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Location, Location, Location! How to Optimize Virtual Businesses

Virtual Business

Say goodbye to geographic barriers!

Your line of eco-friendly soaps is no longer constrained to just Oregon. You can sell them in Washington, Florida, and Tokyo. Thanks to the growing innovations in payment trends such as ACH, accounts payable automation, and accounts receivable automation, day-to-day business can carry on no matter if someone is in the office or not.

As the quality of technology and connectivity increases, many companies choose that an office space isn’t a necessity. It’s time to go full-on virtual. With no ties to physical, communal spaces, going virtual can offer a valuable route towards saving money. It also enables a company to work with any business or hire any employee—regardless of location.

But what about the valid concern that if you operate a virtual or quasi-virtual business, you’ll inevitably decentralize operations? And, with employees and customers across the city, state, country or beyond, how can you create a cohesive brand?

The answer is technology. Cloud-based solutions will bridge these gaps and greatly benefit these four key areas of your business.

1. Communications

Communication is the crux of your business. Strategies, tasks, concepts, and updates must flow in multiple directions in order for a business to operate effectively. Since a virtual business model doesn’t allow you to walk over to your co-worker’s desk, other communication tactics must be adopted.

Email is obviously the go-to tool for business communications. However, inbox flooding is a real and true thing. Plus, with email, conversation strings can get lost and spam can run amok. And don’t even get us started on mass cc!

Today, there is an endless supply of communication options. From Skype to Slack, you can easily video or online chat, allowing employees to quickly reach out and share information.

But what about those often overlooked communication tools? Like the ones built into project-specific solutions? These tools can securely target a more focused group or individuals to bring out quick responses and helpful collaboration. For example, Bill.com supports discussions for both AP and AR. For AP, reviewers can ask questions within their authorized group about specific invoices and their charges. For AR, Bill.com offers your customers a chance to pose questions via an online, branded portal. With one click, they see the invoice and can submit questions or comments, chat-style. All communications are saved, searchable and audit-ready.

2. Document Management

For the sake of efficiency and speed, virtual businesses value electronic documents over paper ones. This leads to many companies turning to cloud-based document management solutions that allow employees to store, work with, and easily find electronic files.

The most obvious tools are solutions like Google Drive or Dropbox, but another option is to maximize the document management capabilities of existing providers. For AP and AR, Bill.com will store contracts, contacts, past invoices and more in one secure, cloud-based environment. That way, any authorized team members can access AP and AR information from any location, at any time.

3. Accounting

Does your business rely on paper for accounting? If you’re virtual, probably not.

Obstacles often times sneak into accounting and significantly constrain virtual operations. These barriers represent anything from lost emails, lack of a dedicated virtual “filing cabinet,” or the inability to determine where a bill is in the review process. Believe us, the quickest way to offend many virtual businesses is to ask them to work with paper invoices and paper checks. They just aren’t efficient in a virtual environment.

However, virtual businesses can maximize accounting efficiencies by moving to digital payments including ACH and automation. Automation, in particular, plays an important role in virtual operations. It acts as your virtual assistant, ensuring bills flow successfully through the approval cycle through completion. An all-digital accounting environment enables teams to work closely together regardless of location and is a must-have for virtual businesses.

4. Mobility

Employees may have access to company systems at home, but do they also enjoy the same level of access when they’re on the go?

Perhaps they are traveling for business. Or purchasing soap at an Oregonian gift shop. Whatever the reason, employees should have access to the vital systems that help them contribute to their company’s success.

Most cloud-based systems offer mobility by allowing users to access their product on any device with internet connectivity. But mobility should extend far beyond that. Are there apps for your critical business systems that offer greater functionality? Can a COO, for example, approve a bill from his or her smartphone? Or research past invoices or contract terms from a hotel room? When you ensure that virtual operations extend to mobile devices, you add another layer of productivity to your operations.

Are you ready to optimize virtual accounting for your business?

Bill.com

May 12, 2017
Kate Wilson
Social Media Manager, Bill.com
Kate is in charge of all things social at Bill.com. When she's not writing every type of content imaginable, she's drinking strong coffee and debating the use of the Oxford comma with her coworkers.