Home builder Anchored Tiny Homes is helping to change the face of housing in California and beyond. This Sacramento-based, family-owned business specializes in the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are small housing units built on the same grounds as an existing house. The company’s mission statement says it all: “To solve the US housing crisis.”
The company started in 2019 in the backyard of one of the founders, Scott Paulhus, who started the business with his two sons Colton Paulhus and Austin Paulhus (pictured below, left to right). Since this humble beginning, the company has grown rapidly, evolving from a traditional construction firm to more of a service organization that provides expertise, while subcontracting out the building work.
The rapid growth of Anchored Tiny Homes would not have been possible without an efficient finance foundation. For Financial Controller Cindy Morton, automated finance from BILL has been a key part of that success story.
When Morton joined Anchored Tiny Homes in 2022, the accounting process was in need of a renovation.
“It was all paper-based. It wasn't coordinated. They weren't using anything electronic,” recalls Morton. “When someone asked me a question about the finances, I had to search through a pile of papers, because nothing was searchable.”
The company also paid all of its bills via paper check, which was a major problem. “They were putting the checks into the printer upside down, so the check number that the bank saw was a very different number from what the accounting software was saying it would be. So there was all of this mismatch going on,” Morton says. “From an accounts payable (AP) perspective, we had no understanding of which checks were outstanding because bank reconciliation hadn't been done in months.”
Once Morton was brought on board as controller, she immediately implemented BILL. The move started paying dividends right away. “The owners loved BILL right off the bat, because money would come out of the bank immediately and they wouldn't have to worry about outstanding checks,” says Morton.
Because BILL was able to release payments electronically, their vendors no longer called the company to complain about payment delays, and financial reporting was always at the ready. “Ownership could get any reporting they wanted. BILL was a game changer,” says Morton. “They never knew it could be this easy.”
“Ownership could get any reporting they wanted. BILL was a game changer.
They never knew it could be this easy.” — Cindy Morton, Financial Controller, Anchored Tiny Homes
Now, whenever someone had a question about finances, Morton had the answers right at her fingertips. She could easily look up which contractor had done the work on a job that had been completed six months or a year ago. This was a win, not only for accounting, but for the entire company.
“Getting the open payables into BILL gave everyone a sense of security that our record-keeping was no longer haphazard,” says Morton. “It was a sign that we were evolving into a more formal and professional organization.”
BILL’s AI feature has been a big driver of the accounting team’s efficiency. When processing an invoice, BILL software inputs the correct vendor in place, and then scans and skims for the correct invoice numbers and the dating. Accounting staff does not have to key any of that information in, they just confirm it.
“I was hand-keying all of the invoice information until the BILL AI kicked in,” Morton remembers. “I realized immediately, especially on the vendors that were very voluminous, that the time savings was incredible. BILL really does make such a difference.”
“I was hand-keying all of the invoice information until the BILL AI kicked in. I realized immediately, especially on the vendors that were very voluminous, that the time savings was incredible. BILL really does make such a difference.” — Cindy Morton, Financial Controller, Anchored Tiny Homes
As the first approver on all invoices, Morton no longer has to bother with many tasks, because the AI takes care of it. “I just concentrate on the few things our AP person has to hand-key to make sure that it's what we expect,” Morton explains. “Without BILL AI, I don't think she could keep up with the volume.”
Because of BILL’s ease of use, Morton was able to offload AP duties to another staff member, so could take on other, important work for the business. “Without BILL in place, I'd still be swimming in paper, and I would not have a system that I could easily teach to someone else,” Morton says.
When Morton started at Anchored Tiny Homes, she was also frustrated by the existing expense management system. Not only were expenses being paid directly out of the company’s bank account, no one knew in real time how much money was available to be spent.
Now the company is using BILL’s spend and expense management solution. With 35 BILL Divvy Corporate Cards in use, BILL Spend & Expense has shifted the coding responsibility to the actual cardholder who was spending the money.
“Once purchasers had a [BILL Divvy Corporate] Card, we knew exactly who had made each purchase,” Morton says. “And in case there was a question, there was a name attached to it. It made the control a lot better.”
With BILL Spend & Expense managing their money and their weekly payment, Tiny Anchored Homes knows where their budget is going to be and helps them keep costs under control.
Integration with QuickBooks has been one of the brightest spots of the BILL experience for Anchored Tiny Homes. “The integration with BILL was amazing,” Morton says. “The BILL integration person not only knew everything about BILL, she knew everything about my product and was able to walk me through it.”
“The integration with BILL was amazing. The BILL integration person not only knew everything about BILL, she knew everything about my product and was able to walk me through it.” — Cindy Morton, Financial Controller, Anchored Tiny Homes
BILL explained the different integration options to Morton and helped her decide what to do based on the unique business model of Anchored Tiny Homes. “It was a half hour call, and at the end of it, we were up and running,” recalls Morton. “I never had to come back and ask anything.”
These experiences were in line with the overall level of technical support Morton has received from BILL.
“I don't hesitate to get on the support chat, and I don't hesitate to ask questions in plain English because I don't have to use technical terms in order to get someone to understand me when I'm working with BILL. It's just amazing,” Morton says.
Now that BILL has reduced the burden of AP and expense management, Morton has been free to take on other responsibilities related to the business like applying and securing a SBA loan and upgrading reporting capabilities.
Morton also had a chance to capture important federal tax credits. “It was federal money that was waiting for us in the wings,” Morton explains. “And I would not have been able to apply for those tax credits without BILL—over $150,000 worth of tax credits that would've gone by the wayside because I didn’t have the resources to pursue them.”
With BILL in place, the company was able to start taking on more work. “When I started, we had 60 active jobs. We are now running close to 140,” says Morton. “We would never be able to do that without BILL to help us manage our financial operations.“
Morton strongly suggests any other growing businesses to adopt BILL. “With BILL, everything works the way the instructions say it will. It is easy as an administrator to make it happen. It is easy for vendors to receive notifications and to understand where things are in the process, and for them to choose their payment method so that they get the money how they want it, when they want it,” she says.
In summary, says Morton: “We’re growing exponentially, and the infrastructure that we built with BILL is going to support us in all of that. I couldn't do my job without BILL.”