P.F.G. Syndrome - Does your business have it?
If you started your business back in the mid to late nineties and opened up your business bank account, your bank or financial services provider probably provided you with three things.
These would have been a cheque book, a deposit book, and also some form of online banking solution which would revolutionise the way you balanced your accounts and processed your payments.
Back in those days, 'online banking' was the tool that businesses used if they wanted to keep up with the times. It consisted of some form of banking software being loaded onto an office PC and a dial-up modem that would connect to your bank or financial service provider at pre determined times. Because transaction details were not reported in real time, the software would act as a ledger balancing system based on the previously picked up statement and transaction data.
It was a thing of beauty. No longer did you have to write a cheque, pop it in an envelope and wait for someone in the office to make their way to a post box to send it off, nor did you have to wait for large paper statements to come in the mail to reconcile the payments you had received in your account.
Somehow, with an account name and account number, you could send money from your bank account to anyone else with a few taps on your keyboard, the screeching of a modem, and a confirmation report advising that your payment had been processed.
In more recent times, PC banking software along with dial up modems have become a thing of the past. Access to your accounts is made available via your banks' website, and payments can be made and processed through most electronic devices that can access the internet.
Banks, financial services and payments companies have given its consumers what they want which is the ease in which they can make payments, yet there are still many people out there that take their Payments For Granted, or as I like to call it P.F.G. Syndrome.
Can you imagine if banking or making payments had not progressed to a web-based environment, and that with just a few clicks of your mouse or taps of your finger you could send money to anyone in the world.
Postal delivery services and paper and print companies would be still be manufacturing, printing and delivering the 70 billion cheques that were written in the US in 2001 or the 1.14 billion cheques that were written in the UK at the same time as well as the billions of other cheques that were written around the world.
Companies would lose time depositing these cheques, waiting at least 3 days for funds to clear (unless the cheques bounced), and then chasing up the so-called cheques that were "lost in the mail" from their debtors. Commerce would slow down and the world would return to a pace similar to that of the 1980's.
In this day and age where there are numerous methods in which payments can be made (and received), I find it quietly amusing when clients take their P.F.G. and complain about things such as the number of 'clicks' it takes to prepare a payment, or to upload a payment file that will see hundreds of payments dispersed to their staff members, whereas without this technology, the process would be a lot more tedious and costly.
As per a definition of "Syndrome" being the characteristic combination of opinions, emotions, or behaviours, the cure is simple. Businesses need to understand their current payments processing platform and the simplicity it creates in their working day thus changing their opinion on the number of 'clicks' it takes to process the numerous payments that they need to make in order to operate on a daily basis.
Whether this is done by providing them with demonstrations on best practice for processing payments, implementing an accounting package or a Straight Through Processing (STP) solution that will streamline their payments and reconciliation process or completely switching banking and payments providers to one that suits their needs.
Unfortunately doing any of the above is not as easy as it seems, as human nature is (not always, but often) opposed to change, and therefore the opinions, emotions and behaviours of those using online banking or payment services will always take what they have for granted.
Educating clients play a key part in curing P.F.G Syndrome and ensures that opinions and behaviours are changed so that users can get the most benefit out of their banking and payments services.
And with that, the road to recovery begins. Clients with P.F.G. Syndrome see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the beauty of how simple banking and payment providers have made their lives. Whether it takes three clicks or six clicks to process a payment becomes a non-issue, and users of online banking and payment technology move forward, accept change and make my life and the world a better place.
Meet the Author
George Solomos is a passionate cards and payments specialist. His experience throughout his career has seen him manage and structure the in-house treasury and payments processes for some of the largest companies in Australia and globally.
Currently working as a private consultant, George assists start-ups and existing businesses with services ranging from establishing and streamlining payments processes, though to the most complex requirements of centralised treasury and cash management procedures.
If you have any cards or payments related queries, you can message George via LinkedIn