“Do your Becker Best,” Amy Becker would tell her hospitalized and homebound students with disabilities when she worked in education. “‘Do your Becker Best’ means ‘do better than you did at the beginning of the year,’" she explains. “That's all that mattered to me. Just do your best.”
Today, the educator-turned-entrepreneur applies the same positive, personalized approach to Becker’s Best Shoes, the comfort footwear store she and her husband, Fred Price, own on a palm tree-lined street in historic downtown Mount Dora, Florida. “We look for the Becker Best shoe for you, because your shoe and my shoe are probably not going to be the same,” she points out.
Since purchasing what used to be a European footwear store in 2015, the owners have broadened their selection for their customers to 45 comfort footwear brands.
Fred Price is responsible for the accounting and bookkeeping operations within the company and identified the need to simplify their manual and time-consuming accounts payable (AP) process as their business grew. After extensive research, they made the decision to adopt BILL. "We are incredibly satisfied with the functionality and support,” he says.
Becker comes from a long line of retailers. Both her mother and grandfather owned clothing stores, and she dedicated 20 years of her life to working in retail before earning her master’s degree in elementary education.
After realizing that education wasn't her true calling, Becker found herself drawn to the world of comfortable footwear she wore for painful foot conditions like plantar fasciitis. In pursuit of this passion, the couple took the leap and acquired a European shoe store nestled in picturesque Mount Dora in 2015.
The store now employs 25 individuals — including six full-time and 19 part-time employees, ranging from high school students to retired individuals, who appreciate the flexibility of their schedules. By hiring a combination of full-time and part-time workers, Becker's Best Shoes has been able to foster long-time employee loyalty and prioritize customer service. Indeed, they recognize that an eight-hour workday may not be suitable for everyone, and four-hour shifts allow employees to maintain enthusiasm and a positive attitude while serving customers on the sales floor.
Since adopting BILL in 2022, Becker’s Best Shoes has found it easy to stay on top of vendor payments. “With BILL, we pay off invoices instead of billing statements,” says Leah Keister, bookkeeper at Becker’s Best Shoes. “We now have all of our vendors sending our invoices straight into our BILL inbox. BILL’s artificial intelligence automatically pulls the information from the invoices, enters it into a bill, and then I just click ‘OK.’”
Creating journal entries for each bill and paying them by check used to take over 30 hours a week. “Before BILL, we were handwriting checks, stamping them, mailing them, everything,” Becker recalls. As a result, they had limited visibility into vendor payment statuses, which made keeping vendors up-to-date about pending payments a challenge.
Now, BILL auto-sends the team email reminders about upcoming or overdue bills, and lets them pull up payment statuses in just a few clicks. No more frantically tracking down invoices.
“If a vendor does call asking for a payment, then I just look up that invoice on BILL,” Keister explains. “I can click on the payment details, and it's all right there. I can actually screenshot that and send it to the vendors. All the payment information is very easily accessible.”
“Before BILL, we were handwriting checks, stamping them, mailing them, everything.” — Amy Becker, Owner, Becker’s Best Shoes
BILL gives Becker's Best Shoes the freedom to pay vendors through various methods, including ACH, credit card, paper check, and more. Keister explains, "Some vendors prefer credit card or paper check instead of ACH, and BILL accommodates these different preferences." Even paying Canadian vendors is effortless, thanks to BILL’s ePayment feature, which allows for direct transfers to vendors’ bank accounts. Keister is thrilled with how BILL has streamlined international payments, describing the process as “seamless and elegant.”
Becker's Best Shoes has also received positive feedback from their vendors for using BILL. With 45 to 100 vendors to manage, it just isn’t feasible for each vendor to have their own unique payment method. By utilizing a single payment system, Becker’s Best Shoes simplifies the bill pay process, resulting in faster payments and improved vendor satisfaction.
With BILL Pay By Card, Becker's Best Shoes can manage their payments more efficiently and improve their cash flow. By using their credit card to pay vendors, even those who don't accept credit cards, they can defer payments and have 30 days to initiate payment.
"Pay By Card gives us the flexibility to use credit cards for bill payments, helping us free up our cash flow when necessary," Price says.
Not only does Pay By Card provide financial benefits, but it also allows the couple to earn rewards such as points and travel miles.
Despite their best efforts to keep their payments secure before BILL, Becker and Price learned that their business had become a target of check fraud. They managed to address it, but not without investing hours of their precious time.
BILL’s secure platform not only saves Becker’s Best Shoes time responding to fraud, but gives them peace of mind. Regardless of the payment method they use, BILL keeps their banking information hidden. BILL also applies positive pay, a service that matches the check presented for payment with the check issued, as a safeguard against check fraud.
“One of the things I love about BILL is when people are getting paid, it does not give them our banking information. That really has made payments—and my vacations—less stressful.” — Amy Becker, Owner, Becker’s Best Shoes
“One of the things I love about BILL is when people are getting paid, it does not give them our banking information,” Becker says. “That really has made payments—and my vacations—less stressful.” She continues, “Fred and I are older, but we don't have a pot of money sitting around. If somebody goes and steals all our money, we won’t have a way to pay our staff. I don’t have to worry about that with BILL.”
BILL’s two-way sync with QuickBooks Online, their accounting software is also a timesaver. This seamless integration minimizes the need for double data entry and the risk for error it carries. “The fact that BILL syncs so well with QuickBooks is huge,” Becker points out. “There are fewer mistakes when everything syncs well.”
With BILL, Becker’s Best Shoes has cut the time spent on AP every week from over 30 hours to about 2 hours, or 20 to 30 minutes a day. Now, they have more bandwidth for strategic, big-picture marketing efforts.
“BILL gave us time to create a VIP Rewards Program in our point of sale system so we could keep track of our customers better,” Becker explains. “It grew our customer base.” And now the team has building and updating the store website.
“BILL gave us time to create a VIP Rewards Program in our point of sale system so we could keep track of our customers better. It grew our customer base.” — Amy Becker, Owner, Becker’s Best Shoes
“BILL allows the back office, the owners, and me more flexibility to handle other projects, besides billing and invoicing,” Keister says. “It allows us to keep our motto: ‘Always do your Becker’s Best.’” With BILL automating their financial operations, they’ve freed up time to focus on putting their best foot forward—and helping more shoe shoppers do the same.