The Importance of Bill Pay Solutions

What function in an organization requires you to pay someone to spend your money? Even if you’re the head of finance, the time and expense required to pay bills is the most maligned of all processes. So, any opportunity to relieve a business from the bill pay effort should be welcome, right? That’s where bill pay software comes in, and it’s an important component to getting the most out of an accounting package or ERP, such as QuickBooks Online or NetSuite. You want to spend as little time in it as possible and that especially includes paying vendors.

Using Bill Pay to Reduce Data Entry in QuickBooks

What has Tsheets, the QuickBooks acquisition, taught us about efficiency? Rather than manually culling time tracking data from an offline set of time cards or a spreadsheet somewhere, Tsheets puts the data entry process in the hands of those who have some skin in the process – those that need to report their hours. Likewise, bill pay software should put the data entry process in the hands of the vendor. They are, after all, the ones who have a vested interest in ensuring accuracy when it comes to their payments.

If data entry is left to someone in the back office, there are keying and communication errors that can happen. Additionally, passing bank information over email or on the phone is not secure.

The easiest way to facilitate this is to ensure bill pay software includes an integrated vendor portal where payees can update their payables information. That includes contact details, payment or bank account data, or even their tax identity forms. They should also be able to use the portal to submit invoices as well as monitor payment status to reduce communication friction (and random calls to accounts payable for the whereabouts of their payments).

Easy Bill Pay Controls and Payment Approvals

Money is leaving your business. Do you care? Of course. That’s why bill pay must be a controlled process, not just around approving the invoices, but approving payments as well. But expecting your organization to all log into bill pay software every day to approve invoices and payments is a folly.

Approvals should be secure, but lightweight. They shouldn’t require you to learn complex workflow processes. Ideally, a simple click via email should suffice.

And the approval cycle should be fairly intuitive. In other words, when a bill comes in, it should be prescribed with the necessary parties that will need to approve it, given a department code, bill amount, etc.

Who Cares How You Pay Your Bills?

Cutting checks, sending wire transfers, making ACH payments, should your business really care about what payment methods are used to remit to vendors? Yet much of the jujitsu involved in bill pay is contending with bank portals and check printing services. And paying international vendors becomes even more complex.

Advanced bill pay software will enable you to make those payments in a single swoop – all through a single, simple remittance account. Even currency conversion can be included to keep those cross-border suppliers happy.

For vendors, they get the benefit of choice: selecting the most optimal payment method that works for them. This might even come in handy when it’s time to negotiate contracts or extend payment terms.

Reconciling Bill Pay Data to QuickBooks Automatically

Once payments are disbursed, it’s time for closed-loop accounting to happen. But rather than waiting for a bank statement, knowing a payment is out or has landed is an invaluable tool for understanding organizational spend. Bill pay software automatically reconciles payments directly into QuickBooks rather than requiring a manual effort at the end of the month.

Reconciliation also helps determine if you might have accidentally made a double payment, or if a payment that you thought was issued never landed. Reconciliation can also be useful for understanding transaction fees and currency conversion fees.

Bill pay isn’t the most transparent of processes, but with software automating it, that no longer has to be the case. In fact, the payables process can actually be incredibly strategic in terms of understanding cash flow and liabilities.