This is a guest post by Soldo, a partner with StateZero who offer prepaid cards for company and employee expenses.

The most prevalent challenge facing startups is having to juggle all aspects of business without necessarily having the internal resources to do so. And once a startup has grown enough to have a designated role coordinating finance, often that role is wide-ranging, involving strategy, governance and employment, in addition to number crunching.

To develop a financially secure business, it’s crucial for startups to put in place the appropriate financial infrastructure from the start. All-encompassing financial technology solutions are readily available in the marketplace and can transform the way startups address financial challenges, enabling them to grow revenue and deliver results.

Here are our top tips to help startups achieve a financially secure business:

1)    Implement a simple payment solution

When running a startup, it can seem as though all the money is going out the door and not coming in. So it’s essential that, once you have a product or service on the market, you make it easy and efficient for customers to pay for it.

Managing Director of The Numbercrunchers, Howard Smith, advises: “make sure it is clear and easy for your customers to pay you. Do not create barriers to receiving money.”

Using fully-integrated global payment platforms is a simple solution to collecting payments either for one-off payments or subscription services. Stripe or Paypal can streamline the process of receiving customer payments, enabling startups to use developer-centric technology to optimise and grow revenue.

2)    Automate expenses

Startups have limited resources and don’t have time to waste on mundane tasks which could be automated. One such task is expenses. No one at a startup should be spending their Sunday evenings on the sofa going through their bank statements and filling out Excel spreadsheets. More importantly, finance personnel and/or owners shouldn’t have to spend unnecessary time doing financial detective work. A YouGov survey of 4,000 businesses revealed 36% of UK businesses spent unnecessary time every month doing financial detective work to find out who spent what.

Make expense claim submissions as easy as possible for staff. Try to get people into the habit of submitting expenses on the go. It will mean you have real-time information, but it also makes them much less likely to lose a receipt.” Laura Beales, Financial Manager of The Accountancy Cloud

Modern fintech solutions offer simple and cheap means to automate expenses, whether it’s combined with payment cards, like Soldo, or a standalone solution like Receipt Bank.

“Companies like Soldo, that offer smart company payment cards, can provide a straightforward means of automating the expense management process. There is a lot that can be done to help your business these days.” Howard Smith, Managing Director of The Numbercrunchers

3)    Implement a full-service payroll solution

A sure sign of growth for any startup is having to hire more people. However, with the excitement of bringing in new skills comes the responsibility of wages you must pay every month – people are relying on you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your only expense will be your employee’s salary. Employees are expensive. Aside from salaries (from which you must deduct any PAYE taxes), there are several other costs including employer’s liability insurance and auto-enrolment pension contributions.

To keep on top of your game, make sure you implement a full-service payroll solution for like Gusto, which provides a cloud-based payroll, benefits, and human resource management solution for businesses of all sizes.

4)    Track and monitor all spending

Cash flow is king when operating a Startup. It doesn’t matter how good your idea is if your run out of money. Since it might take years until you’re self-sustaining, finding a way to maintain a healthy cash flow is essential. You need to know where every single pound is coming from and where every single penny is going. When on a tight budget, you’ll be surprised just how much of a difference a minor expense can make.

“You need to monitor all costs closely and really challenge yourself and your team on which of these costs is actually contributing to business growth. Hold staff accountable for what they budgeted and get them involved in the conversation as required.” Laura Beales, Financial Manager of The Accountancy Cloud

With the right financial app or platform, you can track spending easily and get a much clearer insight into the real state of your finances, instead of waiting to completely run out of cash. Some of these apps are free, while some are more than worth paying for.

5)    Establish a simple accounting solution

Grappling with various accounts can be overwhelming and time consuming. Accounting software providers, such as Xero, QuickBooks and Sage, offer cloud-base products with a variety of features. They can help with automatic bank and credit card account feeds, invoicing, accounts payable, expense claims, fixed asset depreciation, purchase orders, and standard business and management reporting. All financial data is stored securely online on a unified ledger, allowing users to work in the same set of books, regardless of location or operating system.

Financial Manager of The Accountancy Cloud, Laura Beales, adds: ‘I would recommend investing the time and resource in understanding the product and getting the processes right to support proper use of the product. People often see fintech solutions as a shiny box that will answer all of their problems but I often see companies using a small proportion of the capabilities of the solution they are using.”

Fintech isn’t a magic bullet for startups: it can’t make a poor business model work. But it can help startups to streamline processes and improve their understanding and control of finances. Do your research, and consider the contribution each element of your tech stack makes to the bottom line. But ultimately, when you’ve got the right financial infrastructure in place, there’s one less thing blocking your route to a scalable, profitable business.