06Jun

What the ATM did for getting cash, the covid pandemic is doing for many other banking services.

More than ever, customers are turning to online banking to pay bills, transfer funds, and handle transactions they would have visited a branch for just a few months ago.

Baby Boomers, the generation most reluctant to have downloaded their bank’s mobile app, have embraced online banking in record numbers. Shortly after businesses were ordered closed, The Senior List found 77% of older Americans had conducted a financial transaction online.

This embrace of mobile banking is one of the banking trends that is here to stay, says an article in Forbes.

“It’s not just Boomers who are swiping right on online banking,” says Forbes. Citing a Boston Consulting Group survey conducted in June, the article notes that in the first three months of the pandemic 44% of 18-34 year olds enrolled for the first time in online or mobile banking.

Overall, Fidelity National Information Services, a service provider to the banking industry, reported new mobile banking registrations increased by 200%, and mobile banking traffic increased 85%.

“Once customers experience the convenience of mobile, they very well may never go back to traditional banking,” the Forbes article says. The Boston Group found a quarter of the new remote banking users claim they will visit bank branches less frequently in the future or not at all.

While e-commerce has exploded during the pandemic, banks have taken steps to streamline the payment process in brick and mortar stores. Forbes says some banks upgraded physical debit and credit cards to enable tap to pay. “Consumer usage of platforms like Apple Pay and retailer deployment of embedded contactless payment terminals like Square has also reached unprecedented levels,” the article reports.

In one area that before COVID hadn’t attained much traction, fintech startups and the industry generally have seen a spurt in demand for money management tools. Though 75% of respondents to a survey reported never using a personal finance app, since the pandemic 16% have. Here, it’s Gen Z and Boomers that are more aggressively turning to these services. A SYKES survey reported 23% of Gen Z and 18% of Boomers said they were new users to personal finance and budget apps.

“Fintech is an ever-evolving landscape — and it’s one that the pandemic has sent shock waves rippling throughout,” says Forbes, which concludes on this note: “Thanks to fundamental shifts in the way consumers perceive and depend upon digital finance tools today, these fintech trends just may stick around long after people have holstered their hand sanitizer.”

Photo by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash

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Jun 6, 2023

2020’s Best Accounting Firms Are All Pandemic Winners

What are some of the best accounting firms to work for?

Accounting Today knows. Over the summer, the publication announced the best small, mid-sized, and large accounting firms to work for. Now, culled from more than 250 entrants, the lists have been compiled in a special supplement appropriately entitled, “Best Firms to Work For 2020.”

The 100 firms (based on size) are as small as Measured Results CPAs 16 employees to Kearney & Co.’s 677 and hail from all parts of the nation. Yet what they all have in common is they’ve learned how to adapt and even thrive in a business environment unlike any other.

Some, like New Jersey’s WilkenGuttenplan (ranked 17th among mid-sized firms) already had a remote culture. Transitioning their 124 employees to full-time remote work was “seamless,” the firm said. The firm holds online social hours and coffee breaks and encourages all communication among the staff be by video.

Others had to learn how to work remotely. The No. 1 ranking mid-sized firm, Martin Starnes & Associates in North Carolina, said that since going fully remote, they’ve adapted to remote hiring and onboarding and helped their clients with limited computer skills become more fluent. “We have new ways to communicate and get what we need from our clients.”

These “best firms” all had to confront the kind of work-life balance and other issues that have always existed, but which the COVID pandemic suddenly brought front and center.

“Today’s workforce compels us to think about things like alternative work arrangements, diversity, technology, and job satisfaction,” Rockville, Maryland’s E. Cohen & Co. told Accounting Today. The firm says it’s “met this challenge head on by creating a positive work environment.” That it has indeed is borne out by the firm’s low, 6% turnover.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

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