It’s hard to believe, but in the days of pre-mobility, work stuck to one place (and one device)—the office. Modern conveniences such as accounts payable automation and online mobile payment solutions existed only as pipe dreams.
The accounting portion of business remained especially susceptible to location-based work, with valuable documents, invoices and check stock kept under lock and key in (typically) one physical location. This, in effect, stymied the ability to pay business bills anytime, anywhere.
Fortunately, digital payments and mobile technology have evolved exponentially in a short amount of time. A recent survey by Cisco found that “global mobile traffic is expected to grow by 39 times its current volume by 2021.” A large part of that tracks to businesses-related tasks.
Companies can now break free of accounting location-constrained tasks and enjoy advances in AP technology. When properly leveraged, these AP advantages can give companies a valuable competitive edge.
Perhaps you’re asking, “What mobile AP solution is right for my business?” Well we've got the answer.
AP Minus Mobility
To appreciate mobile AP, let’s examine how a company handles traditional, paper—and location—based AP.
This process may look something like this:
The company receives invoice via snail mail.
The first person checks it out, determines who should approve it and then physically hands it off to the correct reviewer (determined by department, amount, vendor, etc.)
The invoice sits on his or her desk for a while awaiting review.
The vendor calls to ask about the status of the payment.
Accounting discovers after searching that the invoice is still on the desk of the first reviewer and it needs to move to the second reviewer. If it takes much longer the company risks a late fee.
The first person finally reviews the invoice and hands it off to the next reviewer.
The second reviewer has to track down past invoices and the contract to double-check the amount due. Where is that information again? Can he or she easily access it or does that person have to dig through multiple paper files to find it?
The second reviewer hands the invoice off to the third in the line. He quickly signs off—and hands it off to accounting.
Finally, the invoice is approved and delivered to accounting to document and cut a check. The payment is held off until the next batch of checks is scheduled to be printed.
The check is finally printed and delivered to the CEO to sign.
After a couple of days, the CEO signs the check (and the others in the batch.)
The company records the transaction in the accounting software.
The check is stuffed into an addressed and stamped envelope and dropped in the mail.
Days later, the vendor receives the company’s payment. The check is then added with other checks to be deposited.
The paying company reconciles the check with its accounting software after it has cleared.
In all, based on three reviewers and 500 payments a month, companies can spend up to $24K a year in time and supplies nurturing a paper-based bill payment process. A paper-based AP processes lacks in convenience, efficiency, and security. Without digital and mobility options, the AP process devolves into a time-consuming, cumbersome task.
The Bill.com Mobile AP Advantage
When businesses embrace mobile-based AP from Bill.com, they adopt digital, streamlined and automated processes that offer convenience, efficiency, and more stringent security measures.
Say goodbye to the office leash. You can now pay your business bills anytime, anywhere.
Mobile AP means freedom from the need to be on-site to pay bills. You can approve bills or review outstanding invoices from an iPhone, Android, tablet or laptop, as well as access associated documents that are stored in the cloud. That means everything you need to approve a bill—history of payment, contracts, etc.—is only a few taps away. We’ve had customers tell us they approved payments from swim meets, while on vacation in Italy, and in the grocery store. In short, your business bill payments don’t grind to a halt if you aren’t in the office.
Beyond that, the Bill.com mobile app works to prioritize bill payments for you. When you open the app, its dashboard will show which payments have the most pressing due dates. You don’t have to dig through papers or ask accounting about which bills are the most pressing.
Without paper, there’s no need to shuffle an invoice from desk to desk, track down the status, remind reviewers or wait for CEOs to sign physical checks. Complicated, clunky and time-consuming processes transform into precise, shorter process that can be completed from a mobile device in mere minutes.
Automated accounts payable enforces proven measures to secure the business bill payment process such as the ever-important separation of duties. Each payment, its reviewers, amounts, approvers and notes are tracked and audit-ready. Paper checks that can be pilfered off a desk or out of the mail pile no longer offer a security hazard. Only authorized individuals can access AP documents and payments.
Competitive Advantages of Mobile AP
The competitive advantage of digitized, mobile AP breaks down into three areas:
1. Quick Processes: You’re whittling labor-intensive tasks down and utilizing your new-found extra time to focus on more productive tasks for your company.
2. Anytime, Anywhere: Your business doesn’t have to go on hold when you leave the office. You can approve a bill, review documents, collaborate with other reviewers and authorize payments from any mobile device with an internet connection.
3. Timely Payments: Enable your business to build stronger relationships with vendors—relationships that can lead to greater discounts or other beneficial arrangements. Also, a more efficient turnaround time means your company can avoid unnecessary late payments as well.