Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 11:31

Geraldine Cruz, Senior Director, Product Marketing

Whether you’re a small, midsize, or large business, replacing check payments with electronic payments (ACH) will save you significant labor, operating, and transaction costs. But convincing your vendors to accept electronic payments can be challenging. Comfort with the tried-and-true and/or fear of change can make them cling to checks.

Vendors may be more willing to change if you explain how ACH will help them with their business needs and payment concerns. This blog post is the first in a two-part series that helps you influence your vendors to migrate to ACH. It provides sample dialogue to help you:

  • Communicate how ACH tackles the top concerns vendors have with customer payments — and the additional benefits of getting ACH payments from 
  • Respond to typical vendor objections to ACH 

Regardless of whether you are a customer or not, this blog will help you draft dialogue to use with vendors. 

Once you finalize the key points you want to convey, you can approach vendors. But the process to engage and convert vendors to ACH can be daunting and time-consuming. Part II of this blog series will show you how to automate and simplify this process with tools available in 

Note: Many major vendors, such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, already accept electronic payments through So the tips presented in these two blog posts are relevant for influencing vendors that are not in the existing vendor directory.

How Electronic Payments Tackle Vendor Payment Concerns

To effectively influence anyone or any business to accept change, it helps to understand how the change could help them solve some of their major problems or concerns. Table 1 below highlights the top concerns vendors have with their receivables process and with customer payments. 


Find the key issue(s) your vendor has expressed and use the benefits presented to start a dialogue or email communication with them about ACH. If you use to pay bills, consider the additional benefits delivered by our service to further boost your recommendation. 

How Electronic Payments Resolves Critical Vendor Payment Concerns

Table 1. How Electronic Payments Resolves Critical Vendor Payment Concerns

It is always best to tailor the benefits of ACH to what is most important to your vendors. But not all your vendor relationships are close enough to know exactly what concerns them. In those cases, you can summarize the key benefits of ACH with the following: 

“Electronic payments help you get paid faster, eliminate trips to the bank to deposit checks, and prevent check theft.”

The service I use will also notify you when I’ve paid you, what invoices I am paying, and the exact date the funds will be available in your bank account.”


How to Address Typical Vendor Objections to Electronic Payments

Despite learning about the benefits of ACH, vendors may have lingering doubts. Table 2 presents some of the objections you may hear and a suggested response. 


Addressing Typical Vendor Objections to Electronic Payments

Table 2. Addressing Typical Vendor Objections to Electronic Payments

If your vendors have further general or technical questions about ACH or the service, you can direct them to reach out to Our contact information is available in their check stubs.

Next Steps

With this blog post, you have practical talking or email points you can use with vendors to influence them to accept electronic payments. In the next blog post in this series, we will show you how to use the tools in to automate communication with vendors. The tips provided will be useful if you have one or many vendors to influence.

Don't miss out on part II of this post. Sign up for email updates today. 

Monday, June 23, 2014 - 11:37

Geraldine Cruz, Senior Director, Product Marketing

Sending invoices and following up with customers are critical — though labor intensive — activities that B2B companies must do to get paid for their products and services. To boost the speed of payments, many small and midsize businesses have adopted “eInvoicing” solutions. Typically these solutions send invoices through email, reducing time-to-delivery and loss of mailed invoices. 

Yet these solutions simply convert paper invoices into digital format. They do not deliver invoice data in a format that eliminates the need to input the data manually into the customers’ payables and accounting systems. An optimal eInvoice solution would send customer-usable invoice data securely, with no data loss. Moreover, it would address other key sources of payment delays in the customers’ payables process. This blog post:

  1. Summarizes the key sources of customer payment delays not addressed by traditional eInvoice solutions
  2. Explains how’s integrated eInvoice, eBilling, and ePayment solution provides an unmatched capability in addressing these payment delays to accelerate customer payments
  3. Highlights the benefits of the eInvoice, eBilling, and ePayment solution for vendors and customers
  4. Provides additional sources to learn more about the solution

Sources of Customer Payment Delays in the Traditional eInvoice Process

Some customers delay or miss payments to manage cash. Others simply forget to pay their bills. But even when a customer intends to pay all valid bills on time and in full, there are many sources of potential delays, which are depicted in Figure 1:

  • An eInvoice may languish in a person’s inbox or to-do list before it is entered into the customer’s accounting system as a bill to be paid.
  • Customers must transcribe data from the eInvoice into the accounting system.  
  • The invoice (or bill) may be routed to several individuals for review and approval. The process may be delayed, restarted, or terminated if someone in the approval queue misses or ignores the approval request, asks for further documentation, or denies approval.
  • Once the bill is approved for payment, the payment may not be issued until the next payment or check run. 
  • If the payment is made via a check mailed to the vendor, the payment can take days to reach the vendor. If the payment is lost in the mail, the eInvoice process must restart.
  • Once the vendor receives the payment (whether electronically or via check), the payment must be reconciled against the customer’s accounts and open invoices.
  • Finally, the payments are sent or delivered to the vendor’s bank, which moves funds into the vendor’s account if the customer’s bank account has sufficient funds.  

The Traditional eInvoice Process

Figure 1. The Traditional eInvoice Process 

Thus, the traditional eInvoice solution streamlines only one step of the overall invoice and payment process. It does nothing for the customer’s payable process and the vendor’s reconciliation process. 

The Integrated eInvoice, eBill, and ePayment Process

In the ideal, fully-streamlined scenario:

  • The vendor’s eInvoice process is integrated with the customer’s bill approval and payment process.
  • All manual tasks from the vendor’s receivables process and the customer’s payables process are replaced with automation. This includes the delivery of invoice data that the customer can use immediately — without additional data entry.
  • Payments are made with electronic payments (ePayments), the fastest and most reliable payment method.
  • Payments are reconciled with the customer’s and the vendor’s accounting systems seamlessly.

This perspective guided as we developed our integrated eInvoicing, eBilling, and ePayment solution (depicted in Figure 2).  


The Integrated eInvoicing, eBilling & ePayment Solution

Figure 2. The Integrated eInvoicing, eBilling, and ePayment Solution

When two businesses subscribe to and are connected on our Business Payments Network, their payables and receivables processes are optimized individually, and with each other’s processes. 

A eInvoice, eBilling, and ePayment process would involve the following four steps:

  • The vendor sends an eInvoice to its customer
  • directs the eInvoice to the customer’s inbox, where it become an eBill 
  • The customer routes the eBill for approval in an automated process; when the eBill is approved, the customer issues an ePayment 
  • The ePayment goes to the vendor’s account, and the invoice is automatically closed

At the conclusion of this process, both the vendor and the customer reconcile the payments with their respective accounting systems with a one-click sync or through import/export. 

Benefits of the Solution for Vendors and Customers

The integrated eInvoice, eBilling, and ePayment solution surmounts the manual workflows internal to vendor and customer organizations. Most importantly, it reduces the friction between the business processes of the two parties to a transaction. 

Key benefits for vendors include:

  • Improvement to liquidity and cash management
  • Reduced staff time and operating cost in managing the receivables process
  • Ease in reconciling payments against customer invoices and accounts
  • Benefits for both parties to a transaction make it easier for vendors to influence their customers to adopt ePayments, and vice versa 

Key benefits for customers include:

  • Increased ability to take advantage of early payment discounts
  • Elimination of manual transcription of invoice data 
  • Reduced staff, operating, and capital costs in the payables process 
  • Reduced payment processing costs with the use of ePayments as a replacement to checks, credit cards, and other payment methods

With our solution, both vendors and customers alike benefit from greater collaboration and stronger relationships with their business partners. 

To Learn More

To learn more about our solution:

Watch a demonstration of the eInvoicing, eBilling, and ePayment process. 

Sign up for a risk-free trial (ideally with your customer or vendor). Our account representatives and customer support representatives will show you how to optimize use of our solution.

Friday, June 20, 2014 - 14:09

By Ellen Gomes, Manager- Social Media,

Nowadays even a small business may have a global team, or be on different coasts. Your team members, suppliers or contractors could be offshore or across town, but as a small business you also have have a small travel budget. It’s hard to beat a face to face meeting for forming a strong bond between teammates, but having remote meetings is so much more efficient.  Distributed teams can now meet whenever there is a need. In this post, I’ll compare three different free tools that help remote teams feel less, well, remote.

Although the traditional audio conference is still the most common forum for remote meetings, they are my least favorite method.  A video conference allows us to see the expression and body language of the other people, and is more engaging than an audio conference. After all, it’s easier to avoid being distracted by an email or text message when you’re on camera!

To get started with video conferencing you will, of course, need a camera. If your laptop already has one, then you’re all set, otherwise just about any webcam would do.  Also, echoing can be an annoyance in group calls, and the best way to prevent that is to use a headset with a built in microphone.  One of the most popular is the Logitech USB Headset H390 that can be purchased for around $30.  If you have the standard Apple iPhone earbuds with built-in microphone, those work too.  Make sure the correct microphone is chosen in the application settings. 

Google Hangouts

If you use Google+, then you already have an account that can use Google Hangouts. A Hangout supports video and voice conferences for up to 10 people, and also supports additional plugins for useful features such as shared screen or whiteboard, and more cute than useful features such as video effects.  



Google’s approach to video streams during the conference is a bit unusual because only the current speaker’s video is full size, and everyone else is smaller video thumbnail. This allows Hangouts to be used over slower network connections, and they tend to work reasonably well for your international participants.  The audio quality is satisfactory. 

Skype Groups

If you are working with an international team, then there is a good chance that you are already using Skype or a similar VOIP application. (If you’re still using a phone, then you could cut your phone bills and try Skype). In addition to free person to person calls over the Internet, Skype also supports group calls with video, which until recently was for paid subscribers only. Now group video calls are free up to 100 hours per month with limits, such as no more than 10 hours per day and 4 hours per individual video call.  Once these limits have been reached, the video will switch off and the call will convert to an audio call. They recommend group video calls with up to five people, although the maximum number allowed is 10.

The group calls also support screen sharing, but when doing this, the screen sharing replaces the video feed.  Skype’s strength has always been maintaining decent audio quality across a variety of network bandwidths, and this is true for group calls as well. The video does seem to be pretty bandwidth  hungry and larger group calls tend to bog down.

Skype Screenshot

It’s worth mentioning that Skype also supports Group chat channels. This is a great feature to use to stay connected to everyone but without the complete disruption of a meeting.  It’s also great for leaving a quick message for someone that is away from their desk. 

GoToMeeting Free

GoToMeeting Free is a new application built specifically for small groups who need quick sync-ups. It has excellent support for both audio and video, and allows for screen sharing and video at the same time.  For now, GoToMeeting Free is only available exclusively on Google Chrome so everyone participating in the meeting need to use that browser to use the service.



Comparison Chart

These free tools come with some limitations, mostly around the number of participants, video/audio quality, and minimal feature sets.  The good news is if you outgrow any of the free versions, you have the option to upgrade to a paid subscription to meet your needs.I’ve featured only three of many free online meeting tools.  You might also want to check out WebEx Meetings Basic, Fuze Free, TeamViewer, AnyMeeting Free, and Uber Conference.  All of these tools come with a similar standard feature set like audio and video conferencing and screen sharing.  Because there are many to choose from, try them out and find one that your team finds easy and fun to use.

Which of these tools are you currently using?  Are there others that you would recommend to your fellow small business owners?


Let us know what you think by emailing us at and make sure to subscribe to our email updates to stay up to date on the spotlight series of blogs.

Friday, June 13, 2014 - 10:05

By René Lacerte, Founder & CEO,

The life of a Founder and CEO often takes me away from my business, my team and my family. While traveling this week, I had the opportunity to reflect about the upcoming holiday, Father’s Day, and the impact that my Dad and Granddad had in shaping me as an entrepreneur, and now how I’m sharing that with my boys. 

I was lucky to be surrounded by a family of entrepreneurs from which I drew important observations that shaped me into the leader I am today. My Granddad, Arcel, was a sales-oriented entrepreneur. I watched him listen. He often was the person who spoke the least at the dinner table, but would ask the most insightful questions. He was an active listener, and that helped him understand his customers and employees better.  He always wanted to understand a persons underlying motivation so that he could help them be successful. Through him, I saw how important effective listening is and how it affects people and profits immediately. 

While my Dad was also a great salesman, he was a product person at his core. He loved to create things, whether it was music or financial service products.  I watched him follow his passion, develop multiple products he thought were needed, and build them all into successful businesses.  From him, I learned how to not get distracted by critics, and how important it is to follow one’s passion. This lesson is a critical part of who I am and what I do. It is at the core of my success. It carried me through the awkward infancy stage of both PayCycle and when people would incredulously ask, “Why are you doing that?”

Lacerte Dad & Granddad

Listening and tirelessly following your passion are lasting lessons that my Dad and Granddad shared with me, maybe unintentionally. As a result of that learning, I think about my sons and how I am sharing my experience with them.  What are the most important lessons I can teach them about life and business through my experiences running a company? 

First and foremost, I share all the fun and challenging stuff I encounter every night at dinner.  I want them to feel my passion and excitement, and I want them to value that in their own careers.  In addition, I want them to see that there are challenges - things that I am unsure how to solve or that I don’t know how to do. I think it is critical that they know that every person faces hard problems that require hard work to solve.  And that sometimes you may even get it wrong. What matters most is how you address the challenges.  In fact, some of my best learning has come from my biggest challenges where I was unsure of at the beginning.  My hope is that my sons learn it is okay to be unsure as long as you move through the issue thoughtfully and authentically.

The other lesson I share with them is that when it comes to managing people, it has to come from the heart.  Whether you are hiring, motivating or coaching, authenticity is what matters.  When I am working on a speech for the company, I share my thoughts and solicit theirs.  From time to time, they even get to hear me present those speeches.  They have seen me excited, choked up and very focused in front of the company.   I hope they have learned that you cannot get people to be excited, inspired and motivated if you are not opening your heart.

It’s unavoidable that my kids see how much I work. There is no denying how much energy I put into They have front row seats to the challenges and value of hard work. I hope that sharing my experiences will have as much of an impact on them as my Dad and Granddad did on me.  

Want to share the lessons you learned from your family or how you’re helping your kids grow into tomorrow’s leaders and entrepreneurs?


Email me at

Monday, June 9, 2014 - 13:49

By Ellen Gomes, Manager- Social Media,

Jeremy Bodenhamer, like most great entrepreneurs, encountered a question and a problem and sought to reinvent the solution. The solution - ShipHawk- a platform that helps anyone ship anything anywhere quickly, simply and at the best price.

In starting  and growing his business, Bodenhamer has learned many lessons, some the hard way. So, we caught up with him and asked him about what he wished he had known from the start.

ShipHawk Founders

Here are his 3 lessons for entrepreneurs to consider:

Spend time setting up systems, protocols, and tools.

“How are you documenting your processes? Do you know where a resource is? Having those systems in place is vital. Time spent evaluating the right tool is vital to an organization - the right tool will you save you time and money and prevent the wasted time and headache of switching later.”

Always keep your customer in mind.

“Have you set up a process to ensure a seamless customer experience? Do you know their goals and feel their pain? It is directly related to what you should be working on every day. We work to fill the customer needs.”

Hire a great team.

“We have a culture of getting along, working out together and supporting each other. This translates to a team that works really well side by side at a fast pace. It’s not by coincidence, we built our team with that in mind and looked for 50% industry experts and 50% really smart people. This strategy has been vital to our success.”


Hear more about Jeremy’s story & ask him questions during our webinar event June 12. Register Now: 

Friday, June 6, 2014 - 12:18

By Ellen Gomes, Manager- Social Media,

After purchasing a failing brick and mortar Pack & Ship business in 2006, Jeremy Bodenhamer started working to turn it around. After “pouring energy into the business” and experiencing “astronomical growth,” Bodenhamer noticed he was encountering the repetitive question from customers “How much does it cost to ship this?” 

Bodenhamer saw an opportunity, “the software was really bad, it fundamentally did not answer the question.” So Bodenhamer and his partner, Aaron Freeman started to think about how they could change the face of shipping to be more useable and straightforward. ShipHawk, a shipping platform that helps users ship anything anywhere, was their answer to the question “How much does it cost to ship this?” 


ShipHawk was designed to make the shipping process exceptionally simple for a user looking to ship anything; it does the work to figure out the actual shipping costs -- negotiating with each needed vendor on behalf of the user. They soft launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in April 2013 and then publicly at Pitch in September 2014. 


ShipHawk uses for their business accounts payable processes and has found additional key business advantages that have helped it scale and grow: 


1) Competitive Payments:

A critical part of ShipHawk’s success is their ability to competitively acquire carrier contracts. A key component of that process is being able to deliver payment seamlessly while adhering to each vendor’s payment terms and requirements. 


2) Security:

ShipHawk does not have to handle their carrier’s sensitive bank data.  With, carriers & vendors control their own payment details which protects both parties from exchanging private information. The data is then encrypted in the system. 


3) Document Storage:

ShipHawk used to scan and copy all their statements into Dropbox, but it did not provide a seamless or integrated experience. Now, ShipHawk stores all their statements in “It’s much easier as it’s done all together,” says Bodenhamer. ShipHawk’s operations manager loves to forward his bills to his account email address which “allows him to deal with all the bills at once.”

Do you want to learn more about how Jeremy & ShipHawk use to organize their business and accounts payable? Register for our June 12 event! 

Bring your questions- we’ll have a live Q&A session.

Friday, May 30, 2014 - 11:26


By Ellen Gomes, Manager- Social Media,

 As an entrepreneur, you are constantly finding ways to operate your business efficiently and effectively, without taking away time and resources from making profit.  You find yourself constantly dividing your days (and nights) between attending meetings, reading contracts, managing projects, signing checks, paying taxes, writing blogs, tweeting about your blogs, among other things.

Tools to help run your business

 The Spotlight blog series will feature tools and applications that will help you accomplish these tasks in an organized, simplified, and timely manner.

  • Meeting tools
  • Document management apps
  • Project management apps
  • Industry news sources
  • Legal resources
  • Expense reporting tools
  • Social networking tools
  • Accounting software

Are there other important tasks or functions that you would like us to evaluate tools for?

Drop us a note at  We’d love to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 09:41

By Ellen Gomes, Manager- Social Media,

If you know a little bit about and what it does, you may have heard that syncs with Quickbooks. It’s totally true. In fact, we sync with Quickbooks Windows even if the program or your company file are stored remotely-- which might have been something you were worried about. But it’s okay, because we’ve got your back. If your Quickbooks is stored somewhere in the cloud or remotely, we’ll get you ready to go in no time.  You can still get going with in a few simple steps.

Remote Sync with Quickbooks Desktop

To get started, you'll need to locate where your QuickBooks Windows program lives, as installation instructions will vary depending on its location - is it on your machine, a server in your office, or hosted by a cloud provider? If it's on a server, or in the cloud, you'll need to enlist your IT person, or contact your cloud provider, to get it installed - DIY is not recommended, as the process is pretty technical.

Once the Sync Dashboard is installed, you're only a few steps away from your first sync! 

  1. Close out of QuickBooks Windows, and the Sync Dashboard
  2. Open the Sync Dashboard
  3. Open QuickBooks Windows and open the company file you'd like to sync with. 
  4. Click Next in the Sync Dashboard - now that your QuickBooks file is open, the Sync Dashboard will automatically determine the location of the file. 
  5. Visually confirm the location is correct (try not to click Browse - you might unintentionally select the wrong company file, or a backup file)
  6. Click Next - you will see a security certificate. 
  7. Click Yes to finish the sync setup

Now, perform your first sync by selecting the Sync Profile in the Sync Dashboard, and clicking Sync. 

It should only take about 10 minutes to get the sync set up. If you're ready to get started, we're available to help get you up and running

For more information about the sync, including setup instructions, check out our Answer: QuickBooks for Windows Sync Setup - Overview 

Friday, May 23, 2014 - 09:48


By Ellen Gomes, Manager- Social Media,

SMB business owners know that when they accept payment online with a credit card, they’re always charged a transaction fee for credit card processing.  This fee is usually 2.9% of the total cost of the product sold plus $0.30 a transaction.

If a business invoices a customer for products or services that cost $1,000, the transaction fee is $29.30.  This can quickly increase as products and services become more expensive.  If the invoice is for $10,000, that transaction fee balloons to $290.30.  Can you reduce this fee?  

Avoid Credit Card Processing Fees

Yes, there are cheaper options for B2B businesses. has level 3 online credit card transaction rates, the lowest possible fees.  This offers most businesses a cheaper way to receive money from credit card payments.  Businesses have saved thousands of dollars in merchant fees by taking advantage of our level 3 online credit card transaction rates.   Businesses can even accept credit card payments online through their own branded portal using  Can you get even more savings?

Yes.  If you move from credit card transactions to Automated Clearing House (ACH) ePayment, you can do much better.   ACH is based on a flat fee, instead of a percentage.  It is much cheaper than a credit card, especially for larger amounts.  In addition to the hard cost savings of lower transaction fees, can also reduce accounting labor costs by making the process of accepting money through ACH as efficient as possible.  By making ACH easy, we’re finding that businesses are moving more and more of their transactions to ACH over time.

When do you send out invoices by postal mail?  When do you send out electronic invoices and when do you choose to accept online payment by credit card?

Your decision will affect profits.  It comes down to a balance of scale and labor costs.  An analysis of the process of how an SMB receives money could improve profits for your business.

Before setting up an online credit card option to accept payment for your company, it’s good to do a profit forecast model and assess how the system will affect your overall company profitability.  Small changes to transaction fees can add up to significant savings, especially for larger transactions.  Accounting labor costs can also be reduced by using to streamline workflows. 

If you have any questions or would like advice, please contact us at

Monday, May 19, 2014 - 10:24

By Julie Lubetkin, VP of Strategic Partners

Think about the technology your accounting or bookkeeping firm uses. More than likely, your technology ecosphere consists of several components that you’ve selected due to their individual merits. For example, you might have Intuit for your tax or finance software, a different program to hold contact information and notes, and yet another to handle your clients’ e-commerce transactions.

This idea of strategically splitting up sections of an overall business management system into discrete parts is what Doug Sleeter, founder and president of The Sleeter Group, calls “chunkification.” It allows you to benefit from multiple features that suit your operating needs – elements that an “all-in-one” platform may not offer or handle as adeptly. 

A big focus of chunkification in the accounting world is not only to be able to pick and choose the features you feel work best for your needs, but also to attain the highest level of collaboration, transparency, speed, and integration to take you one step closer to that beautiful “zero entry” world. Imagine a world where the connections between your technology chunks are so tightly woven together via the Internet that you no longer have to do individual updates within systems or duplicate data entry. Not only are inefficient practices eliminated, but you as the trusted financial advisor will have greater insight into your clients overall strategy and performance. 

But you have to choose and evaluate your chunks carefully. Not every software offering is a good fit for your practice or for your clients. 

One good opportunity is a “chunk” that suffers from an overkill of manual processes and inefficiency: bill payments. Bill payments can devour large amounts of time on repetitive and administrative activities such as contract review, approvals, follow-up, check runs, adjustments, and mailing. 

Wouldn’t your clients appreciate the adoption of a new and ideal “chunk” of technology that can take this task off of their hands? Wouldn’t you appreciate a new addition to your technology that can not only handle bill pay but automate it so well that your time is always spent productively instead of on administrative tasks? And what if this “chunk” helped to provide a big picture view into operations through collaboration, integration, and transparency? 

Join Doug Sleeter of The Sleeter Group and Jami Blackburn of for Chunkification 101: Bill Pay with, a webinar that will drill down into how to utilize cloud technology and online bill pay to reach new markets, make more money, and build stronger relationships with your clients. The webinar, scheduled for May 22nd at 11 a.m. PT, will include information on:

  • The bill pay business opportunity
  • Benefits of cloud-based bill pay services with including a demonstration
  • How to identify and select target clients
  • How to effectively sell outsourced bookkeeping and bill pay to clients.

The webinar will conclude with a live Q&A with Doug Sleeter so be sure to BYOQ (bring your own questions)! 

Register now for Chunkification 101: Bill Pay with 





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