In an ever crowded arena of web-based applications available today, two stand out as essential for any thriving business. SmartVault is a powerful online document management system and Bill.com is the best in breed for online payables (and great for online receivables too). Both have the ability to store documents – so which should you use? While there are some similar processes, both have strengths that should be leveraged.
Managing Documents with Bill.com
When I first started using Bill.com, I used it for the payable system. I found that document management was another benefit that I hadn’t anticipated. Bill.com has such a strong work flow system, it ensures quality control and effectiveness like no other payable system. I scan, email or fax in bills and receipts into the online portal. Then, I grab the source document (invoice, receipt, etc.) and enter it for its intended purpose – bill, vendor doc, and so forth. The document is automatically stored under that vendor. One of the great designs of Bill.com is to have an approval process, which gives clients great control wherever they want it in the process. Once the bill has been approved by all that need to approve it, then the bill gets scheduled for payment. This is much better than the old way of entering in bills and receipts into QuickBooks, printing checks to match the bills and wait for the owner of the company to sign the checks.
Prior to using Bill.com we would mail the check and stub to the vendor. We kept the extra stub and attached it to the original invoice, and placed it in a pile to file it later. Sometimes we would go weeks or longer before we had the time to file the paid invoice in the file cabinet. Some of my clients had staff manage this process, and it would be even worse. Many times we would need to find the invoice and payment for reference only to find it wasn’t filed or missing. When using Bill.com, the filling is done automatically for you on the fly, and it is ridiculously easy to find any documents when you need them later.
There are two other key benefits to using Bill.com.
- When bills and checks are presented to the owner, they are not always available to review them at a convenient time. With Bill.com, they can review and approve bills when it is convenient for them – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Bill.com has a great feature where you can time payments of your bills based on your current cash flow. Since Bill.com syncs with QuickBooks, and many other accounting solutions for that matter, you know what the book balance is at any given time (as long as you have updated all transactions in QuickBooks). You can look on the Bill.com calendar to see how much cash you have with each payment. This is far different than the old system of holding checks and manually calculating when to pay each bill.
When you get in the habit of scanning, emailing or faxing documents into Bill.com, it makes you want to store all documents in Bill.com. It is possible to do this, however, there are many documents that are better placed and managed within SmartVault.
Managing Documents with SmartVault
SmartVault gives you the ability to create a folder and file system based on the needs of your organization. At our firm, we have created the following document folders – Best Practices, Clients, Finance, Human Resources, Sales and Marketing and more.
Since it is a permission based document management system, you can give access to each document within the organization based on the person’s role with the company. You can also set permissions for clients to see, edit, review documents related to their business. Within your own firm, you may want some people to have access to certain clients, and others have access to others. Since we do a monthly close for each of our clients, we have staff members perform the monthly close and a controller to review the process and make sure it was done correctly. Because they are in different offices, they can access this at any time. You may want people to have read only permissions, with others the ability to add, change, edit documents. There are many ways to manage these permissions that make it very intuitive.
SmartVault has a toolbar feature where you can attach and store source documents to the record from within QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online.
Another benefit is we can map the drive to our local system, which makes it easy to drag and drop documents. It also makes it easy to send documents out on behalf of our clients to vendors or clients any day of the week. We do not have to be in the client’s physical office.
With today’s ever increasing need for security, both applications have bank level security protecting the data. Most small to mid-sized companies do not have IT teams protecting their data at this level. As the hackers and fraud companies get more sophisticated, so does the security protection at SmartVault and Bill.com/
Bill.com stores source documents in Bill.com portals, but not from within QuickBooks. No matter what other service or application source documents live in, most agree that they should also reside in the financial system as a central repository for all data and source documents.
Currently, we use Bill.com for all of our payable and receivable systems. We place vendor invoices, receipts and documents associated with payables and receivables in Bill.com. We use SmartVault for all important company and client documents, and have created. We have created standard folders titled Best Practices, Sales and Marketing, Clients, Human Resources, Finances (for our company), Permanent Files.
It would be great to get comments and feedback on how you use either Bill.com or SmartVault or both. This will help each of us in creating the best in class practices with each of products, applications and services available to us today.