Accounting consultant who wrote the book on Bill.com shares its best-kept secrets – including how to cultivate cash flow stability
When Judie McCarthy says she knows Bill.com, she’s not kidding. The founding partner of ThinkLeader Consulting wrote a book on Bill.com and coaches SMBs and accounting and bookkeeping firms on how to take advantage of cloud productivity applications.
In this blog post, she shares the impact Bill.com has had on her practice and her clients – and lets us all in on how one feature automatically boosts cash flow stability.
Tell us about how you help organizations.
When I enter a business, I look at its existing internal workflows – everything from scheduling to logistics to CRMs and beyond. I help businesses determine which cloud applications are perfect for them. Then I show them exactly where to implement and how to use solutions as well as provide complete training, ongoing support, and comprehensive resources. The result is increased efficiency and profitability. Bill.com is one of my favorite solutions because it gives both benefits.
When did you first use Bill.com?
Twelve years ago. [Bill.com founder and CEO] René Lacerte asked if I would beta test it in 2007. I saw it as an opportunity to increase efficiency and internal controls. I’ve been using it ever since.
You started by using Bill.com in your own bookkeeping firm, Think Beyond the Desktop. What was the result?
We’ve provided bookkeeping and outsourced accounting since 1998. At that time, you offered AP the old-school way with lots of paper and manual processes. And, of course, there were paper checks. We shuffled paper bills, entered data, stuffed envelopes, printed checks, and had a lot of outgoing USPS mail.
When we implemented Bill.com, we immediately moved from priority mail and printed checks to the cloud, online payments, integration, and automation. We reduced the time spent on AP by 85%.
What are some of your favorite Bill.com features?
One of my favorites is AP automation, which enforces approval policies and user permissions. You can customize access via the user permissions to further reinforce controls and the segregation of duties. For example, you can give users access to review the bill, but restrict their access to bank account information. Also, clients appreciate the ability to add notes and tag other users during the bill approval process.
What’s one feature more Bill.com users should take advantage of?
AR automation. It helps stabilize cash flow. We use Bill.com to send invoices and collect payment automatically each month. We charge a monthly fixed fee and require our clients to authorize Bill.com to automatically send their payments. The money lands in the firm’s bank account. We aren’t waiting for checks to arrive in the mail, taking them to the bank, and waiting again for them to clear.
With Bill.com, we invoice and collect the same day. It’s had a substantial impact on our cash flow. We know when the money will be in our bank account each month.
When I introduce SMBs and accounting firms to Bill.com and AR automation, they love it. It gets them paid much more quickly. Again – it’s a cash flow win.
Customers can work with the Bill.com AR process in the manner they prefer. They can have recurring, automatic payments. Or, if they like, they can pay each invoice individually after review and approval.
Tell us about how your clients have benefited from Bill.com.
One client was losing a bookkeeper of 20 years and the thought of handing over controls to a new bookkeeper was a bit nerve-racking. After I consulted with them, they decided to try Bill.com to take over some of the bookkeeping duties. It worked out so well that they realized they didn’t need to hire a replacement bookkeeper. Instead, they used that surplus budget for marketing, which allowed them to bring in more business. Also, because Bill.com allows you to build in internal controls, it made the client feel more at ease.
Another client, a solo bookkeeper, worked with me to reimagine her practice so she could have a better work/life balance. She brought in cloud-based technologies including Bill.com and eliminated paper from her practice. With AP and AR automation and value pricing, she fine-tuned her client base. Her internal processes were much more streamlined. She reduced her number of clients by 80% while keeping 80% of the revenue.
I have yet another client who is always on the road. Bill.com immediately improved her efficiency as she could approve, pay, and create invoices using the mobile app.
How can businesses and firms get started with AP and AR automation?
Start by signing up for a demo of Bill.com.
Many thanks to Judie McCarthy for sharing her Bill.com expertise. You can find out more about her by visiting ThinkLeader.