Friday, April 11, 2014 - 12:25

By René Lacerte, Founder & CEO, BIll.com

This has been a monumental week for Bill.com. We won two prestigious payments industry awards—the NACHA George Mitchell Excellence in Payments Award and the Barlow Research Monarch Innovation Award. In addition, Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced its CashPro® BillPay product, which is provided by the bank through its relationship with Bill.com.

CashPro BillPay helps small- to medium-sized companies and enterprises move to a paper-free payments process that allows more automation, control and precision in payments timing and cash flow. This follows another powerful partnership announced earlier this year with PNC Bank, N.A., to offer additional features to Cash Flow InsightSM, a suite of online tools specifically designed to help small businesses better manage incoming and outgoing funds.

These successes are historic not just for us, but also for the banking industry. They represent the tipping point for online business payments.   

While online consumer bill pay has achieved widespread adoption, online business payments have lagged behind. 80% of transactions between small and medium businesses (SMBs) still involve paper invoices, paper checks or manual reconciliation, according to Aberdeen Research. With 24 million U.S. SMBs, that’s a lot of paper and inefficiency.

What’s held businesses back? Unlike consumer payments, business payments involve more than a simple transaction. As any business owner or CFO will attest, making the payment is only a small part of the overall process. The paper-intensive, manual process that occurs before and after the payment is made is time consuming, error-prone and expensive. Research from RPMG suggests 86% of the cost of a transaction is consumed by the process that occurs before and after the payment is made.  

The cloud is changing everything. The cloud allows disjointed systems and accounts to be harmonized together. Banks offering Bill.com services leverage the cloud to eliminate redundant and manual data entry, as well as social collaboration to speed up financial processes such as approving invoice payments.  Bill.com is the glue that seamlessly ties finance and accounting programs, banks, people and processes together. With Bill.com banks can now move to the heart of a business’ financial operation, instead of just being a transaction facilitator.

 

Technology is ubiquitous. It isn’t just accessible; it’s wearable. And to expect businesses of any size to not join this revolution, to continue using pen and paper seems ludicrous. The cloud is not a fad. It is a solution. And banks are no longer just transaction providers. They are strategic, tech-savvy business partners providing end-to-end financial solutions.  

 

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 12:46

By Natasha Dolginsky, Sr. Marketing Manager, Bill.com

We’re always looking to provide value to our event attendees, whether that event is a tradeshow, panel discussion or a webinar. We host a few webinars each month, with interesting topics, great speakers and even better actionable content.  We’ve covered improving your approval workflow, helping your business go paperless and getting the most out of your accounting software. 

The webinar content isn’t even the best part, it’s the interactive discussion we have with attendees about their business -the Q&A about applying the webinar topic in their specific business and scenario. 

And webinar after webinar our audience wants more of “How does Bill.com work?” And inevitably, “How will it help me?”

Out of those questions and requests the “Bill.com Product Demo Series” was born.

Because there was too much information to cover in one session, we’ve created an overview demo followed by deeper dives into different product functionalities. During each demo we’ll show you what a typical day looks like with Bill.com. Our fictitious company, Pasta Fresca, gets invoice approval from a remote boss, pays bills, gets paid, seamlessly syncs with their accounting software, and much more.

The overview module was a hit, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming demos. Below are replay links to past demos and registration links to upcoming ones. Hope to see you there!

 

P.S. Bring your questions!

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Friday, March 14, 2014 - 14:11

By Julie Carman, Sr. Director, Strategic Partners, Bill.com

A significant component that impacts the accounting profession is the resiliency (or lack of resiliency) to change. One very important variable toward change is the adoption of cloud technology. 

How can cloud technology influence people so that they find comfort and security to change? If you own a smartphone to text, shop online, and/or coordinate your travel plans you have already changed and adopted cloud technology. Now you can transfer this process of change and adoption to your accounting profession that will then ensure transactional benefits as it has for your personal life. Choosing cloud technology will help you respond to the ongoing challenges and drivers for the accounting profession including automated processes, optimized customer experience, attract and acquire new clients, expand into new markets, staying one step ahead of the competition, and many more attributes that will equal economic success.

Some of the key drivers that are expected to have the greatest impact on the accounting profession include the market demand for transparency, integrated reporting, stable yet flexible business models, succession plans, and a high quality talent pool. Adopting cloud technology will help you address these and other drivers that will impact the accountant industry for the next decade. 

Your technology choices will be vital to the success of your organization and will deeply separate the successful firms from the rest. The technology you choose should allow your firm to:

  • Serve and acquire more clients without increasing costs and staff
  • Scale your business and offer more financial and non-financial services
  • Expand into new markets
  • Automate workflow
  • Enhance efficiencies
  • Access data on-demand
  • Increase daily productivity
  • Establish and maintain an agile business model
  • Reduce the risk of fraud and regulations breach
  • Increase security, transparency, and trust

The world today is highly competitive, collaborative, and integrated. In order to gain a sustainable advantage, you must stay abreast and aligned with what impacts and drives the accounting industry. Cloud technology adoption will allow you to achieve this while providing you with real-time and relevant data that will give you visibility into economic scenarios and instantly view business information and trends so that you can build a high-performing, healthy, and growing firm.

Download and read the "Selecting the Right Technology" white paper to learn:

  • Steps to progress the firm's modernization efforts
  • Benefits of SaaS or cloud-based solutions for accounting professionals
  • Mistakes made when selecting new technology
  • Consideration points for evaluating technology and vendors

Access our on-demand webinar series featuring Bill.com and Doug Sleeter of The Sleeter Group titled “Get in the Game” to learn essential steps to position you for more profitability and productivity.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 11:06

By Julie Lubetkin, VP of Strategic Partners

The accounting world is shrinking. 

What normally constrained an accounting firm’s growth – location – has now been rendered obsolete with the advent of cloud technology that promotes collaboration and real-time information sharing no matter where you are or what you are doing. 

It is no secret that technology can provide your firm and your clients with a competitive edge. And yet, research shows that accounting professionals are often slow to adopt new technologies. 

In The Sleeter Group 2013 survey of small businesses that use an external accounting firm for bookkeeping, payroll or other financial services, a majority of respondents indicated that they prefer that their CPA help plan and implement technology changes for their business. And yet, almost half of the respondents said that their CPA was behind the curve on technology usage or they were not sure about the state of their accounting firm’s technology adoption. 

Another point of interest: The 2014 Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey eBook from Network Management Group and Insight Research found that 80 percent of respondents do not have a technology budget and 41 percent are not using a software as a service (SaaS) application which could be classified as cloud computing. Furthermore, only 32 percent indicated that they are either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to implement a SaaS tax or accounting application in the next two years.

There are many factors that impact how quickly (or slowly) accountants adopt new technology. Accountants, by trade, can be risk-averse and protective, by necessity, of their clients’ information. Hopefully, in future surveys we will see these numbers start to turn more in favor of the accounting professional truly leading on the technology front.

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Friday, March 7, 2014 - 10:45

Geraldine Cruz, Senior Director, Product Marketing

Intuit® QuickBooks® Online (QBO) is a popular tool for managing small and midsize businesses. Like many accounting systems, QBO records and tracks payments, but does not physically “move money” from one bank account to another. After all, money movement is a highly regulated business activity ― one that falls outside the core capabilities of accounting software.

So just like users of other accounting systems, QBO users must print and mail checks themselves, send electronic payment (ACH) files to their banks, or use some other service outside of QBO to initiate and complete the payments. Bill.com™ fills this critical gap by integrating seamlessly with QBO and offering a full-service payment solution.

Figure 1. Seamless integration between Quickbooks Online and Bill.com extends the accounts payable process. 

 

QBO customers can pay anyone, anytime with paper checks or ACH. Bill.com prints and mails checks, eliminates payment fraud, and offers other payment capabilities designed for businesses. All payments and transactions are synced to QuickBooks, which remains the “the record of truth” for the business.

Bill.com capabilities unmatched by any other payment solution provider include:

  • Supports both checks and ACH: Bill.com provides the flexibilty to use one solution for both checks and ACH.
  • Automates the payment process: You can pay bills without printing and mailing checks, or uploading ACH files to your banks’ systems — we do all of that for you.
  • Fully supports payments until they are delivered to recipients: You can leverage our customer support to mitigate payment issues, including voided payments, reissued payments, and credits.
  • Eliminates payment fraud: Bill.com eliminates payment fraud in two ways. First, your bank account information is never printed on checks. Second, vendors do not have to provide bank account information to customers in order to accept electronic payments, in contrast with other ACH payment services.
  • Provides full remittance information: When a user makes a payment via Bill.com, the vendor will receive an email notification, remittance number, the invoice numbers paid, and the process date. If the payment is via ACH, we also include the date the payment will be delivered to the vendor’s bank. Payments made via check will include full remittance information, the business’ contact information, any vendors credits that were applied, and an image of the first page of the bill (if only one bill is being paid). If multiple bills are paid with one check, we include a table referencing each bill, by invoice number, on the check stub.
  • Boosts vendor acceptance of ACH: The processing costs of ACH are much lower than those for checks. Yet vendors often resist ACH because of limited remittance information and security concerns from sharing bank account information with customers. Bill.com resolves both issues, spurring vendor adoption.
  • Fulfills business payment needs: In addition to full remittance information, Bill.com offers businesses of any size the payment capabilities traditionally available only to enterprise applications. Bill.com imposes no payment limits and does not require personal guarantees.
  • Provides a built-in payment approval workflow solution: Bill.com routes payment requests automatically to designated reviewers to approve. This reduces the need for a requestor to spend time chasing down approvals and can expedite turnaround time for payments.
  • Delivers a full payment audit trail: The Bill.com payment audit trail furnishes evidence of the integrity of your payment-oriented financial statements and the establishment of internal controls.

Implementation and Sync

Implementation of Bill.com, including the first sync between the application and QBO, is often accomplished within an hour. After the first sync, integration between the two applications is done in seconds, and can be set up to run automatically every 24 hours. Many customers can complete the implementation and sync themselves, but all customers have access to Bill.com Customer Support to ensure that all everyone can use the integrated applications effectively. Contact us for more information about how Bill.com can expand the power of QuickBooks Online for your business.

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Monday, March 3, 2014 - 13:08

By Dan Lind, Vice President, Bank Solutions, Bill.com

PNC, one of the country’s largest banks, recently announced it leveraged Bill.com to automate the payables and receivables modules in Cash Flow InsightSM, its online toolkit for small businesses.  This is incredibly exciting news for Bill.com, providing the first proof point of the value and potential of our banking platform. The Bill.com Banking Platform is a game changer for banks, enabling banks to create a branded set of tools for businesses to manage their entire payables, receivables, and cash flow management processes.  Through integration with the Bill.com Banking Platform, online banking becomes the hub for all financial operations, strengthening the relationships between the bank and their customers.

While this announcement is exciting news for the banking industry, it is also important to the primary stakeholders in the financial process.   

It is important for:

- Those who dread the stacks of bills and checks that await them at the end of the week to print, review, sign, stuff, and mail.   

- Those who buy their “Forever” stamps by the roll, but still find themselves at the post office more often than they would like.  

-Those who carefully enter all their bills into accounting software, only to enter them again into online billpay.  

-Those who wait patiently for the check that is “in the mail” while hoping it comes before it is time to run payroll.  

-Those whose new office furniture consists of file boxes full of last year’s bills, invoices, contracts and other financial documents. 

-Those who would love to take a vacation, if only they could take their file cabinets and desktop computer along to answer the inevitable questions about incoming bills and outgoing invoices.

-Those who fear their first (or annual) audit, hoping they filed everything in the right place. 

Why is it important to all those who suffer with manual, time-consuming and paper-intense payables and receivables processes? Because it is the first wave in a tide of innovation- sweeping change across the financial processes of U.S. businesses.  It signals a world in which well-designed technology is broadly embraced to vastly improve the way our businesses operate.  

Banks play a critical role in the financial health and operations of businesses.  It is natural for online banking to be at the center of managing payables, receivables and cash flow. With banks embracing the Bill.com Banking Platform, businesses have yet another channel through which to access services that will help them significantly improve their efficiency.   As the leading provider of automated cash flow management services, we are excited to be a part of this change.  

 

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Friday, February 28, 2014 - 09:43

By Tallie

Non-reimbursable credit card charges have been the Achilles' heel of the automated expense management workflow. Seamless data integration exists for reimbursable expenses, but manual steps or workarounds were common answers for non-reimbursables. An integrated solution for non-reimbursable credit card charges was one of the biggest requests from our Bill.com clients.

This month, Tallie and Bill.com implemented their first non-reimbursable credit card import integration. From expenses paid out of pocket to charges incurred on the company card, Tallie now has the capability to manage and export non-reimbursable corporate credit card charges into Bill.com, covering every scenario.

Consider this scenario:

Conor, an up and coming sales rep, takes a taxi to a business lunch at Bix and uses his company credit card to pay for his cab ride. After a deal-closing lunch meeting with his biggest lead’s CEO, Conor accidentally uses a second, different corporate card to pay for lunch and snaps a picture of the receipt. During his cab ride home, he realizes he left his wallet at Bix. Fortunately, Conor was carrying enough cash on hand to pay for the taxi out of pocket, and he uses the Tallie app to snap a picture of that cab receipt. 

3 days later, Conor sees Tallie has processed all the receipts (displaying merchant, date, amount and expense categories). He also notices Tallie has connected the Bix lunch receipt to the other company credit card charge, automatically. At once, Conor can submit one expense report and he’s done. That expense report, with charges from two separate company cards and a reimbursable expense on it, can be exported in one swoop directly into Bill.com. 

Here’s a guide to how non-reimbursable corporate credit card charges can be imported into Bill.com and how the additional features ensure you and your team are successful - even in the situation described above.

First, Tallie can now import non-reimbursable Corporate Credit Card charges into Bill.com and gives you two options.

Importing Corporate Credit Card Charges as One Bill

With this setting, Tallie will create a bill to your Credit Card vendor with each charge listed on the bill as a line item. When the charges are synced to Bill.com, they arrive as one bill with a line item for each expense. As a result you no longer need to enter each expense as a line item into Bill.com

Importing Corporate Credit Card Charges as One Bill

 For more information on how to set these up, see this guide.

 

Several additional features have been included in this release.

Marking Imported Bills as Paid

If this option is selected, each imported bill will be marked as paid to your selected account. If you don’t want to send a payment to your Credit Card company through Bill.com, simply mark this as your preference and Tallie will import these bills as paid.

Separating Reimbursable Expenses and Charges from Multiple Cards

If an expense report has reimbursable charges and non-reimbursable charges on it, Tallie will separate those into two bills in Bill.com. Additionally, if one expense report has charges from multiple company cards, Tallie will create separate bills for each, mapped to the correct vendor and account in Bill.com.

Importing Negative Amounts as Vendor Credits

If the total of the Corporate Credit Card expenses on a given report is negative, we'll create a vendor credit. If the total of the report is >$0, the negative line items will import as regular line items. 

For further information on how these items look in Tallie, see this guide.

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Friday, February 28, 2014 - 09:07

By Nga Tran & Gabe Robinson, HR Team, Bill.com

It was pretty clear once you stepped into the Quadrus Center, and saw the panoramic views of the surrounding hills, that Bill.com’s 2014 Annual Company Party was going to be a success! Employees and their guests mingled with each other over the sounds of acoustic guitars played by the Gypsy Tribe. Trays of delicious appetizers were passed, bartenders poured generous drinks, and wild laughter carried throughout the evening.

The time to sit down for dinner came and the set-up was extraordinary! Tables adorned with flowers and perfectly arranged silverware awaited everyone. One of the most amusing moments of the night was watching everyone scurry to the tables and discover who they were sitting with, which resulted in people sitting with others who they normally don’t get to talk with on a daily basis. Team building at its best!

Dinner was kicked off by an employee icebreaker, guessing game led by the HR team and closed with an inspiring speech by René, recapping the momentus year for all of us at Bill.com. It’s moments like these that make everyone feel proud to be part of the Bill.com team. Rene’s speech must have spurred an extra boost of energy because several of the employees continued mingling and having a good time until the event center closed.

All in all, the company party was a giant success and a reminder to all us Bill.com’ers of how lucky we are to work here and what we are working hard to build. We’re up to the challenge of topping our success next year!


For available positions at Bill.com, please visit http://www.bill.com/about-us/careers/

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 11:41

By Julie Lubetkin, VP of Strategic Partners

Paper, the traditional "currency" of the accounting world, is coming to the end of its golden age. Invoices, reports, and payments are all migrating to electronic formats that allow you to access the critical information you need anytime, anywhere. This online convenience is the cornerstone of the Bill.com service.Despite this evolution to the cloud, many small businesses remain chained to paper receipts, bills, and invoices that slow down every process and limit mobility. This saps their ability to leverage real-time information for strategic planning and growth.

Bill.com and PNC Bank

Today, we took yet another step towards helping businesses break the paper chain. Leveraging the power of Bill.com, PNC Bank's Cash Flow InsightSM now offers advanced online features that link accounting software with business' bank accounts. The solution allows business owners to migrate previously paper-dependent processes online including receiving and making electronic payments, creating and sharing branded invoices, and managing financial information such as invoices, bills and receipts.  But most importantly, it arms small businesses with more tools to help develop on-demand financial insight.

How this Helps Accounting Professionals

The Bill.com Business Payment Network – a network that already has more than 400,000 members paying and getting paid more than $10 billion a year – is expanding and as more businesses join the network, the easier it will be to pay and get paid electronically. This expansion helps to speed up processes and eliminate labor-intensive, duplicative and error-prone data entry.  This also means less paper, less time, and more productivity. 

It is said, “a rising tide lifts all the boats”.  Such is the case with the rising tide of awareness in the small business market that viable alternatives exist to their current manual, time-consuming and error-prone back-end financial processes. As trusted advisors to these businesses, accounting professionals will be on the front lines of providing the expertise and insight required to guide businesses on how to leverage these alternatives to their optimal financial benefit. 

We're excited with this development with PNC Bank and the positive results it will invite with building our Business Payment Network. If you'd like to learn more about it, you can read PNC Bank press release.

 

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Monday, February 24, 2014 - 09:51

Geraldine Cruz, Senior Director, Product Marketing

Apps can extend the value of your accounting software by delivering functionality unavailable with your backend system. Examples of apps currently available for the leading accounting systems include:

•A full-service, automated payment solution that leverages vendor and invoice data to help businesses pay bills electronically or with paper checks 

•Document management capabilities that connect contracts, invoices,and proposals with customer and vendor data 

•Customer relationship management functionality that transforms lead and proposal data into customer data and invoices upon successful contract execution

•Business intelligence features that analyze order processing, workflows, and other transactional data to measure business efficiencies 

Leading accounting software vendors feature “App Storefronts” on their websites that makes it easy for customers to find new apps that fit their business needs. But the consumer, retail-like experience may belie the need to assess the business, technical, and security capabilities of the app developer with the same rigor as it did when it evaluated the purchase of the accounting system. Assuming you have already done your due diligence in evaluating the fit of an app to your business and technology needs, you should consider the following seven questions and be comfortable with the answers — before you purchase the app:  

1.Does the vendor of the accounting system endorse the app? One indication that the accounting software vendor endorses the app is that it lists it on its “App Storefront.” But not all “App Storefronts” are created equally. The ease or difficulty in getting a vendor endorsement will vary. You should determine how the accounting software vendor evaluates apps. And read what reviewers say about the app, but do not limit your evaluation to just the reviewers on the “App Storefront”. Nothing beats talking to a variety of customers about their experiences with the app. 

2.What challenges, if any, should I expect to integrate the app with my accounting system? Even if the app promises complete integration with your accounting system, you should ask the app developer and its customers about the difficulty of the first integration between the two applications. You should expect some challenges if you have customized the accounting system or are using the system or the data fields differently than the way customers traditionally use them. 

3.Where is the app and the data it generates hosted? The app may be hosted on the same server as your accounting system and data, or it may be hosted separately on the app developer’s servers — or a company that hosts the app and the data. In the former scenario, initial integration may be easier, even for accounting systems that have been customized. If the app is hosted on a different server, you may need to use and pay for integration services from the app developer. You should also assess whether the app developer — or the company hosting the app — can support the volumes you anticipate, particularly during your peak periods. 

4.How does the app developer address updates to the accounting system? Cloud-based accounting systems will inevitably be updated, and the apps that integrate with them may need to be updated. Customizations to the accounting system may result in more challenging upgrades. Validate how the app developer intends to align its roadmap with the roadmap of your accounting software vendor.

5.At what point in your workflow will you need to sync the accounting system and the app? You should consider how and when the syncs between the two applications will need to be performed. When users need to sync data, will it occur naturally, as part of their workflow? Or are there required steps that delay, interrupt, or change the workflow? You may need to redesign your process and/or train users. Or you may decide that using the app requires too many detrimental changes to your workflow.

6.What data is being synced between the accounting system and the app, and is the sync bi-directional or uni-directional? You should know what data (or fields) are taken from the accounting system and what are passed back. This will help you determine if all data fields are updated bi-directionally, or if one system contains more updated data. 

Moreover, if the app is updating only one module in the accounting system (e.g., vendor and payments) but syncs many more fields than that (e.g., vendor, payments, customer, and customer invoices), you may want to ask the app provider to sync only the necessary data to get the app to work. And if the app developer cannot do that, you should assess if users have inadvertent access to data they should not, requiring a change in data access and controls.

7.How will the app scale with your business needs? Business needs change. Will the app accommodate your changing business needs? For example, as your business grows, will the app support those transaction volumes or support new features that you will need? If you anticipate upgrading to an accounting system that supports larger organizations, will the app support the new accounting system you are likely to adopt? Does the app have the same sync capabilities and features with the new accounting system? 

A trial of an app can provide some of the answers to these questions. You can see how the sync works; confirm which syncs are uni-directional and which are bi-directional; and validate that the app workflows and syncs align with your users’ current workflows. But it may be difficult, impossible, or not advisable to replicate the scenarios to test the app vendors’ capacity to support growing or changing business needs. Digging into these seven questions with the application developer and representative customers will help to flesh out what to expect in these scenarios.

 

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