Bookminders Brings Remote Bill Pay to Clients During Pandemic with BILL
AVL Growth Partners is a full-stack CFO firm that prides itself on being deeply engaged with the hundreds of businesses it supports. The firm works with companies across a range of growth-focused industries, spanning from pre-revenue startups to established, eight-figure businesses with hundreds of employees. Steffany Ayala, the company’s VP of finance talks about the passion the team at AVL has for the businesses they support and how they want to see them succeed and grow. Here, she explains how automation and security play a big role in that success and how using BILL makes it so clients have very few touch points with the bill-paying process.
We found BILL about six years ago when we were looking for a consistent process for bill pay. The systems we had in place were cumbersome, and doing things manually was taking way too long to manage, not to mention leaving a larger margin for errors. We saw that BILL had nice features and a thoughtful product roadmap, but nothing flashy that we didn’t need. We quickly found out that BILL is a go-to for anyone who sends out even just a few checks a month. It allows our clients to save money, and it doubles as a compliance check.
Peace of Mind
The approval process provides such peace of mind for us. With BILL, clients have full control of their bank account. They can even choose to partially pay an invoice. With a manual process, the checks need to get printed, signed by the appropriate people, and then mailed. With BILL, we have found that a process that took five hours a month can be cut to 20 minutes a week. There is nothing to do at month’s end, and everything is available to view. If an audit occurs, we can give the auditors a link to poke around to see things and they can easily understand what is going on.
Security is also important. We need to keep fraud from happening, and BILL lets us do that. Any time a new vendor is added, we receive a notification and verification code. As an example of what companies need to avoid, we had a client that used manual checks. When an employee left the company, this individual took the checks (and access to the account). With BILL, employee access can easily be modified, ensuring the company will always have control of its checkbook.
When COVID-19 hit, a lot of our clients had to move out of their offices. The person who preps the checks is not the same person who signs the checks. With everyone working remotely, having BILL in place was necessary to ensure payments didn’t get behind.
Client Touch Points
BILL makes the entire bill pay process simple. If a client forwards a bill to BILL, that act alone works as the approval process and as a result, we can go ahead and pay it without any further interaction from the client. In other circumstances, bills are coded and approvers are notified that a bill has been entered so they can approve and it can be paid. If clients are the only one that can pay a bill, they log in about once a week and, if an invoice is ready to be paid, hit the pay button. A client’s interaction with the system is very minimal. But each one does have historical access to all past invoices and payments at all times.
Managing Cash Flow
The integration between BILL and QuickBooks Online is seamless. Transactions are automatically matched and lined up. When a payment is made in BILL, it seamlessly comes out of the account, making it much easier to manage cash flow. This means we don’t have to plan for that future cash hit. We don’t want the lag that happens with paper checks, so we encourage all our clients to set up e-payments immediately. Even if it’s just a one-time payment, we want this set up.
Automation: The No-Brainer
We have found that automation is necessary for growth. Having access to the automation we get when working with BILL is a no-brainer. It makes everything quicker and easier for us and our clients and provides us with data we can trust. Anything we can do quicker and easier to get information either for ourselves or for our clients just makes sense. Whenever I can remove myself from a process, I do. It allows clients to make important decisions about their business fast. Not only does automation make the information available, but with BILL you can trust the data you are getting.