“You can count on us!” That’s the motto of Ascent Respiratory Care, a home medical equipment company specializing in mechanical ventilation. They provide high-quality respiratory equipment and expert service for patients as they transition to the home from a referring hospital or skilled nursing facility.
“Our goal is to get people home where they're comfortable and maximize their quality of life,” explains Heather Thompson, Senior Business Development Associate at Ascent Respiratory Care.
Based in the Denver area, Ascent Respiratory has been serving people with complex respiratory needs in Colorado and Wyoming for nearly 15 years. As a small, independently owned business, their staff often wears many hats, and Thompson is no exception, having taken on accounting duties in addition to her role in business development.
To help manage this increased workload, she was looking to streamline their accounts payable (AP) and expense spending processes. BILL Accounts Payable and BILL Spend & Expense provided Thompson with an easy way to increase efficiency and save time when handling the company’s finances.
Before BILL Accounts Payable, Ascent Respiratory’s AP was primarily paper-based. “We were super old school, extraordinarily manual,” recalls Thompson. “Everything was manually entered in QuickBooks. And we didn't even run checks electronically out of there—we hand-wrote the checks.”
As the company grew, all that paper became untenable. “As we added patients and staff, those operational processes lagged behind,” explains Thompson. “We knew we needed to recoup some time and get leaner.”
And as a small company, they did not have time for accounting mistakes. “We can't afford financial errors. We don’t have time to spend a week or two investigating a discrepancy and recouping missing funds. We needed a system that could find and resolve mistakes quickly,” Thompson says.
Ascent needed a billing solution that would dovetail with their existing accounting processes nicely, improving and streamlining rather than disrupting. After examining their options, they realized that automated, digital AP with BILL was the right fit.
Ascent’s patients typically need fresh supplies on a monthly basis, which the company orders from vendors. BILL has taken over invoice-paying duties. “We do not write checks anymore. I would say about 95% of what we do is all paid out via BILL, whether it's a hard copy check or an electronic payment. By and large everything runs through BILL, because it makes more sense for us,” says Thompson.
“We do not write checks anymore. I would say about 95% of what we do is all paid out via BILL, whether it's a hard copy check or an electronic payment. By and large everything runs through BILL, because it makes more sense for us.”
BILL Accounts Payable has saved Ascent up to 30 hours a week of accounting time. “Before BILL, either I or my bookkeeper had to manually input invoices from vendors,” Thompson says. “Even if we didn't go line for line for everything we had purchased, we still had to enter all the PO numbers, invoices, due date, totals, all the things.”
They were processing several hundred invoices per month, and that all adds up. “For approvals, I had to hand invoices over to the president, who was still in charge of writing all the checks,” Thompson explains. “She and I are pretty expensive people to be doing data entry and writing checks manually! So not only was it a lot of man hours, it was a lot of expensive man hours with expertise that could be far better utilized elsewhere.”
Some insurers require Ascent to submit actual invoices in order to be reimbursed for purchased items. Prior to BILL, they had to find the invoices in QuickBooks, and then go back through their paper files and find paper copies. “Finding invoices was a hunt. It would take an hour to two hours to find three or four items,” recalls Thompson. “Now it takes maybe 10 minutes because it's all right there in BILL.”
“Finding invoices was a hunt. It would take an hour to two hours to find three or four items. Now it takes maybe 10 minutes because it's all right there in BILL.”
“I can just download the BILL PDF, hand it over, and it's quick, it's simple. If there's a dispute on an invoice, it's pretty easy for me to figure out what happened. It's quick and easy to find issues and mistakes,” Thompson says.
Before BILL, expense management was done very manually at Ascent, and it was all the responsibility of employees. “If we knew somebody was going on a trip, all their meals, anything that they needed went on their personal card,” recalls Thompson. “Especially for younger employees lacking credit cards or those with a tight budget, that was an unfair burden.”
Even worse, expense reimbursement requests took a lot of time to process. Now, with BILL Divvy Corporate Cards,* employees no longer have to pay for things with their own money. “Our employees don’t have to worry about spending and it empowers them,” says Thompson. “If I know my employer trusts me to make the right decisions, I have a lot more pride in my work and have more skin in the game.”
“With BILL Spend & Expense, our employees don’t have to worry about spending and it empowers them. If I know my employer trusts me to make the right decisions, I have a lot more pride in my work and have more skin in the game.”
BILL also helps the company prevent fraudulent charges and correct human error. “BILL Spend & Expense has great controls that map quickly into QuickBooks, so I'm not having double entry issues,” says Thompson.
BILL Spend & Expense has been a major time-saver. “Not having four or five expense reports every couple of weeks shaves off time from my day,” Thompson says. “I love BILL Spend & Expense. It's just so easy to get people the money they need,” Thompson continues. “For our employees, being able to take a photo of the receipt on the fly and then submit it was kind of mind-blowing.”
“I love BILL Spend & Expense. It's just so easy to get people the money they need. For our employees, being able to take a photo of the receipt on the fly and then submit it was kind of mind-blowing.”
“BILL’s software solutions work well in the sandbox together,” says Thompson. “Most financial software does not connect nicely to QuickBooks. Other programs do a giant dump of data and then you have to go in and sift through things—unless you purchase a third-party API that tells your financial system where to map everything out into QuickBooks. The fact that I did not have to even think about that with BILL was a big deal.”
Thompson concludes: “BILL has just made our work life so much better and given us so much more transparency into our billing and purchasing. I'm thrilled with BILL’s products. With both the tangible and intangible benefits BILL has given us, it's more than worth its price.”