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Transparency in the Time of ACH Payments

ACH

Whether you use ACH payments, eChecks, credit cards or other options, digital payments offer a new level of convenience, speed, and efficiency that traditional payment forms do not. A majority of businesses no longer fret about ditching physical checks and instead turn to ACH payments which transfer money directly from one banking account to another.

While the conversation used to focus how to pay without paper (logistics, processes, technology, etc.), the assertive mainstream adoption of ACH payments trends to a more sophisticated level of discussion—transparency. Just because it is digital, paperless pay does not automatically ensure the degree of clarity and collaboration appropriate for business.

How can this be?  

Most often, it’s because companies adopt a piecemeal approach to ACH payments.

Disparate ACH payment systems

Consider this scenario. A company has 30 vendors to pay every month. The vendors accept multiple forms of payment. Perhaps—out of habit or for a particular reason—your business pays one bill with a credit card, another via ACH and yet another with PayPal. Perhaps it also has automatic debits set up for several vendors through their payment platforms.

The result: All payment history and information resides across multiple systems, depending on who you paid and how you paid them.

While that level of organization and transparency would function adequately for an individual or family, it presents severe limitations for an organization. Scattered ACH payments across multiple platforms create difficulties such as:

  • Inability to quickly determine payments and payment histories as the information is stored on different payment systems or other electronic means such as individual email accounts. This can be especially tricky when it is time for internal or external audits.
  • Complications around enforcing the separation of duties and approval workflows.
  • Sensitive payment information—such as banking account numbers and routing numbers—stored on multiple systems outside of the company’s immediate control.  
  • Logins required for each of the systems, which means numerous logins and passwords that can fall into the wrong hands or prevent an authorized payer from submitting payment on time.
  • Payment platforms linked to individuals rather than corporate entities which means that if that individual leaves notices of payment, late payment or other important information will not reach the appropriate parties within the business. This also presents challenges when off-boarding employees and transferring duties associated with online bill payment.
  • Difficulty reconciling payments and locating vital payment information for the process.
  • Challenges pinpointing cash flow since there isn’t one system to track all payments and account for recurring/regular payments.

ACH payment transparency through one bill payment solution

Imagine a different scenario now.

Your company has one solution to handle bill payments. You can use your preferred ACH payments (or others as you need). Access is permission-based, which means your company can determine how much information each reviewer or approver can obtain. Your banking information—routing and account numbers—cannot be accessed by each employee.

Invoices from vendors enter the solution and advance through the review process automatically based on your company’s guidelines for approval. This enforced workflow supports the separation of duties and creates an audit trail related to all transactions. If someone is slow to review the invoice, the solution sends a reminder.

Should a reviewer have a question, all data resides in a secure cloud-based environment. They can navigate within the solution to find contracts, cleared checks and payment history. They can also electronically attach notes or questions to each invoice for other parties involved in the review.

Suddenly, your business has evolved from a payment process scattered across multiple systems to one that is unified within a company-sanctioned solution. The transparency around payments has grown exponentially. Should a vendor call with a payment question, an authorized employee only needs to login to one solution to find answers within seconds. One solution houses all information such as payments, scheduled payments, history and more. It also integrates with leading accounting systems such as QuickBooks, Xero, Intacct, and Netsuite to sync payment information and provide real-time insight. Best of all—since each transaction is tracked, an organization is virtually audit-ready at all times.

By moving to one solution built to create transparency and organization within a business structure, your company now has unprecedented clarity around bill payment transactions.

Interested in uniting your ACH payments on one platform?

Bill.com