Saturday, July 9, 2011 - 13:18

I am sitting in the airport at half past too-early-in-the-morning-and-I-need-more-coffee. Kathleen
Why? I am traveling to my youngest sister's wedding, where I should not be ostensibly working -- I have left my computer behind.

That means I am typing this blog post with my thumbs on my Mobile, which isn't as tortuous as you might imagine. Because, rather than just being the holder of the hundreds of text messages my son and my others send me, it's a mini-computer, an office in the palm of my hand.  

Any service company that doesn't "understand this" likely won't get my business.
I need to be able to operate from anywhere, anytime -- especially for mission critical tasks. So once I am done doing my bit of blogging, my next task is to pay my bills -- all on my Mobile and using Bill.com.  Another seamingly odious task, now simplified and checked off my virtual to do list, all from the airport, all on my Mobile and all easliy completed with Bill.com -- nothing like scaling the heights of maximum productivity over my first cup of coffee while waiting for the plane. 

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Friday, July 8, 2011 - 09:19

Musicians all over the country are humming "We're in the Money," thanks to an Internet banking program by Bill.com that pays them the moment they finish a performance. Rightrail_QBOmac copy

Pianist Mac Frampton, of Atlanta, understands the importance of prompt payments to performers because he's played at least 4,000 concerts since launching his career in 1972. "Artists have a lot of overhead," Frampton said. "We have to pay our side men - the men and women who accompany us on drums, bass and other instruments - and pay for the plane tickets that take us to the venues and the hotels we stay in while performing."

A few years ago, Frampton took on a second position, as a part owner and treasurer of Alkahest Artists & Attractions, the Chattanooga, Tennessee company that had booked his gigs for decades. Although he's always loved working with finances, Frampton realized that his dual positions were not always in harmony. "It was hard to pay our other artists and booking agents while I was on the road myself," he said.

Frampton set up an escrow account, to hold deposits for concerts that are often booked a year or more in advance, and an operating account, to pay Alkahest musicians and agents through QuickBooks.

The day of each concert, he transferred escrow monies into the operating account and ordered his bank to mail e-checks to the performers. "But we have several artists with more than one home," he said, "and one group that travels by bus and spends most of the year on the road. I'd make sure checks went out the day of the concert, but sometimes they went to the wrong address."

Early this year, Frampton discovered Bill.com's integration with QuickBooks that works via the Internet, putting all transactions online. "This means I can pay everyone by direct deposit," Frampton said. "Our artists are elated and I can go on the road myself and not have to worry about their payments."

For Frampton, that road is often the high seas. About twenty percent of his work is on cruise ships that take passengers through the Panama Canal, around the Mediterranean or along the coast of South America. Because Bill.com operates in the cloud, Frampton can use the ships' Internet connections for his laptop "and do payroll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean," he said.

Another Bill.com feature allows Frampton to add attachments to each account. Every time a new contract comes in to Alkahest, he turns it into a PDF file and uploads it into his laptop. "That way, I can bill the university, community arts council or other group that arranged the performance according to the contract terms," he said. The Bill.com/QuickBooks integration also helps him compute the commissions that Alkahest owes independent agents who bring bookings to the entertainment firm and send payments directly into their accounts.

Alkahest, founded in 1896, is the nation's oldest lecture, concert and theatrical booking management company. Early clients included Winston Churchill, Will Rogers and Enrico Caruso. Today the firm represents about 40 artists that typically perform a single concert per venue, for everyone from college students to retirees. Frampton, who is classically trained, performs a repertoire from his own arrangements that include James Bond and Disney medleys, classic favorites and movie themes, with a trio or a six-piece musical group, all of whom he can now pay by check as soon as they take their final bows.

"In the old days," Frampton said, "I'd sometimes have to tell my side men not to cash their checks for a few days, to make sure I had money to cover them. With Bill.com, any time they cash their checks, the money's there."

Download the PDF of the CaseStudy here

 

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 10:28
Several weeks ago, we informed you of Canadian payment delays due to a Canada Post "Lockout." Last week, delivery service was restored.

However, Canada Post has issued the following announcement regarding delays: "Canada Post informs customers that delays may be experienced on some of our services. Canada Post is currently dealing with a significant backlog of packages to move through its system and prioritizing our operations, in order to minimize service impacts and bring service levels back to normal as quickly as possible. As a result, all service guarantees are temporarily suspended until further notice. We hope to restore our guarantees as soon as possible."

Through July 31, 2011, we will continue to offer you the option to send check payments to Canada via UPS.  Please contact support@hq.bill.com for details if you are interested perusing in this option or have any questions regarding Canada Post mailings.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 07:56

What came first, the chicken or the egg?  Well for Judie McCarthy, Director of Accountant Relations at Bill.com and Advanced Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor, on her 3 acres it’s the chicken, actually 21 chickens.

Several years ago during a routine visit to our localChickens2 hardware store my husband returned home with more than nails and duct tape, he also had a small box that contained 12 baby chicks. His thinking was “our granddaughters will have fun playing with the chickens when they visit and we can have fresh eggs anytime.”  Over the years our flock has grown from the original 12 to 21 that produce on average 10 dozen eggs per week. With only 2 of us that’s a lot of scrambling so we decided to donate the eggs to a worthy cause. 

Originally we started giving some to my dad, an esophageal cancer survivor who had been weakened by surgery and treatment found that eggs were easy to eat and provided him with great nutritional value, over time we noticed that he was getting stronger and had more energy. His doctor attributed this to the high level of vitamins and protein in the eggs. We thought if they were good for him that other seniors may benefit from our eggs as well.  We began sending 5-7 dozen eggs a week for him to distribute to others in his retirement community that were recovering from illness or just needed an easy to eat source of protein.  The seniors love the taste and benefits of eggs from our chickens. They are free range and are not injected with hormones or antibiotics.

Thanks to a 2007 study by Mother Earth News that took egg samples from 14 different flocks, there is some beneficial data to back up the claim that free range or pastured eggs are better for you. Here are some of the benefits:

1) Less Cholesterol: According to the study there was 1/3 less cholesterol in the free-range eggs. This is good news for an egg lover like me who also has a family history of high cholesterol.

2) Less Saturated Fat: Mother Earth News found 25% less saturated fat in the pastured chicken eggs. Saturated fat is a buzz word in the food world now, with reason, so anything with less is always a plus.

3) More Vitamin A and E: Vitamin A helps in all sorts of areas including vision, skin health, immune function, and so much more. There isn't as much information out there on Vitamin E, but I think we can assume it does have a purpose.

4) Extra Omega-3s: We are constantly learning more about the Omega-3s, but there has already been a lot of research pointing to benefits for people with heart concerns. Double the Omega-3s is a good thing!

5) They Just Taste Great: I suppose this is more of an anecdotal thing, but I believe pastured eggs just plain taste better.

Other great benefits of raising chickens:

  • Chickens are inexpensive & easy to purchase and care for
  • They produce valuable fertilizer
  • The will eat any organic garbage

All in all it doesn’t matter whether it is the chicken that came first or the egg. What matters is that the eggs are being enjoyed and used for a good cause.  My husband had a great notion when he brought those baby chicks home. We were able to help others and we never missed out on a good breakfast!

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Friday, June 24, 2011 - 09:46

Can you repeat that?  For the millions of Americans suffering with mild to severe hearing loss, there is a miracle. Miracle-Ear literally gives people their lives back, using state of the art technology to help them hear again. 

Sound familiar? Bill.com was a proud attendee of the annual Miracle-Ear Franchise Business Meeting this week in Las Vegas, NV.  We also strive to give business owners their lives back by simplifying and streamlining their bill payment and receivables processes using our state of the art web technology. MirEar_1

Against the backdrop of the amazing gardens at JW Marriott, we learned how the Miracle Ear meetings attendees are changing lives. Their energy and passion was inspiring, as was their combination of savvy business practices, dedication to customers, and compassion, all of which are demonstrated in spades (hey, it’s Vegas) by the Miracle Ear Children’s Foundation. 

Thank you Miracle-Ear for inviting us to this year’s conference and for having such great franchisees  ! POWER UP!

Miracle-Ear® Children’s Foundation serves and supports children who have a hearing loss. Their purpose is to provide no-cost hearing aids and hearing support services to children whose families have incomes that are significantly limited and who are unable to afford the high costs of quality hearing instruments.
To learn more visit the foundation website

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 08:46

If Miracle-Ear franchisee Peter Gaspary's bookkeeper hadn't resigned, he never would have discovered an easier, less expensive way to pay his bills. LogohomeME  

Gaspary, the owner of Associated Hearing Aids of Illinois, in Elmhurst, is one of Miracle-Ear's franchisees, with 27 hearing aid centers across the state. For many years, Gaspary used a full-time bookkeeper to keep track of his finances on QuickBooks. "Every week, I spent at least an hour approving and hand-signing 30-40 Logo_M checks for utilities and rent for my centers and for office and medical supplies," Gaspary said. "Now I do it all with Bill.com and it only takes me five minutes."

Gaspary's shift to Bill.com was not planned. Although his "old-fashioned bill paying system of printing out checks and sending them through the mail," was time-consuming, Gaspary would have continued using it. But one day, his bookkeeper suddenly left. Gaspary had met Jeremy Kiecker, a CPA with the Edina, Minnesota accounting firm Moquist Thorvilson Kaufmann Kennedy & Pieper LLC (MTK) at conventions hosted by his franchisor, Amplifon, of Plymouth, MN. "I called Jeremy to help me write an ad for a new bookkeeper," Gaspary said. "Instead, he came back with a whole new proposal."

One of MTK's practice niches is the hearing industry, and Kiecker suggested that Gaspary do away with his bookkeeper position and hire MTK as its outsourced accounting firm. Kiecker also proposed that Gaspary try using Bill.com, a new system that synchronizes with QuickBooks, to pay his bills. "I saw a demo that explained how Bill.com works and it just made so much sense that I wanted to try it," the franchisee said.

"Now I just go into the accounts payable section of Bill.com," Gaspary said, "and make check marks next to the bills I want paid. Then I hit a button and, that's it. Bill.com takes care of the payment and syncs details with QuickBooks."

Those payments can be electronic transfers directly into the recipient's bank account, or checks sent out by Bill.com. Sarah Bader, a supervisor at MTK, said that only about 20 percent of all vendors paid via Bill.com for the accounting firm's clients opt for electronic payments. "Once people see how easy e-checks are, they will gain in popularity," she predicted.

In the meantime, Gaspary is pleased to be saving time and the expense of a bookkeeper's salary. The new system is even paying unexpected dividends. Because Bill.com is Internet based, Gaspary can check whether an invoice has been paid when he's on the road, visiting his many centers. "I have a better understanding of what's happening on a cash flow basis," he said, "because Bill.com’s calendar acts like a whiteboard, telling you what needs to be paid this week, plus three weeks in advance. And there's a certain comfort," he said, "in knowing my accountant is handling my books. Coupled with Bill.com, I’m confident that my bills are being expensed properly."

Now that Gaspary has had such success with the online bill management system, Kiecker is introducing it to other hearing aid center owners. Miracle-Ear has over 1200 franchised locations and Gaspary plans to tell his colleagues about how Bill.com has made his life easier. "I am so glad we happened into Bill.com and MTK, now I have more time to focus on business and helping my customers" he said.

Download a PDF of the Miracle-Ear / MTK Case Study here.

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Monday, June 20, 2011 - 16:34

A staff of eight manage the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) who serve our nation’s private water organizations. They provide water to almost 73 million Americans across the United States.NAWC-logo

Not surprisingly, each employee at NAWC wears several hats to make daily operations flow smoothly. Mike Horner, director of administration and membership, is one of the seven staff members in NAWC's Washington D.C. office. Mike works with committees and chapters of NAWC’s 400 members, plans conventions and meetings each year, and edits the monthly ne wsletter. Mike also keeps track of payroll and pays all the bills.

For the last two years, Mike's payroll, bill pay and financial duties have been much easier, thanks to Bill.com and its integration with Intacct, a web-based accounting system. “We love the service because bill approval workflow is easy, seamless and a huge time saver, but most of all, it allows us to complete our mission to be a paperless office,” said Mike.

Paying the bills wasn’t always this simple for Mike. “Before we used Bill.com, we relied solely on our accounting firm, LarsonAllen, to pay all our bills,” said Mike.

Latha Saikrishnan, manager of outsourcing solutions in LarsonAllen's Arlington, Virginia office said, "Twice a month we sent an employee to NAWC's offices to cut their checks." This on-site service was quite manual, expensive, and often consumed Mike’s already over-subscribed time when the accounting person had billing questions.

Now LarsonAllen uses Intacct to keep track of NAWC'sfinances. LarsonAllen has integrated the accounting service with Bill.com so that Mike can pay all of the bills himself. By directing his vendor payments via Bill.com to pay electronically, Mike’s vendors receive their payments via check, ePayment/ACH, or PayPal. "Bill.com is saving us money and gives me some independence from our accounting firm," Mike said. 

Because both Bill.com and Intacct are Internet, or cloud based, instead of relying on downloadable enterprise software, clients like NAWC receive updates immediately "and don't have to pay for them," Latha said. “Instead, they pay a small monthly hosting fee that includes free customer service.”

Latha also likes the convenience. "Before, if we had questions about a bill," she said, "we'd have to bother Mike to pull documentation out of his files and email or fax it to us. "Because Bill.com allows users to store all documentation online for free with the monthly service, Latha can now find answers on contracts and bills herself in a couple of minutes. “This is especially helpful during the annual audit – Bill.com has helped us reduce our discovery hours to provide a faster, cleaner and more cost-effective audit.”

The Bill.com/Intacct integration reduces the time Mike has to spend with LarsonAllen preparing monthly financial reports and also preparing their annual audits. "We've been through two cycles, and the auditors are perfectly happy with the way the system works and how simple it is with Bill.com," Mike said.

Even a small office has its protocols, and Bill.com allows Mike to process bills through approval levels without anyone ever handling a piece of paper. "The system also helps my peace of mind," he said. "Before this, I'd be walking the dog or taking a shower and I'd wonder if a certain bill had been paid. Because Bill.com is cloud based, I can find the details immediately, on my home computer."

“What’s best of all,” Mike said, "is that the Bill.com system makes our finances more accessible and paying bills more efficient, which gives us more time to focus on water issues. This is critical for NAWC because it is our goal to educate the public on the safety of private tap water and how much healthier it is than bottled water for their families and the environment.”

“Most people would be surprised to know that we work directly with municipalities to help improve their aging water delivery systems. Not only is this important for the quality of the water we drink, but also so that our country does not face a national disaster regarding the security of our water distribution,” he added.

Download the complete case study here

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Friday, June 17, 2011 - 11:14

The roar of the engines and the crowd. The thrill of beautiful shiny cars spinning round the track at dizzying speeds. The bravery and daring of the driver behind the wheel. Bill.com really likes fast! RaceCar_5

We're helping our customers get paid much faster, so it is fitting that we sponsor Bill.com's fastest customer, Dave Mazyeck. He is a viper car racing driver and his season kicked off last month at Sebring International Raceway. Dave has placed in the top 10 in (6th, 8th, and 9th twice) in the four races he's competed in so far this season.

We continue to follow Dave, as he leaves his competitors in the dust. You can also follow Dave's exhilarating spins around the track at the Viper Headquarters website - or visit the North American Road Racing Association website for more details on Serpent Speed Racing 2011 schedule.
Pictures from: New Jersey Motorsports Park - for more pictures visit the Bill.com Facebook page

 

RaceCar_1

 

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Friday, June 17, 2011 - 07:58

Wednesday, June 15, Canada Post suspended operations across the country.  As a result, mail delivery to Canada has been interrupted and no one is sure yet when it will be restored. This impacts our customers who frequently send check payments to Canadian vendors using Bill.com. 

Bill.com has been keeping a careful eye on the situation and when the lockout occurred, we were ready with a backup plan. We are offering special check processing and UPS services to customers for Canadian vendors, until mail service is running smoothly again.

For updates on the lockout, check this website: canasapost.ca . For assurance that Bill.com is working to make things easy and convenient, no matter the circumstance, you need to do nothing - we have your back!

If you have checks currently in transit to Canada, check Bill.com's Uncashed Checks report to learn whether these checks have cleared. If not, or if you are planning to send payments to Canada in the near future, contact us for options!

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Monday, June 6, 2011 - 14:50

Warm sun, long days and breezy evenings...yes, you have guessed it, Summer with Bill.com!

You want to look your best this summer, and so do we - check out Bill.com's new look! It all works just like you remember, we just look that much better!  Log-in and let us know what you think, we would love feedback. But we are not here just to look good - we've improved some of your favorites check it all out:

Put Invoices on Auto-Pilot, Get Paid Like Clockwork
Sending the same invoices to the same customers each month?  Make it automatic! Tell us how often to email an invoice – weekly, monthly, annually – and we do the rest. Spend less time with stamps and envelopes this summer.

And while you’re automating how you send out invoices, automate how you bring in payments: encourage customers to pay automatically. They don’t have to bother with checks or remember when invoices are due. You don’t have to badger them to pay.   

It’s easier for you, and it’s easier for your customers.  Best of all, payments get deposited in your bank account on a predictable schedule.

Email an Invoice to One Person, or Two People, or Three …
Have an invoice that needs to go to more than one person?  We can do that.  Enter each email addresses ahead of time (as a contact), or do it on the fly when you’re emailing an invoice. Everyone who needs to know is “in the know”.

Details without Downloading
When a customer logs in to pay, they see everything related to an invoice (contract, estimate, photos, …) without having to download any of those documents.   Just choose to share the documents, and we’ll attach them to the end of the invoice. Your customer scrolls through the pages to see everything they need. And if they want a copy of any document for themselves, they just click the filename to download.

Customer Login Info has a whole new name, baby! We are now storing all the contact information and login credentials for your customers on the Contacts link.  This enables you to quickly manage all the contact information for a customer under one handy link!  This is especially handy if you have multiple contacts!  Click Receivables > Customers > Customer Name to check it out.

Intacct Customers:  Explore New Dimensions
Need to categorize your client's bills with a greater level of detail? Add line items to categorize by these Intacct dimensions: non-billable projects, vendor, customer, class, or employee.  Please contact Support to set up Dimensions for yourself or your clients.

Online Invoicing for QuickBooks Online (QBO)
We’ve helped you keep your payables in sync between Bill.com and QBO.  Now keep your receivables in sync, too!  Each time you sync, we pick up any new unpaid invoices and customer changes from QBO, and they pick up any funds transfers and invoice changes from us.  So take care of invoices and payments in Bill.com, take care of accounting in QBO, and we’ll keep them in sync.

Not a Bill.com Customer Yet?
My goodness what ever are you waiting for - sign up for Bill.com and feel the Summer Love!

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