via PayPal on e-commerce websites, so customers don’t need to enter their debit/credit card details and other information every time they shop. It also features built-in fraud protection. Businesses can also choose a number of ways to take PayPal payments, including via mobile, eBay, and over the telephone.

mobile phone with Gpay


  • Platforms: Web and mobile
  • Resources covered: Expenses, invoices, bank account management
  • Cloud-based? Yes
  • Integrations: No

Features real-time dashboards so you can keep up to date with financial transactions as they happen, by capturing all receipts on your mobile devices. You can also track invoices to make sure your employees get paid on time, and chase them up when a client’s payment is overdue. The app also provides VAT tracking compliant with HMRC standards in the UK.


  • Platforms: Web and mobile
  • Resources covered: Expenses, receipt scanning
  • Cloud-based? Yes
  • Integrations: Sage, SAP, QuickBooks

You can upload receipts with the app or via email. Once you’ve done that, it’ll extract the most important data and organize everything based on projects and categories – reports can be generated in the form of XML, PDF, CSV and XLS files. There’s also the option to log cash advances and mileages, and you can set up groups such as ‘offices’ and ‘branches’, to help you organize all the data.

The future of payment systems

Ultimately, cloud and mobile accounting tools will give business owners a better understanding of their costs and expenditures, letting you make more informed purchase and investment decisions. The latest reports indicate that mobile accounting will only become more popular in the coming years, with business looking forward to enjoying improved user experience and an increase in depth of functionality.