Credit Card Processing for Accounting Firms and Private Accountants

The U.S. currently has over one million accounting positions, projected for 7% job growth. Accounting firms in this market have little room for customer service errors.

Accounting professionals must balance high professionalism with personable client service. Charging accounting services like a retail store may not be proper for a business owner's image.

Merchant services streamline the billing process under one system. It's a flexible and secure credit card processing solution for both CPAs and their clients.

Are you wondering how merchant services can work for your accounting firm? This article will help you understand the basics and benefits so you can have the best billing system.

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Payment Processing and Merchant Services

Payment processing and merchant services are similar, but they have important differences.

Payment processors deal with the charge, approval, and transfer process of electronic funds. It's how payments are transferred from client to business.

Merchant services refer to the entire system for electronic payments. This can include payment processing and systems software. 

Benefits of a Credit Card Processing Service for Accounting Firms

A CPA requires a system that allows clients to pay invoices, in-office charges, and reoccurring billing as efficiently as possible. Credit card processing is a must-have option for clients. Nowadays, people pay more by card than by check. Remote electronic payments are used just as much as in-person payments.

If your accounting business accepts credit cards, then you need a method to process them, whether it's through invoices, by phone, or with online invoicing.

Depending on your volume of client payments, your smartest decision would be to go with a merchant account provider.

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Low Fees

Credit card processing fees today can be hefty. They're also complicated. Between banks and credit card processing companies, they can take more from your revenue than you expect.

These fees include interchange fees, transaction fees, and service fees. Without a straightforward pricing structure, all the different fees are hard to track.

Merchant services simplify payment processing fees. And with transparent fee rates, you can tailor your custom pricing structure more easily to your business. 

 

Electronic Invoicing

Business owners can electronically generate and send invoices using a credit card processing company. Every client that chooses paperless invoicing / digital invoicing saves your accounting firm valuable time and office resources.

Online invoicing gives customers the ability to pay remotely at their own convenience. This will help them pay more on time.

The online invoicing feature also has the ability to send clients automatic reminders. They'll be less likely to miss a payment, and you'll be less likely to have awkward phone call conversations reminding them to pay.

 

Recurring Billing

When your accounting firm uses recurring billing, merchant services can send service charges at specified billing cycle intervals. To increase billing effectiveness, this system can also track all the charges for that time period, so you won't miss sending payments for different services.

Clients can set up their own automatic payments and reminders. And an itemized accounting bill is easier to understand online with help menus, "about this" hints, and a frequently asked questions section.

 

Data Security

A CPA works with highly sensitive information that can result in identity theft or fraudulent bank account charges if not kept safe. This includes tax documents, bank account numbers, and payment processing information.

Your own accounting system may be highly secure. But if your client sets up online account management for online transactions and automatic payments, all that information will be stored electronically by a third party.

Merchant Services with custom-tailored security measures ensure the payment processing system remains out of reach to data breaches and identity thieves.

 

PCI Compliance

Along with data security, the best credit card processing is PCI compliant. An accounting firm that is not PCI compliant risks legal fees and fines.

Merchant services are run by industry experts who understand payment security standards and stay up-to-date on its latest changes. These services implement and track your payment processing system, so it remains in compliance. 

 

Point-of-Sale (POS) Transactions

A CPA may need to charge one-time or in-office fees directly with the client. Using a merchant services provider is a more elegant solution to POS payment processing.

Instead of using a mobile card reader that is just convenient but not as professional, accounting firms can set up Virtual Terminal devices or touch-screen payment terminals in their office.

Customers can even access a terminal for payment on their personal phone or device. This will feel more secure than using a mobile card reader and will already have their payment information saved.

 

Standardized Service

You may have multiple ways to charge clients, but they should all be paid under one system. Multiple systems will be confusing for you and your own company accounting.

It will also be confusing and irritating for your clients. And they will have to repeatedly re-enter account and payment information for each separate payment processing system.

You can also face more payment processing fees. Merchant services consolidate everything into a cohesive billing system without multiple fees for the same services and without creating undue stress on your clients.

 

Payment Processing Analysis

One oft-overlooked benefit of merchant services is analytic tools. With these tools, you can track your CPA performance, the amount of money each service averages, what services clients prefer, and other helpful measures.

With payment analytics, you'll know if tax documents are your most popular service or if clients terminate services when they believe they've been overcharged.

You can see which months have more or less business. They can also aid in fraud detection. 

Payment processing analysis lets you know more about the client experience and how to better meet client expectations.

 

Customer Support

As a customer of merchant services, your accounting firm will get more personalized support than from credit card processing companies that only provide generalized service.

If your payment processing system goes down, you'll need fast and immediate customer support to get it back up. Without 24/7 live customer support, you'll lose money and even clients to system outages that aren't fixed in a timely or satisfactory manner.

 

Surcharge Systems

Some merchant services have the option for surcharge programs to offset credit card processing fees. This system adds a small fee to each client's bill for payment processing.

Surcharges may only cost clients a few extra dollars, but it can add up to huge savings for a company. Some states do not allow surcharges, however, and it can cost you overall client satisfaction.

A consultation with your payment processing provider can help you decide if surcharges are the right option for your accounting firm.

The Best Payment Processing for Accounting Services

 

use-credit-card-payments-for-your-accounting-servicesAccounting firms want to give their clients the best in professional and personal service. Timely and efficient payment processing for accounting services lets your clients know you have high standards for your company's production.

If you're ready to get started delivering a high-performance credit card processing service, contact EMS, the number one choice for accountants. For more information or support, call 800-726-2117 or fill out the form below. Our dedicated team members are always happy to be of assistance.

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