Capital One Spark Business Ventures Beyond Small Biz Banking

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted January 11, 2017

Capital One not only wants entrepreneurs to start off on a solid financial footing, the banking giant is also helping them expertly manage the other parts of a business that contribute to overall success.

Spark Business, Capital One's suite of financial, lending and merchant services tools for small businesses, announced that it had partnered with two popular solutions providers, Gusto and Bill.com. "Both are leading companies in their spaces," the human resources (HR) services and bill payments categories, respectively, said Greg McAllister, vice president of Product and Business Development at Capital One.

No fly-by-night operators here, assured McAllister. Both companies have a "good footprint of small business customers and a great reputation in their space."

Gusto, for instance, provides HR, payroll and benefits services to "40,000 business in U.S.," Jaleh Rezaei, head of Marketing for the company, told Small Business Computing. Bill.com's digital business payments network boasts over a million members.

By welcoming Gusto and Bill.com, Capital One cements its role as "a partner for the entire lifecycle of the business or startup," McAllister said. For now, Spark Business customers are treated to a discovery and sign-up experience that complements the web-based and mobile-friendly financial toolkit and works will Capital One's underlying banking technologies.

It's a big first step in what McAllister expects will eventually become an integrated set of solutions that encompasses practically every facet of running a healthy and prosperous small business. Capital One envisions an "operating system for the small business owner [that goes] beyond savings and checking," enabling them to grow their bottom line, he said.

Tackling Small Business HR with Gusto

At most businesses, HR and finance are often different departments, but their fates are inextricably linked.

Without sound money management, making payroll on a consistent basis can be a challenge. Similarly, if a small business lacks accurate employee management and reporting, budgeting for a worker's compensation and benefits package can cause considerable stress.

As part of Spark Business' new partner program, Gusto helps bridge the sometimes-treacherous gap between the two.

"We found a kindred spirit in Capital One," Rezaei said. The companies share "a vision around bringing easy-to-use, innovative technology to small businesses," she added. In this case, their alliance means extending intuitive HR management to the Spark Business community.

Gusto's software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform offers just about everything small business owner needs to manage her workforce's HR needs. She can view employee information, shop for benefits and sign up for payroll services, complete with automated and accurate local, state and federal tax filing services – an often manual and error-prone process -- that take the guesswork out of getting squared away with Uncle Sam. Employees, meanwhile, can log in and view pay stubs, enroll in benefits and manage bank accounts, said Rezaei.

Cashflow Management with Click-to-Pay Simplicity

Cashflow and business payments also contribute to many a small business owner's sleepless nights.

Bill.com provides digital accounts payable and accounts receivable solutions that help small business get paid faster and automate the various steps in processing and accurately capturing information on incoming and outgoing cash transactions.

Now, the Spark Business community is a big step closer to easing those cashflow concerns.

"With this latest addition of simple, seamless online invoicing and bill pay from Bill.com, Capital One is further advancing its efforts to empower small businesses via digital financial products, tools and experiences," wrote René Lacerte, founder and CEO of Bill.com, in a blog post. "Purpose-built to help SMBs manage their end-to-end payments and invoicing workflows, Spark Business Payments enables Capital One Spark Business customers to use Bill.com as a method to pay bills, invoice customers and collect payments in a fast, simple, and secure way."


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