It’s no secret that accounts payable can be one of the biggest pain points in the corporate office. Not only is the A/P workflow fraught with opportunities for error, but getting bills paid is expensive relative to other business processes. A quick web search reveals that the complete manual processing of 1 invoice, from receipt to payment, can cost a whopping $10-22!
In an effort to lower this cost and improve efficiency, curious accountants and bookkeepers gather at forums and social media groups across the interwebs to chat about the options.
One FAQ I see over and over is: if I have QuickBooks Online, do I need BILL? QuickBooks Online (QBO) offers bill pay apps that integrate with its platform, they argue. Are you sure we need both?
The answer is YES -- you need BILL.
As a virtual accounting and advisory firm, here are 5 things Blue Fox and our clients have come to love about BILL. These are 5 things, too, that QBO simply cannot do.
1) Approval Workflows & Controls Supported by Granular User Roles
We mean it when we say this: these 2 features are game changers for most accounting departments. If you have approval policies in place at your company, these policies can be enforced during the data entry process. And you can automate this enforcement (or not – but really, why not??) through approval policies at BILL.
Multiple approvals can be put in place as well if more than one person needs to sign off on a bill. And it’s all digital with a perpetual audit trail. Infinitely more efficient than actually putting a piece of paper on two different desks, AIR??
This workflow is supported by a robust variety of user types available on the platform. Department heads or those with budget responsibility can be added to the system as just Approvers, while the Clerk user role is perfect for an A/P staffer who’s only handling data entry. You can even separate the data entry role from the person paying the bill. There’s simply no competition with QBO on these user permissions, approvals, and controls.
2) Seamless International ACH Payment Processing
If your company pays vendors internationally, you know what a headache it can be. Once your international vendor invoice is approved, what do you usually do? Send a wire? What’s that cost you? $15, $20, maybe even $35 per wire? Or do you try to skirt the fees and pay with PayPal or some other app? And we won’t even talk about currency exchange rate losses…
With BILL, you can now pay vendors internationally (over 70 countries) either in USD or in the local currency. You may even enter payables into the system in another currency. And the best part? The savings. There is no fee to make wire transfers in local currencies. (We couldn’t believe it either!) And international wires sent in USD are $9.99 per transaction.
3) Dare to Dream of a Digital Audit Trail
Whether your company is a nonprofit or a for-profit, audits are as close to painless as they can get on the A/P side if you are using BILL. This is one feature folks argue that QBO has down pat. In some ways, that’s true.
QBO allows you to store attachments on every transaction – scans of receipts, invoices, etc. But how do you get the attachment in QBO? Walk to scanner, scan, save to computer. Open QBO, find transaction, attach scan to transaction by browsing your computer. Save and close. Easy enough, but is that the most efficient we can be? Dream bigger people!
BILL digitizes the audit trail from the instant the invoice is uploaded to the platform. The invoice is imaged and attached to the bill, edits to the bill are documented by user name, the approval workflows attached to that bill are automatically saved to that transaction, and then the payment record (including scans of cashed checks) is permanently visible relative to that invoice.
The audit trail feature is not only a digital dream, it has cut down the time we spend on audit prep by 75% or more. We aren’t running from file cabinet to file cabinet hunting down paper, and we no longer have to answer queries about approval process or internal controls with A/P. We just set up the auditor as an Auditor user in BILL and we are DONE.
Cue you, drinking coffee while the auditors go to work.
4) The Magical Intelligent Virtual Assistant
What if the entire scope of work for the A/P clerk was simply data verification? It can be for BILL users. While you’re doing other higher-level tasks, BILL Artificial Intelligence goes to work on any invoice received. When log in, your bills are halfway done or more. And they are accurate, to boot.
BILL Artificial Intelligence scans the invoice and populates the bill entry fields. It is artificial intelligence at its finest – it extracts the data, lowers (if not outright eliminates) error, and even flags duplicate invoices for you.
5) Automated Data Entry & QBO Integration
As you can see, BILL creates technology leverage for your company throughout the A/P workflow. The icing on the cake, though, is the integration of QBO and BILL.
When an invoice is processed at BILL, the payable is automatically created in QBO. When that invoice is paid at BILL with a single click, a payment on that bill is automatically created in QBO. When the payment clears your bank, the QBO bank feed will offer you the BILL journal as a match.
That’s right – 1 transaction at BILL = 3 automated transactions in QBO. BILL’s sync tool and G/L integration ensure that the only data entry that you have to do is on their platform, and the accounting simply takes care of itself.
The seamless use of QBO and BILL together is more than just a time-saver and more than just a money-saver. It’s the creation of a robust, efficient, highly controlled, and cost-effective A/P department. In short: a CFO’s dream.
Our team at Blue Fox proudly use BILL! Isn’t that obvious?! We leverage only the best-of-breed technology solutions to automate and streamline back office operations for nonprofits and social enterprises. And, we take a radically client-focused approach to get our clients up and running. Learn more at www.YourBlueFox.com.