Friday, November 1, 2013 - 14:06

 Bill.com, the leader in integrated bill payment, invoicing and cash flow management solutions for businesses, released a survey revealing the three barriers that are keeping the franchise industry from reaching its true potential.

Bill.com surveyed 460 owners and finance leaders of franchises to discover what were the top issues facing the franchise industry today. Respondents identified three major obstacles to growth:

    • managing and controlling costs;
    • accurately anticipating cash flow; and
    • suffering day-to-day distractions from long-term goals.

A full white paper, “How to Super-Size Franchise Success: Survey Reveals Top Three Barriers to Growth, Identifies Financial Automation as Solution,” is available today for free download.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 13:16

By René Lacerte, Founder and CEO, Bill.com

In today’s digital age, going paperless in every way possible is the only logical choice. Why kill a tree when you can read a book on your Kindle? Why print out email when you have it on your smart phone on your person all the time? And why send a check when you can send an ePayment instead? Going electronic just makes sense. Going paperless saves time, money and precious resources. So why are so many companies dependent on their paper?

It’s simple--because we are human and change is hard.

Let’s face it, companies thrive on order and routine. People like to know what their jobs are and to perform them to the best of their ability. When you ask them to fundamentally change how they work, it scares them. At Bill.com, we understand that. When we first asked accountants to give up their Excel spreadsheets and paper based processes, our biggest competition was not some other company, it was their fear to leave a tried-and-true (although ultimately broken) solution.

Going paperless requires the same type of courage that any other major decision requires. To be a change leader you need to be prepared to step forward and make that leap into the unknown.  That leap is scary, but with the right preparation you will survive--and the benefits are incredible. Here are a few lessons I have learned along the way:

  • Focus on the results, not the change. Show your employees how much better their lives will be by demonstrating what the future will look like. Focus on the end product, not the process
  • Be action-oriented: don’t delay or overexplain. Just get change underway. Get a plan in place and go
  • Be confident in your beliefs. Don’t second-guess yourself
  • Be open to new ideas: Even though confidence is key, single-mindedness does have its limits. I have learned countless lessons from my teams, and some of our greatest innovations have not been what we started out doing.

So, if you are looking to make the move to paperless, don’t delay. The time is now, and the immense savings are real. Just take that first step and make a change.

 

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 15:52

By René Lacerte, Founder and CEO, Bill.com

Scary Types of Check Fraud

It’s finally here—the spookiest time of the year. Jack-o-lanterns light the way as little witches and goblins head out to trick or treat. And they will not be disappointed because, after all, childhood is a magical time. But for us adults, there are goblins not just hiding around the corner, but walking around in broad daylight.

Fraud, specifically check fraud, is one ghoulie we fear crossing our path even more than a black cat. So, in honor of this spookiest of days, I offer you four especially frightening forms of check fraud:

Forgery: Forgery most often occurs when employees issue a check without getting the proper authorization. Given the many checks written at any time at a company, it would be very easy for forged checks—especially if they aren’t for huge sums—to slip through the cracks, enabling employees to easily embezzle funds. On the other hand, when you are using a cloud-based AP/AR system, all of your payments are routed and properly tracked. No money can slip through the cracks. And when you do ePayments, you never have to worry about a paper check even existing.

Counterfeiting and Alteration: Counterfeiting means completely creating a fake check using easily available desktop publishing software. All you need to create a counterfeit check is a scanner, some software and a quality laser printer. Check alteration is when chemicals or solvents are used to erase handwriting on a check, which can then be replaced with different names and amounts. This is a frightening practice but incredibly widespread. Checks are often stolen from the mail to be altered and used. Of course, when using ePayments, you never have to worry about this (plus you save on postage) since your payments and receivables are electronic.

Check Kiting: This practice involves opening accounts at multiple banks and then using the “float time” of available funds to create fraudulent balances. If your customer is paying you via check instead of ePayment then it is easy to accept a check from them, even thinking it was legitimate, only to find it has bounced. With ePayments, checks can never bounce because money is only being moved when it is actually there.

Paperhanging: In this scenario, criminals purposefully write checks on closed accounts (their own or others) as well as reorder checks on closed accounts. Of course, how would a company ever know if their customer’s payment was on a legitimate check or not? Imagine the time it would waste if every time you got a check you needed to do a background investigation to make sure that the account was legitimate. Of course, this would cost you even more money, so why would you ever do this? And that is exactly why companies lose money to paperhanging every year.

I think you can see what I am getting at with each of these examples. In this digital day, paper checks are about as welcome as a box of raisins on Halloween. Companies lose billions of dollars every year due to check fraud and it is no longer necessary because checks are simply a relic of the past.   

So, get rid of that checkbook and move to the cloud. And have a safe, fun and chocolate-filled Halloween!

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Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 10:39

By René Lacerte, Founder and CEO, Bill.com

Rene Lacerte of Bill.com

Today our award-winning Bill.com Banking Platform got even better. We’ve listened to feedback from both banks and the SMBs they are trying to serve better, and we’ve fine-tuned our platform to better serve their needs. The latest version of the Bill.com Banking Platform includes full integration with our recently announced App Center and new features such as bank-customizable notifications and approvals.

In its first 30 days, the Bill.com App Center has already been embraced by SMBs looking to simplify their overall workflow by integrating the Bill.com cash flow management process with key business applications such as expense management.  Now, with the next generation of the Bill.com Banking Platform, banks will be able to integrate these same powerful features into their offerings, giving them more ways to add value to their customers’ business. We know their customers will be pleased.

Our banking platform also has some new features like configurable notifications and approvals. Configurable notifications enable bank partners to brand and tailor all communications with their clients, allowing for a more seamless client experience. In addition, with configurable approvals, banks can control the approval parameters on an account-by-account basis, giving them far more flexibility. Banks are also able to use these features within their own system if they have already built a custom online experience, meaning they can get all the advantages of the new Bill.com Banking Platform while still reaping benefits from the work they have already done.

Bill.com has grown into the fastest-growing business payments network in the nation because we have made it simple for our customers to pay and get paid effectively and efficiently. With today’s new platform, we have continued to demonstrate our commitment to harnessing the power of the cloud to bring banks ways to help their customers thrive and, in doing so, help the banks themselves build new revenue streams while increasing customer loyalty. We look forward to the great experiences banks will build—and their customers will enjoy—with our latest platform.

Read more about the platform in our recent Press Release.

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Monday, October 21, 2013 - 09:38

By René Lacerte, Founder & CEO, Bill.com

It’s been just over a month since we launched the Bill.com App Center, and we are pleased to see that it is already capturing the hearts and minds of our always growing community. The Bill.com App Center is designed to solve financial professionals’ most common business needs, streamlining workflow by bringing together key tools, such as expense management, online mail management, and accounting systems with their backoffice through Bill.com.

For example, by combining Tallie and Bill.com, finance professionals are able to finally combine bill payment and expense report automation, two functions essential to sound financial management, which have historically not been integrated. Our customers told us how difficult expense management was for them prior to our App Center. And now I am happy to report that we are hearing how easy it has become thanks to the App Center.

Catching Clouds, which offers virtual accounting departments for small businesses lives by the Bill.com “No Check CEO” philosophy as well as any company can. Just consider their tagline: “We combine expert accounting skills, tools, and advice to help you manage your finances and allow you to run your business from any beach in the world.”

Great stuff and very true—except for the expense management part of the puzzle, which required a lot of inputting and tracking of data from multiple sources. But now, as users of the Tallie/Bill.com integration, Catching Clouds has seen a much improved workflow. In fact, Scott Scharf, co-founder, virtual CIO and virtual CTO of Catching Clouds, said that by using the Tallie/Bill.com solution data now goes to the right place in less time and with much better accuracy.

“Bill.com and Tallie are giving us the tools we need to have visibility into the overall process with more levels of approvals—and therefore checks and balances—than ever before possible,” Scott recently said in a video interview. “We are able to let our clients scale their businesses more easily, with no details bogging them down. And we are able to scale our own business more quickly because we can support more clients with less staff and still provide more value than ever before.”

Happy customers with happy clients. Scale that is effective and efficient. These are exactly the things we had in mind when we built the App Center. It is great to see in the first 30 days the App Center living up to its promise. We look forward to bringing more integrations—and innovations—in the coming months. So, as always, stay tuned.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 12:36

Innovative New Banking Platform Receives Top Honor in the Cloud Computing/SaaS Innovations Category

Bill.com, the leader in integrated bill payment, invoicing and cash flow management solutions for businesses, announced that its Bill.com Banking Platform won gold at the 5th annual Golden Bridge Awards.

The annual Golden Bridge Awards program encompasses the world’s best in organizational performance, innovations, products and services, executives and management teams, women in business and the professions, innovations, case studies, product management, public relations and marketing campaigns, and customer satisfaction programs from every major industry in the world. More than 40 judges from a broad spectrum of industry voices from around the world participated and their average scores determined the 2013 Golden Bridge Business Awards winners.

Read the full release.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 23:21

By Lisa Lang, Senior Vice President, Bill.com

Bill.com

Fraud is big business for those who prey on small companies and accounting firms. Is your company one of the many with no protection measures in place? Data from a recent report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is mind boggling:

  • A typical organization loses 5% of its annual revenue to fraud
  • Small organizations are disproportionately victimized
  • Frauds last a median of 18 months before detection

Another survey shows that payment fraud is rampant in businesses of all sizes.

  • 63% of businesses with less than $1B in revenue experienced payment fraud
  • 91% of those reporting fraud experienced check fraud

A growing number of organizations are finding that they don’t have to become a statistic and that moving their finances to the cloud makes fraud prevention much easier. 

Here are eight steps you can take today to protect yourself from fraud:

  1. Be aware. Identify key areas where your business or firm is most vulnerable and know who is accountable for each. Then establish internal controls to keep these possibilities from becoming realities.
  2. Go paperless. Every bill or check lying around the office is a security risk. Going paperless reduces the risk of manipulation and information theft. You’ll also get an audit trail showing everyone who accesses, views or changes a bill.
  3. Enforce separation of duties: Make sure that no single user can authorize, process and record financial transactions within the business. For example, an employee who enters bills should never be able to authorize the payments as well.
  4. Automate work processes: By automating bill and invoice workflow, you ensure that nothing falls through the cracks while limiting access to only those who need it.
  5. Eliminate checks (outgoing): A single check contains every piece of information needed to access your money. By eliminating paper checks, you protect your account numbers and avoid the risk of lost, stolen or manipulated checks.
  6. Eliminate checks (incoming): Receiving payments electronically protects against checks being improperly deposited. A cloud-based service makes it easy to pay and get paid electronically.
  7. If you have to pay by check... don’t do it yourself.  There are still times where you will need to send checks to vendors.  If you have to do it, use a service that sends checks on your behalf, hides your bank account information and provides positive-pay protection.
  8. Do an internal audit regularly. A cloud-based automated system makes regular audits much easier, creating an online audit trail with full remittance data, cleared check images and approval confirmations.

The good news, accomplishing all this can be much simpler than it sounds. In fact, it’s nearly automatic when you move your accounting processes from the manual, paper-based world to the cloud, via services such as Bill.com.

# # #

Would you like to automate your time-consuming, paper-based manual processes by moving them to the cloud? Try Bill.com with no risk today or watch a short demo.

 

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Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 23:06

By Christina Del Villar, Senior Director of Marketing, Bill.com

National PTAThe National PTA is one of the largest nonprofits in America, with more than 26,000 chapters and 5 million members. But until Jessica Haberer came onboard, the organization was struggling to keep up with all the bills, expense reports and receipts flying in from every direction.

For PTA, it wasn’t a problem of not enough cash, but a problem of too much paper. Processing over 500 expense reports after each national conference, paying hundreds of incoming bills every month, and sending out hundreds of invoices to vendors every week was becoming unwieldy and unmanageable.

All that changed, however, when Haberer, senior manager of accounting, convinced the National PTA to move its finances to the cloud - today, their accounting process is automated, paperless, cloud-based, streamlined, and cost-effective.

All invoices, receipts and expense reports are sent to a single email address linked to a cloud-based online system. The system automatically routes each invoice to correct approvers along with any receipts, contracts and backup documentation. Then, as each invoice receives final approval, Haberer receives an automatic alert and pays the bill online.

Contrast this with the situation Haberer found when she started. Employees – many working remotely – would accumulate a stack of bills, sign their approvals and then FedEx the stack to their manager at national headquarters. Those invoices would then get buried in the manager’s in-box  while awaiting additional sign-offs. Eventually the bills would make their way to accounting, but often only after Haberer had chased them down.

“I can’t tell you how many evil emails I got from people saying, ‘I already gave you that invoice. I put it on your desk,’” recalls Haberer. “I couldn’t take the finger-pointing anymore. My staff and I were spending too much time running around the office trying to locate invoices. And signatures. It got to the point where we were spending an extra seven days to finish our close every month.”

What’s more, Haberer and her team were never sure how many invoices were outstanding or where they stood in the approval process. As a result, it was impossible to properly manage cash flow or know if a big payment was coming due.

Today, cash forecasting is a breeze. “Now we can see weeks in advance what’s in the pipeline and how it will impact cash flow,” Haberer says. “With everything visible online, I can now do better cash forecasting and pay bills in a more timely fashion.”

The National PTA has also saved money since moving their finances to the cloud. They’ve reduced postage, overnight delivery charges and costs for check stock, printer toner stationery and more. And since all invoices now arrive via email, the organization has dramatically cut back on physical mail and the labor that once went into sorting it.

What’s more, with the organization’s finances in the cloud, everything is always at Haberer’s fingertips now, even during her frequent travels to conduct trainings on fraud prevention. She can approve and pay bills, review any document she needs for a decision, and easily work together with any member, staffer or vendor in any part of the nation, from anywhere she needs to be. No matter where she goes, she’s never out of touch.

Would you like to automate your time-consuming, paper-based manual processes by moving them to the cloud? Try Bill.com with no risk today or download the Top Ten Tips for Nonprofits.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 22:56

Business Intelligence Group

Bill.com, the leader in integrated bill payment, invoicing and cash flow management solutions for businesses, announced that Bill.com has been awarded a BIG Award for the second year in a row. This year its founder and CEO René Lacerte has been named executive of the year by Business Intelligence Group (BIG). Lacerte recognized for his vision and helping countless organizations improve their accounting processes

“You can spot real leaders by their passion and René Lacerte is no different," said Dawn Fordyce, managing director for the Business Intelligence Group. “René’s intimate knowledge of financial systems and processes combined with his vision for simplicity has helped countless organizations deal with their complex finances."

The Business Group recognizes true talent and superior performance in the business world through its award programs and interviews. They look to reward those companies whose achievements stand above their peers. The Executive of the Year Awards looks for executives who demonstrate leadership, results and loyalty as well as the drive and dedication that makes an executive stand above the rest.

Read the press release.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 08:01

Rene Lacerte Bill.com Top 100 Most Influencial

Bill.com, the leader in integrated bill payment, invoicing and cash flow management solutions for businesses, announced that its founder and CEO René Lacerte has once again been named one of Accounting Today’s “Top 100 Most Influential People.”  Lacerte recognized for making life easier for accountants

The Top 100 was created to recognize leaders who bring an extraordinary level of experience and authority to advance the accounting profession. To be considered for selection, the publication's editorial staff reviews a list of candidates from a diverse array of areas that affect the CPA profession including: practitioners, vendors, lawmakers, regulators, association heads, marketers, consultants and academics.

According to Accounting Today “serial entrepreneur Lacerte continues to make a splash by making work easier for accountants, these days by extending the already impressive capabilities of his Bill.com platform and integrating them with many of the other tools that businesses use. The members of our Top 100 Most Influential roster are the people who are truly making a difference in the accounting profession. In all their different fields, they are creating the profession’s future.”

An e-book on the top 100 list is available for download.

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