Protect Nonprofits With Bill Payment Technology
Whether it’s education, faith-based, or helping the less fortunate, organizations must follow specific requirements to keep their nonprofit status. Which means a strict oversight and documentation regimen usually enforced by annual audits.
However, this function can be a challenging one. Nonprofits normally have tight budgets and often rely on volunteer power to support them. Operations tend to arch across multiple locations and individuals.
Fortunately, technology such as accounts payable automation can simplify the documentation and oversight process, taking overly manual tasks and converting them to digital and automated processes.
Here’s how Bill.com can help nonprofit organizations.
Digitization and Consolidation
Bill.com takes processes that are commonly paper-based – for example, bill payment - and transforms them into digital assets. At the same time, it also provides online storage for these digital assets. Anytime a nonprofit needs, for example, a contract, invoice or check image, they can access it online with only a few clicks.
Digital-based operations such as this enables nonprofits to reduce the amount of paper needed each day, saving money. They eliminate the paper shuffle that slows down feedback, processes and progress. The organizations can also introduce an elevated level of security by reducing or getting rid of on-site paper check stock.
The digitization also supports more detailed and timely insight into cash flow. Instead of paying bills and waiting for a check to be mailed, received, processed and cleared, bills can be cleared on scheduled days. This introduces a greater amount of control into cash flow management.
Separation of Duties
Unfortunately, nonprofits are ripe targets for financial fraud, which means the utmost attention must be paid to access rights and protective processes.
The separation of duties is one way to protect a nonprofit from financial fraud – and it’s one that poses a sizable challenge for nonprofits. Perhaps the individuals involved are located in several different areas and aren’t on-site. Or perhaps a proper separation of duties has never been established in the first place.
Bill.com brings in two items to support the separation of duties:
1. It enforces workflow approval
When a bill enters the system, Bill.com evaluates the bill against the nonprofit’s approval guidelines and routes the bill to each user in the workflow. Reviewers examine the bill, add notes and when they approve the bill, it moves to the next person in the cycle. In the end, the individuals that approve payments aren’t authorizing the payment.
2. It allows nonprofits to assign permissions within the system based on the needs of each user
A board member might need full access to all activities including stored documents and the ability to approve bills. However, an administrative assistant may only need access to view the bill to ensure the billed amounts are correct. Instead of allowing everyone all-access passes, Bill.com will tailor the access to suit each user’s needs.
Nonprofits often rely on volunteers. In the course of supporting the organization, volunteers often oversee budgets and purchase items on behalf of the nonprofit and its work.
Bill.com makes the reimbursement process easy since it is all online. Volunteers or employees fill out a reimbursement form and provide documentation. After the proper review, the nonprofit can review and approve the request. Bill.com then delivers the approved amount via ACH into recipients’ banking accounts – eliminating the need to write, print, sign, stuff, and mail checks.
Bill.com creates automatic audit trails – meaning each activity within the system is tracked by who was involved, the time, supporting documentation and even check images/payment confirmations.
Not only does this lend to a helpful level of transparency, but it also yields information that is highly valuable during an audit. If an auditor needs to verify a one-time payment made nine months ago, all the information he or she needs is readily available within Bill.com.
Bill.com offers a specific level of access for auditors. It enables them to research and review all items necessary to complete the audit. There’s no need to dig through filing cabinets, rummage through desks, or call banks to get check stubs.
In fact, Bill.com helps nonprofits save both on the cost of audits and the length of time it takes to complete them. See our case study about how Bill.com helped Altruic Advisors save $66K a year.
Nonprofits don’t have to break the bank to leverage the additional convenience and security of Bill.com.