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Digital Banking

5 Things Your Small Business Accountholders Want

Julie Morlan
Jun 21, 2023

Serving small business accountholders is a hot topic, and for good reason.

Even with economic headwinds, more than 5 million new business applications were filed in the U.S. in 2022. The launch of so many new ventures – along with the opportunity to serve the other 33.2 million small businesses operating in the U.S. – creates a wealth of opportunity for banks and credit unions. And yet, only 18% of small businesses “completely agree” that traditional financial institutions are providing the services they need to effectively run the financial side of their business.

Fortunately, advances in digital technology mean you’re better positioned than ever before to provide small business tools and serve their banking needs.



With 95% of small business owners considering themselves heavy fintech users for both business and personal needs, it’s easier than ever to encourage adoption. Here are five things small businesses want that will help you earn and retain their business:

  1. The ability to keep personal assets separate from business finances. While more established businesses actively seek feature-rich business accounts to help manage their finances, many new businesses run transactions through their personal accounts at first.

    In fact, research from Autobooks and Segment
    ® reveals that, on average, 13% of your retail accounts are held by businesses. Beyond the compliance challenges this creates for you when businesses use consumer-focused services, commingling personal and business funds opens those individuals up to personal liability and financial risk.

    You can help these accountholders in two ways. First, take a look at your small business account structure and related services. Double-check that your accounts are affordable for start-ups or solopreneurs and that your digital tools are built to scale as their business grows. If you offer small business-focused loans or collaborate with the SBA or local community development organizations, let the community – and your front line employees – know.

    In addition, leverage transactional data to identify which retail accounts are likely serving businesses, and proactively reach out to those individuals. Confirming whether an account belongs to an individual or is actually a business in disguise will give you the opportunity to help people and businesses on a more personal level.

    Beyond showing that you know your accountholders, this gives you the opportunity to talk one-on-one about their business. In these conversations, you can uncover their current situation and aspirations. You can then provide tailored recommendations on how your financial institution can help them reach their goals and manage their day-to-day finances more effectively.
  2. Digital invoicing and payment acceptance tools. For many years, digital invoicing and payment acceptance tools were only available through third-party fintechs or merchant services relationships. As a result, many small businesses aren’t aware that digital invoicing can be included in their existing digital banking relationship. So they go elsewhere for this essential service.

    Beyond creating additional financial fragmentation, this practice creates a direct hit to your balance sheet. According to the 2022 Autobooks Small Business Data Report, only $1 of every $8 collected through a third-party like PayPal, Square, or Venmo to collect payments ever makes its way back to the primary financial institution.

    92% of U.S. small businesses interested in using fintech tools for billing, invoicing, and payment acceptance, it’s a fantastic time to embed digital invoicing and payment acceptance tools right into the digital banking experience.

    For those already using the Banno Digital Platform™, it’s simple: Autobooks has already built integrations that provide embedded invoicing and payment acceptance. You can enable them with the flip of a switch. If that’s not the right fit for your institution, it’s easy to embed an alternative fintech partner using open APIs and a toolkit integration. Either way, your small business accountholders will appreciate the ability to collect on their accounts receivable and manage their cash flow more effectively.

  3. Protection from fraud and cybercriminals. 66% of small business owners have experienced at least one digital security threat, and the number of business email compromise (BEC) attacks have increased 175% over the past two years.

    It’s an expensive problem, with BEC losses over $2.7 billion in 2022 alone according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report. Fortunately, it’s one you can help your business accountholders avoid when you provide a secure channel for financial conversations within the digital banking app.

    Rather than using email to discuss and approve higher-dollar and higher-risk transactions like wires or international ACH, you can offer businesses a tool like Conversations for Business. This gives them the ability to securely discuss and approve transactions behind a fully authenticated login within the digital banking experience.

    Employees can securely message the owner or another transaction approver, pull non-signers like a bookkeeper or attorney into a conversation, or even add a bank or credit union employee into the chat to answer questions.

    The ability to conduct business and converse about higher-risk transactions through a secure portal – and from any device or location – ensures your business accountholders can take care of business quickly, easily, and safely. They’ll appreciate how you protect them from the threat of business email compromise while making it easy to handle their financial transactions.

  4. A clear view of their financial picture. According to 11FS research, one of the top five small business needs is the ability to make smart and proactive business decisions based on their finances. And yet the ability to see all of their financial accounts in one place has remained a challenge, sending businesses toward fintech tools that utilize screen scraping to aggregate financial data.

    With 86% of U.S. small business owners indicating that they need a consolidated place to check in on the financial health of their business – and 87% wishing they could better use their business’ financial data to make informed decisions – it’s the perfect time to lend a hand.

    Connect with your digital banking technology provider and learn about their plans to eliminate screen scraping, and how they will empower your accountholders with visibility into their financial data sharing relationships. Then take it a step further and consider offering financial data aggregation within your digital banking experience.

    Rather than sending your business accountholders to third parties to gain the full view they need to run their businesses effectively, you can become the hub and a one-stop-shop where they can easily view the status of their financial lives.

  5. Flexible financial tools that grow with their business. Small businesses are born when an entrepreneur has an idea, service, or product to bring to the world. Executing that dream, rather than dealing with the financial minutiae of running a business, is where most small business owners’ passions lie.

    That’s why so many will turn to a quick Google search or query their community of business peers when they suddenly uncover a need for a financial solution, taking your business banking team’s expertise and suite of solutions right out of the equation.

    It underscores the need for your bank or credit union to be open about your available tools, and make it easy to add new products, services, or digital functionality. Look for a digital platform that helps your support team add functionality like ACH, wires, or employee entitlements with the switch of a toggle. You can also implement a loan origination platform that brings consumer and commercial lending out of silos and into a single, cohesive experience. It’s also crucial to deliver a true payments hub to your accountholders, making it fast and easy to accept and use the wide variety of payment methods on the market today. And don’t forget to use website and in-app marketing tools to deliver targeted and relevant messaging to your accountholders while they’re thinking about their finances.

Small business owners – as always – have a lot on their plates and are perpetually seeking solutions that create agility and financial resilience. With the right technology at your fingertips, you can deliver the small business tools today’s entrepreneurs want and need to operate in today’s fast-moving, complex business environment.

As a result, you’ll attract and retain businesses that can grow over time, bringing vibrancy to your community and strength to your institution’s bottom line.

Learn more about how Jack Henry™ can help you serve your small business accountholders.

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