Monday, August 1, 2011 - 07:26

Challenge
Mozilla is one of the biggest innovators on the Web. Rightrail_Mozilla Born from game-changing Netscape, Mozilla creates some of the most open and collaborative software and applications available – notably the Firefox web browser.

As they develop projects across the globe, information must flow quickly and digitally, which is why CFO Jim Cook was always on the lookout for a way to bring Mozilla’s financial operations online. In this age, Cook said “sending around paper to sign is ‘just crazy,’” so he’s continually researching new services to bring the 400 monthly invoices they manage online. He couldn’t find a service that offered enough financial management, accountability, and usability – all without coming across like an old enterprise solution.

Solution
Web searching led Cook to Bill.com, where he and a few managers were immediately impressed and suggested the service across 50 line-of-business managers for the real test. Being open, collaborative and innovative, Mozilla has a highly hands on and analytical culture. They seek out bugs in every service, application and feature they offer, and especially the ones they use internally. To Cook’s surprise, Bill.com rolled out across the Mozilla finance team quickly and painlessly.

Bill.com fit directly into the Mozilla way of life and existing financial systems. Every bill could be presented digitally to their global team, and maintained an audit trail to track all progress in real time. Even more, Bill.com’s integrated access to original contracts helped Mozilla use the service as a central hub for managing bills.

Results
The greatest benefits experienced by Mozilla are increased control and efficiency, which is critical with their open source digital culture. “Bill.com changes the game from a paper-based, manual system, to the way that non-financial people expect systems to work,” said Cook. Mozilla has removed paper-based inefficiencies, empowered its mobile and remote workers, and granted new levels of control to bills and all related documents in the process. Combined with ease of use, Cook confidently says “Bill.com is a killer app for accounts payable."

With their constant innovation, Mozilla is also working with Bill.com to expand international capabilities like currency translation and other multinational issues.

Download the Mozilla case study here

Friday, July 29, 2011 - 07:17

If you want to pay and get paid faster Moster_Paid and more accurately, then this tip is for you!

The most important piece of information you can collect up front from your vendors and customers (other than their names, of course) are their email addresses. With just a name or email address, you can set up a vendor or customer to get paid or pay you electronically.
And it is free to them!

Preliminary research shows that Bill.com Receivables customers get paid twice as quickly and vendors who are paid electronically know exactly when they will be receiving funds. These are facts that you, your customers and vendors can bank on!

Collect the email address up front when establishing relationships with your customers and vendors. You'll be glad you did! If you need help with this process, contact us. 
We are always here to help!

Contact us at support@hq.bill.com to learn more!

Add the Paperwork Monster to your Twitter Feed: @Pprworkmonster

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Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 11:40

Challenge
Jeremy Pyles and his wife started a humble design company Rightrail_niche in 2003 called Niche Modern. They soon found that their glass-blown lighting was flying off the shelves, and they refocused their business on blown glass for the hospitality and residential industries. Niche Modern doubled in size each year from 2003 to 2008, and it continues to grow at a rapid pace. However, as the main product designer, Pyles was pulled away more each day from designing new blockbuster products and into the bill payment and financial management of his booming company. Even more, Pyles needed time to be a husband and father of two.

Pyles needed a way to streamline his bookkeeping so he could focus on making the great products that were growing his company. He needed a trustworthy option, which cancelled out the idea of throwing a new hire into the mix. He already used QuickBooks to manage inventory, but without workflow capabilities to have others approve and pay bills, Pyles’ accounts payable hat was becoming a full-time helmet.

Solution
Every option was on the table for Pyles as the pressure was mounting to stay focused on design. He tried the online bill payment from his bank, but ran into issues with routing numbers and not having enough overall management. Pyles’ web searching led him to a Bill.com YouTube video, and after a short-test drive he immediately fell in love with the service.

To ensure Niche Modern’s financial future, Pyles and his wife maintained oversight of reviewing and approving vendor bills on Bill.com. They integrated QuickBooks with Bill.com, and brought an assistant in to manage smaller daily bills like shipping and other administrative tasks.

Result
With so much at stake, Bill.com not only changed Niche Modern’s business, it changed Jeremy’s life. Jeremy’s time on accounts payable went from 20 hours per week to 2. This meant more time during the day for customers rather than bills, and more time on weekends for his family. With 48-hour payment turnaround, relationships with vendors improved and Jeremy gained real-time cash flow oversight. New contractors were added in easily, and Jeremy finally broke free from the paper check hassles he hated – losing checks, double sending, stopping payments, etc.

Jeremy notes the Bill.com relationship feels similar to doing business with family. Niche Modern is working closely with Bill.com developers to solve new and unique challenges. They are one of the original users of Bill.com Zen, an on-demand service that automatically scans and enters relevant billing information to the Bill.com payment system. Pyles is also working with Bill.com on a solution to accept credit card payments, and streamlining other payment needs specific to his business.

“As a small business owner, Bill.com not only saves me time and money, but it gave me my life back!”

To learn more about Niche Modern, catch up with them on Twitter, Facebook, or on their website: www.nichemodern.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 12:09

  1. How did you get into your line of work?
I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur Rightrail_mHsu but wasn’t completely sure how to achieve it. After getting my CPA and Masters of Accountancy, I started working for a public accounting firm. Working as a consultant, I felt as if the accounting departments of the businesses I was working with were not moving forward as the rest of the same business would grow. One day it hit me, “why am I going to different accounting departments trying to fix problems one at a time when I can just build my own solution and allows other businesses to benefit from it?” From there, DeepSky was born with the sole focus of helping entrepreneurs to be successful. I based my business on the radical idea of applying cloud based technology solutions to accounting practices – this combination helps business owners make strategic real time decisions that allow them to achieve their goals.

2. What have you learned through the school of hard knocks?
I am still learning, but I believe that there are three things that are engrained in my business process:

  • Be humble and confident – This opens doors. People are more willing to help you learn and become more successful.
  • Do more with less – Small changes make a big impact.
  • Make ideas happenIdeas have great value, but it is important to take action because action makes an idea become a reality.

3. What keeps you up at night?
My customers and how I can deliver a better experience to them. DeepSky is unlike any accounting firm or what anyone in the accounting industry has done. It is similar to how Bill.com changed the industry for paying and managing bills. I dream at night of reaching potential customers who haven’t found our business. I had a prospect call me and say “I have been looking for you for your service for the last 2 months. I just didn’t know what you were called or that you existed.” I wont have to count sheep anymore once I know my customers can easily find DeepSky.

4. How has Bill.com helped your business chase its dreams?
I’m not trying to be cheesy but when I love a product, I talk about it a lot. I love Bill.com and I tell other people all the time how much I love your financial platform. Bill.com has changed the marketplace and changed the way bill pay, workflow, invoicing and document storage is supposed to be done. We are educating our customers about the benefits of Bill.com – once they start using it they love Bill.com just as much as we do. Bill.com changes their life and is a cornerstone of our service.

Download a complete PDF of these 4 questions

Note: 4 Questions is a new feature on the Bill.com blog where we will ask the same 4 questions of a different Bill.com customer. Given the tremendous passion and can-do attitude of small and mid-sized businesses, we believe these same four questions will result not in repeat answers, but in interesting insight into many different journeys. Want to be profiled? Tweet us at @billcom and let us know!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 08:14

Soutirage, a Napa Valley wine business that uses the latest  Rightrail_Wine2 in Internet-based technology to inventory the thousands of bottles of fine wines in its warehouse, was still paying bills by hand until their new CFO found Bill.com. Today, paying Soutirage's electric bill is as easy as finding a bottle of 1990 Chateau Lafite Rothschild in the wine company's warehouse.

Soutirage – the French term for the refinement process in wine-making – was founded in 2007 by Chad Meyer, the son of a Napa Valley winery pioneer, and British native Matt Wilson, who had been a Manhattan wine consultant. The partners spent two years designing a business that helps wine aficionados around the world expand and maintain their collections. Soutirage wine experts evaluate clients' existing wine collections, oversee the design of new wine cellars and suggest and procure wine selections for everything from intimate parties to state dinners. The average bottle of wine sold by Soutirage in 2010 cost $200; prices can go over $10,000 for a rare vintage. 

CFO Neev Nissenson said that when he joined Soutirage in 2011, the founders were using NetSuite's financial software for accounting and inventory management. "But they were still doing accounts payable the way they had done them for many years: printing checks, putting them into envelopes and mailing them out. The time it took was excessive. A NetSuite partner company was supposed to add an automated bill paying function, so I spent two or three months calling them, but they never called me back," he said.                                 

The frustrated CFO looked around for an alternative and found Bill.com while searching on the Internet. "I saw that Bill.com was in beta phase of an integration with NetSuite, so I asked to participate," Nissenson said. "A Bill.com technician set us up, and it's worked seamlessly ever since. We use the Bill.com/NetSuite integration to pay about 100 bills each month from our non-wine vendors, including utilities and professional services providers. Some vendors have joined our e-payment network, which makes paying them even cheaper and safer. Bill.com will send them an ‘evite’ to accept payment via ACH, and when they accept, they’re always amazed with how much faster their payments go through."  

Nissenson also added as a Bill.com/NetSuite beta integration participant. "Bill.com's customer support has been outstanding," he said, “During the beta process, they took care of any problem immediately and they appreciate my feedback."

Bill.com saves the 11-person Soutirage staff time in other ways as well. Because all bills are now online, Soutirage supervisors can approve bills remotely, when they are working from home, or internationally scouting wine. And because Bill.com allows users to attach documentation to each bill, "If there's something I don't remember, I just click on the bill and all the information pops up, showing who approved it and when payment was made,” said Nissenson. “If a bill was synched into NetSuite, an icon appears and I can see full bill approval and payment details, so I immediately know the status.”

Soutirage continues to build a reputation as a sophisticated Soutirage_logolimit-pusher by leveraging technology to its greatest potential. Before the 2011 G8 Summit in May, French President Nicholas Sarkozy held a pre-summit for global media and technology leaders and invited 300 of them, including the founders of Facebook, Google and Amazon, to a private showing and wine tasting at the Louvre. After two weeks of negotiation, event organizers convinced the French museum staff to allow American wines to be served there for the first time, and commissioned Soutirage to choose and pour them wines. As an extra attraction, Soutirage put a Quick Response (QR) code on each bottle, so that as they sipped, the tech leaders could read tasting notes about each wine on their smartphones.

“With 11 people, we’re constantly looking for solutions that reduce unnecessary time waste. I have so much stuff to do! Rather than stuffing envelopes or licking stamps, I’m able to focus on making business decisions that determine the future of Soutirage. Bill.com has helped us maintain a very advanced, tech-savvy operation while dealing with very old, refined wines.”

Download the complete Case Study here.

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Monday, July 25, 2011 - 09:07

The term has been around since the 70’s andBeancounter refers to accountants  that are so meticulous that they count every bean when doing inventory. Having worked at Price Waterhouse in the 90’s, I can appreciate the value in such thoroughness. But having worked with many accountants thru Intuit, PayCycle and now Bill.com, I know it is far from the truth of what you do.

That is why, when I hear competitors (that shall remain nameless) refer to accountants as “Bean Counters”, I get annoyed. They clearly don’t understand what you do every day and where the profession is heading. Nor do they understand what your clients really need. As we come to the end of the year and the last remaining tradeshows for the year, there is no better reminder of this than the annual Sleeter conference. Accountants get together to learn how to help small businesses manage and build their business using the newest techniques and technologies. The profession has moved well beyond the numbers.

However, with so many new opportunities you have to focus or else you will only offer partial solutions to your clients. As accountants, your plate is full. Your clients call with tax questions, estate planning, technology issues, bookkeeping needs, audit requirements and general business advice. What is the best way to focus?

My suggestion is to pick one thing as a specialty and to leverage your network and or other employees for the other needs of your clients. The specialty could be anything-- systems integration, estate planning, tax advice, business management or a broad generalist.  Whatever it is just make sure you like doing it. This is crucial as you are going to end up doing whatever it is over and over again.  More importantly, your positive energy will lead to better creativity and hence, solutions for your customers. 

Once you have your focus, or specialty as I call it, you need to position your self and or your firm to acquire customers. In addition, you need to extend your network so that you can help your clients no matter what the question is. I think today’s social networking tools can help you do both at the same time. 

By now you have undoubtedly come across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Each of these tools have their place in extending your network and promoting your business. First let’s discuss the granddaddy of social networking, LinkedIn.

LinkedIn started in 2003 as a place for people to stay connected with those in their network and to connect to your networks’ network. The first thing you do is create a simple profile of your career. I highly recommend getting a few people you have worked with to recommend you. You should of course return the favor. This will give more credibility to your resume.  Ideally, you would have them discuss your “specialty”. Once you have done that, you’ll be surprised to see how big your network is.  When one extends their network to their friend’s network and so on it is pretty easy to get connected to anyone.  For example, I have 658 direct connections in my account. Those 658 individuals have a total of 213k connections and those 213k connections have over 8M connections. Pretty amazing to see how small the world is. Granted some of the connections might be loose but the network does work. I have found employees, partners and customers thru Linkedin. In fact, I just got pinged by a very interesting partner thru a friend of a friend.

In the last few years, LinkedIn has been leveraging the network via user groups. These groups are similar to the old Compuserve forums we may have used but way more effective given the size of the network.  Folks can post questions for help and offer advice in as little as a few minutes. Daily digest come to your email where you can learn about the challenges your peers face which of course prepares you for the future. You can use the group functionality to augment your specialty as well as to promote it. So get an account at LinkedIn, find a few groups that you are interested in and start getting connected.

Facebook started in 2004 and now has over 500M active users. Think about that, more people are on Facebook than live in the United States. You cannot ignore this juggernaut. Even if you don’t understand it today, you have to tomorrow. Facebook has many of the features that LinkedIn has with groups.  Individuals can post information in a group and all members in the group receive real time updates. One challenge with Facebook is the consumer focus. LinkedIn is solely about your career and as such has a business focus. Facebook is primarily about your social life – posting pictures of food you eat, talking about your weekend and sharing your personal life in a public setting. Large companies have started leveraging facebook to promote their brand to their customers. The model is evolving and will be important so start playing around with it if you haven’t.

Finally, Twitter was started in 2006 and has over 100M registered users. In it’s short history it has managed to change the way we gather and share information. Though it may be more known for promoting change in Iran during the pro democracy demonstrations a few years back, it is used to promote businesses more and more. If the taco truck can use Twitter to let folks know when it is at the corner or the baker can use it to let customers know cookies are fresh out of the oven, than accountants can use it to promote their “specialty”.

These tools are new, but the need for professionals to help businesses improve is not. As readers of CPA Technology Advisor you are already a step ahead because you know the importance of being ahead of the market and ahead of your clients.The good new is that these new technologies will help you grow your own firm and help your clients at the same time. Show your mastery of them and nobody will referr to you as “bean counters.”

Thanks for reading! René Lacerte 
Founder and CEO
@rlacerte

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Friday, July 22, 2011 - 11:11

Drowning in paper and unfiled company documents? Paperworkmonster_mobile Bill.com has many great features that allow you to manage your Payables and Receivables online. In addition, we also provide free document management features with either our Payables or Receivables services.  

Many customers use Bill.com to store nearly every piece of paper their office might have previously held in a file cabinet. These include things related to paying bills, like contracts and vendor information, and also company information like prior year tax returns, important communications and other documents. You can organize these using folders (yes folders!) you can set up on the Documents tab. You can also restrict access to your Company documents using our powerful built-in custom role features for all the users of your Bill.com account.  

We continue to improve our document management features, and are currently offering our Receivables customers the ability to share documents and collaborate with their own customers.

Contact us at support@hq.bill.com to learn more!

Add the Paperwork Monster to your Twitter Feed: @Pprworkmonster

 

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Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 13:41

Q. How did you get into your line of work? Rightrail_VIRBO
I excelled in math and loved financial analysis. When in graduate school, the class I loved the most was Entrepreneurship. I couldn’t sleep at night, I would get so excited.  

Q. What have you learned through the school of hard knocks?
That you really need to stay focused and have a plan. Also, the current technology solutions are making it easier to become scalable.

Q. What keeps you up at night?
When we are not on top of a client.

Q. How has Bill.com helped your business chase its dreams.
Bill.com has allowed us to become more scalable by having a turn-key payable and now receivable system. We can feel comfortable that we are on top of our clients entire accounting process, and we can do this when we are on the road.

 

VIRBO_logo

 

 

 

Download a complete PDF of these 4 questions

Note: 4 Questions is a new feature on the Bill.com blog where we will ask the same 4 questions of a different Bill.com customer. Given the tremendous passion and can-do attitude of small and mid-sized businesses, we believe these same four questions will result not in repeat answers, but in interesting insight into many different journeys. Want to be profiled? Tweet us at @billcom and let us know!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 08:35

It’s summer time and with that comes the warm long evenings where we relax and let our minds drift to think about what we have accomplished so far this year and what we have left to accomplish. Some make New Year’s resolutions; I like to take the time to reflect mid-year on what might be coming in the future. So here are my top 8 predictions:

1. People truly start spending - after all, we are Americans and we like to spend. The savings rate has moved in the right direction, but I think there is some pent up desire to spend. As that happens, business will improve, which means businesses will need help. Given the financial crises we have just been through, small business owners will turn to their accountants for guidance and financial work. So get prepared to take on more business, leveraging technology and your network.

2. Businesses and accountants find their voice in the social media fray and find it is more fun to be social. Social media is a great way for accountants to stay connected to their network and to see what their clients are up to. Imagine how comfortable your clients will be when you show that you care because you’re up to speed on what’s going on with them and their business courtesy of Facebook.

3. More accountants will adopt SaaS/Cloud solutions as they see their peers wearing flip flops and doing work from a Starbucks with their dog at their feet. Don’t you ever wonder why Starbucks is so full and who the lucky folks are that don’t have to go into the office? Stop wondering, and start living your life from wherever you want.

4. Large companies that have failed to see that the Internet is about servicing customers better will lose another year to the startups that get it. The most powerful thing about the Internet is the increase in “connectivity” that lets you know what your customers are doing and what they need from you. While this applies mostly to large companies, accountants that use the Internet will have an advantage (complete access to client data while controlling client access is just one example).

5. Small companies that think the Internet is about being free will go away or consolidate. There is no such thing as a free lunch, so if it’s free watch out. Either the business model is advertising (which I personally have had enough of) or they don’t have one.

6. Giants win their second World Series thanks to great accounting. Seriously, how else can you explain the great talent at less than half the price of the Yankees?

7. Collaboration between young and old accountants creates a new breed of firm — the hip technology guy backed by tons of experience. As the boomers begin to think of retirement, they will bring in young technology savvy folks to transition their firms. As they do that, they’ll find they can work less, do what they want and still make money.

8. Apple unveils a new gizmo just for accountants. Seriously, they already have. Check out the iPad with any SaaS service. No more lugging a heavy leather briefcase full of regulations and client workpapers. Save your back today, and try it out.

Keep enjoying your summer and if you have any opinions on my top 8 let me know - I always love hearing from you. Thanks for reading! Rene'  @rlacerte

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 07:16

Bill.com, the leader in integrated bill payment, online invoicing and Intuit_its_onUS2 cash management solutions has added seamless synchronization with QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Online customers can now view and send invoices online, route bills for approval, and pay them online through Bill.com, but that is not all! Bill.com users also experience free unlimited document storage and customer support - which comes standard with all Bill.com accounts.

No More Double Entry! All bill, invoice and payment activity is matched accurately in QuickBooks Online eliminating the need to manage multiple systems or do double entry.

Take advantage of the Intuit Workplace limited time, special promotion to use Bill.com and have Bill.com pay your phone bills for the next 3 months* (up to $75*). Thousands of businesses are already using Bill.com to save over 50% of the time and cost it takes to pay bills. And now the savings is even greater!

With the integration, it’s easy to get started instantly. Now you can download all open invoices from QuickBooks Online directly into Bill.com - along with vendor lists and chart of accounts. You can begin paying bills instantly and avoid the time and costs of starting a new system.

Bill.com gives you complete control over your finances and gives you peace of mind to enjoy why you’re in business in the first place. Mac Frampton, performer, part owner and treasurer of Alkahest Artists & Attractions sums it up: ”It was hard to pay our artists and booking agents while I was on the road, now with Bill.com I can pay everyone by direct deposit, our artists are elated and I can go on the road myself and not have to worry about their payments.”

Check out Bill.com with QuickBooks Online in Intuit App Center.

Read the Alkahest Artists Case Study here

* Please visit the Intuit Website for more details on the terms of this program. Please note that the "It's on Us" Program runs until the 6th of August 2011.

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