As I wandered around the exhibit hall at Solutions14 I noticed a constant stream of attendees at the Bill.com booth. They were watching demonstrations and gathering information about the application. For those of you that are not using Bill.com or have not taken a look at it recently here is an overview.
Taming the Accounts Payable Process
Bill.com takes the complete accounts payable (A/P) process from end to end and puts it into one easy to use cloud application. From receiving the bill to viewing the cancelled check, it’s all right there in one place with just a few simple mouse clicks.
The process begins with receiving the bills. They can be sent directly to the client’s Bill.com inbox via fax, email, upload or drag and drop. Each client Bill.com account is assigned a dedicated fax number and @bill.com email address. From the inbox, documents need to be processed as a bill by entering the bill details, similar to entering a bill in your accounting system. One of the big differences: In addition to adding the transactional data you have the option to assign the bill to other Bill.com users on the account for review and approval. This is a terrific feature for businesses that are providing client accounting services and want to keep clients and their staff involved in the decision making process.
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When a bill is assigned to someone for approval, that user receives an email (optional) with details and a link for them to sign in and review the bill. During the review process the approvers will see the document image, bill details, list of approvers and notes. If all is good the approver clicks the approve button and Bill.com automatically routes the bill to the next approver or completes the approval process making the bill ready to be paid.
In the event that an approver does not agree with the bill or its details they have the opportunity to add a note and click the deny button. When a bill gets denied it is routed back to the user who manages A/P to resolve the issues and re-route for approval. Once the bills have completed the approval process they can be paid via Bill.com with a simple click of a button, eliminating the need to print, sign and mail checks.
There are several payment options available for making payments:
- Bill.com Check – A paper check is sent on your client’s behalf. The check stub contains the remittance information and a digital image of the bill document.
- Bill.com ePayment – An ACH payment is sent on your client’s behalf. The vendor will receive email that contains the remittance information.
- PayPal – a payment is made directly from the clients PayPal account to the vendors PayPal account.
- Mark as Paid /Print Check (from accounting system) – This option allows you to record the bill as paid in Bill.com and sync the payment transaction to your accounting system.
I strongly encourage using the Bill.com payments options. In addition to saving time it completes the end-to-end A/P process. For Bill.com check payments, in addition to the payment details, a digital image of the cancelled check is attached (after it clears the Bill.com bank account). Bill.com ePayment transactions contain a confirmation number that can be used for tracking.
In the event that payment gets returned or lost in the mail, Bill.com posts a notification on your To-Do list with a link that provides instructions for resolving the issue.
So when times comes to research a bill or payment, all the information and documents are available in one location that can be securely accessed from your computer or mobile device.
Better Control of Accounts Receivable
The accounts receivable (A/R) feature does not have the same automated workflow as A/P but it does a terrific job when it comes to sending invoices, receiving electronic payments and automating the collections process.
Customer invoices can be created in Bill.com and sent via email. For those customers that don’t have an email address or just prefer paper, there is an option to have Bill.com send invoices via US mail, or you can print and mail on your own. You can also automate the process of sending payment due or overdue invoice reminders with customizable email templates.
Regardless of how the invoice is sent you can select to offer customer payment options that include; ACH, credit card or PayPal. Be aware, however, that to receive credit card payments you would need to set up a merchant account with Vantage/PayTrace from within Bill.com since it does not work with any other merchant processor at this time. If you only receive an occasional credit card the PayPal option is a great alternative. If a customer choses to pay by sending a traditional paper check in can be recorded in Bill.com, in addition you can scan and attach a copy of the check to the payment transaction.
In my practice we bill our clients a fixed monthly fee. We use the Bill.com recurring invoices and auto-pay features. Bill.com automatically generates the invoice, sends them to the client via email, and process the payment transaction on the due date.
Bill.com A/R also has a customer collaboration feature that allows for 2 way communication with customers. Notification is sent via email when a new comment or note has been added, and they are all retained in the history for future reference.
A Simple Way to Store Documents
In addition to storing bills and invoices, you can store any document or image in Bill.com and attach them to a transaction, vendor, customer or GL account. They can also be crossed filed in a folder system that you can create yourself. This is a document storage option only, it does not support the ability to edit and save. Also be aware that any user with permissions to view documents will have access to all documents stored in Bill.com
Forecasting Cash Flow
This feature, found on the Home tab in your Bill.com account, is used for forecasting your cash flow based on the transactions entered in Bill.com. It begins with your bank balance, which can be entered manually or in some cases syncs in from your accounting system. From there it allows you to enter forecasted amounts for transactions that may not run through Bill.com such as payroll or cash sales. This is a nice little add-on feature, but for it to provide truly accurate data it would require constant updating. In addition, the information can’t be printed or exported for review, so the results are not accessible to those that don’t have access to the Bill.com account.
Stacking It Up
The icing on the cake is that Bill.com has a seamless integration with all of our favorite accounting software including:
All of these integrations send the transactions to the accounting software with complete detail, not just a lump sum journal entry, so you can reference the transactions from within the accounting system. Be aware however that the directional flow of data differs slightly for each accounting system, so make sure to do your homework before getting started.
Not only does Bill.com reduce the amount of time we spend processing client work, it provides us with a better way to actively involve our clients in the decision making process. It helps us to deliver added value that our clients love.
Grow Your Accounting Practice Using Bill.com
Written by the “Ultimate Bill.com Guru” Judie McCarthy, this new book from The Sleeter Group explains how to use Bill.com to grow your practice and transform the way that your clients manage their payments systems.
Grow Your Accounting Practice Using Bill.com guides you with chapters on:
- What is Bill.com and what problems does it solve?
- How does Bill.com fit into your accounting practice?
- How to help your clients implement Bill.com
- Overcoming obstacles
- Bill.com best practices
Judie gives you everything you need to make Bill.com an integral part of your client’s business as well as a key component in the success of your accounting practice.