Payments company Square commissioned the research to investigate the amount of time SMEs are spending counting and banking cash.
It found the process of having employees balance registers, count monies and deposit cash sums to the bank takes an average of 216 hours each year. That is just under 29 standard business days of 7.5 hours.
According to Square, that works out at a labour cost of some $8.7 billion annually for the country’s SMEs.
“Australia has one of the most advanced payments markets in the world, particularly when it comes to contactless, so being a cash-only business now just doesn’t cut it,” said Square Australian manager Ben Pfisterer.
“Running a business is challenging and requires a lot of effort to attract customers, so it makes no sense to then lose a sale because you don’t allow them to pay the way they want.
“We need to debunk the myth that accepting card payments is more complicated and expensive than cash, because there is actually a very real financial cost to every business that handles and manages cash — and it’s even greater for those that are cash-only.”
On the flip side, however, business leaders have previously noted that there are substantial costs associated with electronic payments too – some of which are passed onto disgruntled customers.
Additionally, electronic payments can be less reliable, as they are vulnerable to poor internet connections/speeds and power failures, as well as technical glitches on the bank’s end, such as that which happened recently to CBA.
These counterclaims about the benefits of cash were highlighted in response to similar claims by the ATO that cash is business unfriendly.