by Dave Voris, vice president, regional treasury management officer, Horizon Bank

The pandemic continues to provide organizations and their employees the opportunity to rethink whether they should return to a five-day work week in the office versus spending more time in a virtual environment.

In LinkedIn’s year-end roundup of workplace trends to watch in 2021, Harvard Business School’s Ashley Whillans predicted that companies will need to accommodate employees who have adjusted to a new routine: ” Employees will demand greater flexibility and organizations will require it. Companies may let employees work from home two or more days per week, with some opting for three days in office, two days remote, and then two days off — a 3-2-2 workweek.”

To support this new hybrid work schedule, the latest in basic banking systems will allow employees to manage finances without being tied to the office. First, digital conveniences such as online banking have provided remote capabilities for years. Treasurers can safely log into their accounts via smartphone or laptops to review balances, to view history of posted transactions, to transfer funds between accounts, to submit any stop payments, or to approve any fraud suspects that surfaced as a result of Positive Pay service.

Also, since many not-for-profits continue receive checks from donors, employees can easily deposit them into a bank account using mobile check deposit through an app. This process is very efficient for organizations that receive a relatively low volume of checks.

For not-for-profit organizations that use “Donate Here” buttons on their websites, donors can safely make one-time or repeat donations via credit card without the not-for-profit organization needing to be in direct contact with the donor. In addition, other not-for-profit organizations accept credit cards at events, despite the continued presence of the pandemic. Such mobile credit card acceptance can be easily facilitated with an app downloaded on the smart phone and supported by a handheld “card swipe” device that is about the size of your palm. All of these techniques are readily available, and very affordable, using standard banking technology.

Disbursements must be mentioned within this context of remotely working. In other words, can you pay bills without being in the office to write checks? Many organizations are adopting business bill payment systems that can be accessed via the bank’s smart phone or via the client’s laptop. These systems allow the treasurer to define payees, schedule payments, select between sending a paper check or an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transaction, and approve such payments even with dual control between two separate people.

In addition, these processes — which typically are 50 cents to 75 cents per payment — are typically less expensive than what several industry articles have suggested over the years as a total cost for sending a paper check — approximately $1.50. That paper check cost includes an assumption about the costs of envelope, paper check, postage, bank charges, and reconciliation time.

These are numerous examples that demonstrate various digital techniques about how receipts, disbursements, and information reporting can be managed within a virtual environment without the need for the treasurer to be in attendance at the office.

So, the answer is yes, not-for-profit organizations are efficiently able to conduct banking as more organizations in a remote work environment with these digital banking conveniences.

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