Have it Your Way
For years that strategy has worked very well for Burger King, because it guarantees customers get exactly what they want.
Bill.com does the same. It gives clients the financial tools they need to take command of their cash flow, boost ef- ficiency and free up their time to focus on job one: growing the business.
“We’re a fast-growth company and the only way we’ve been able to achieve that is by leveraging cloud- based systems like Bill.com,” says David Ostrowe, the owner of 25 Burger King restaurants in Oklahoma and Louisiana. “I can tell you, if we weren’t able to leverage that, we wouldn’t be able to grow as fast and efficiently as we have.”
Since he began using Bill.com, Ostrowe has cut his company’s paperwork by 80 percent. He handles all payroll for his 800 employees in-house and, before he discovered Bill.com, processing those weekly paychecks was soaking up so much staff time that he was on the verge of hiring someone else to do it.
“There’s only so much we can do on a given day, so we had to find a solution,” he says. “Bill.com saved us from having to outsource our payroll to an outside accounting firm. By not handing it over to an outside firm we’ve saved about $50,000 a year--and that’s a conservative number.”
At one end of the cash-flow cycle, Bill.com has helped Ostrowe better organize his invoicing system, which is quite complex given that he operates with many different vendors in many different markets. Bill.com allows him to enter invoices directly into Bill.com, and then choose how and when to disburse funds.
Before, Ostrowe’s process was to take each invoice and scan it into the company server. He would then take the same invoice and keypunch it into his QuickBooks accounting system. Finally, he would file the paper invoice in a manila folder. Once a week, Ostrowe would sit down with the folder and go through all the bills. If he had a question, he had to go to the server, pull up the bill and send it off to someone in his accounting department to learn its status.
“It was a very cumbersome and time- consuming process,” Ostrowe says. “But we took it and streamlined it with Bill.com. Now we scan our invoices directly into Bill.com. That invoice is then automatically and immediately routed to the person who authorized that bill so they can approve it. Then it comes back to me to be paid. Now when it’s time for me to pay the bills I know the right person has approved them. Also, I have the discipline never to pay a bill unless it’s received the proper approvals.”
The process is so straightforward that Ostrowe’s 14-year-old daughter picked it up right away. “Granted, she’s a smart 14 -year-old but she felt very comfort- able with scanning and coding invoices into the Bill.com system and assigning people to approve those invoices,”he says. The people responsible for approval can review invoices and make relevant notes directly in the Bill.com system. So if an invoice is not approved, Ostrowe immediately knows why and can say why in his letter to the vendor.
Because Bill.com is in the cloud, Ostrowe’s managers can access the system anytime, anywhere. And he doesn’t have to worry about losing financial information in a flood or fire. The other side of any cloud-based service is security and Ostrowe says he had concerns there at first but soon stopped worrying. Bill.com guarantees all clients that, if the relationship ever ends, for what- ever reason, they get all their data back on a CD, no questions asked -- a promise a lot of Bill.com competitors can’t or won’t make.
The efficiency created by Bill.com has freed up a lot of hours that Ostrowe now directs toward strategic efforts. In the past, he says, he’d see every bill multiple times. He’d see it when it came in, when it was lying on someone’s desk and again in the ledger. At each instance, it was unclear as to thestatus of the bill. “When it came time to pay, I’d always wonder, haven’t I seen this bill already?”
Ostrowe’s company has been using Bill.com for about a year. He implemented the system first in a few of his restaurants and quickly expanded it to every outlet in his chain. He says his “a- ha moment” came one weekend when an invoice arrived at his house. He took a picture of it with his smartphone, uploaded it to Bill.com and reimbursed himself for the expense.
“It kind of scared me how easy and efficient it was,” he recalls. “When I was able to take a photo of a bill on my phone and upload it directly into the system and it took all of a minute and a half, I was blown away. I was hard sold after that. I sent a message to our Bill.com sales rep and told her we no longer had to be a trial customer. We were sold.”