Q+A with Robin Laskowski: The Power of Financial Insights in Decision-Making

Upper Hand Software
Robin Laskowski currently works as a Director for Park Ten Capital, with oversight responsibilities for their technology investments.  Prior to Park Ten, Robin assumed the position of SVP Senior Vice President of IT Application Delivery – Payment Processing shortly after the sale of Merchants Choice Payment Solution where she served as CIO.  Later, Robin transitioned to SVP – IT Business Relationship Management with executive-level relationships management serving as an IT single point of focus for Finance and Accounting.  She has worked in the world of payment processing for 25 years. Here she tells us how the pandemic underscored the importance of incorporating flexibility within business operations, what the next 3-5 years will look like for the future of financial insights, and her excitement for the all-new UP Financial Suite which empowers sports and fitness business owners with stronger insights so they can make better decisions.

Robin Laskowski on the Future of Finances

Q: In your experience, how valuable are strong insights in making smart business decisions? 
Having access to contemporary information derived from transaction level data is invaluable for businesses not only being able to operate on a daily basis, but for enabling them to make key pivot decisions that are more strategic in nature.
Q: How has the use of financial reporting evolved, and where do you see the power of financial insights developing the next 3-5 years?

Efforts to digitize financial reporting are nothing new and are constantly evolving. The ability to ingest lower level component transaction level information across different payment acceptance channels and then present that information in an actionable format will be critical to the survival of businesses. In the next 3-5 years, several trends will pervade designed to drive efficiency/speed, including real-time payments and APMs, AI/robots, and the use of unstructured data to aid decision making.

Q: Can you speak to the importance of flexibility within business operations? 
With the pandemic, we have learned that those businesses who were able to adapt quickly had a better chance of survival. In the world of payments, we saw businesses such as former brick-and-mortar only merchants pivot in order to sell products and services online. Likewise, innovative merchants used the pandemic as an opportunity to launch new businesses, enhancing delivery capabilities and offering customers unique ways to pay. The UP Financial Suite provides sports and fitness businesses flexible ways to collect payments from their customers, which is a critical asset in this day and age.
Q: Upper Hand’s UP Financial Suite empowers those without a strong financial background to understand their business’s financial health. How has increased accessibility to financial insights improved the way businesses make decisions?
In an attempt to build out financial reporting that allows a business to react swiftly and efficiently to changes in operations, the UP Financial Suite meets a few key needs.  First, the snapshot views that are now available online and by mobile device give the business key data points that can be used to make adjustments. Second, rather than being a “flat” report, UP has given the business a suite of customizable tools to take immediate action in areas that affect their operations. And, third, UP has introduced key new payment plan options that specifically address needs that have arisen due to the pandemic, such as the ability to pay down a balance and offer payment forgiveness to clients. In short, the features introduced by the UP Financial Suite immediately and powerfully enhance businesses’ ability to stay in the game.
Q: What excites you about the UP Financial Suite and the problems it will solve for the industry? 

The UP Financial Suite serves as a building block for future enhancements within Upper Hand’s core sports and fitness software platform that will expand to include other forms of payment, speed and operations, and giving fitness facilities the flexibility that they need to stay in business.

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