Choosing the Best Bill Pay Software for Your Business: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing the Best Bill Pay Software for Your Business: A Comprehensive Guide

Implementing a bill pay solution is crucial for any business that wants to grow successfully. This guide will walk through the considerations as well as some of the top options to accomplish this.

Choosing the Best Bill Pay Software for Your Business: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing the Best Bill Pay Software for Your Business: A Comprehensive Guide

No matter the industry you’re in, one of the most important pieces of financial management is paying bills. You probably have a great tech stack lined up and found vendors that work for your business. However, the world of financial management is constantly changing, and business owners find themselves in the weeds of paying bills, which spends an unnecessary amount of time and resources on repetitive tasks. Without even realizing it, your time is being consumed in faulty manual processes, robbing your business of time that could be spent on more strategic work. You’re losing money by spending time on a process that could be solved with technology. By implementing a strong Bill Pay System, you're organizing yourself in a way that secures your business's longevity and survival through a foundational process that will grow with you. Above all, you need to build your operations correctly to have the best chance at success. 

Recognizing the Need for Bill Pay Software

So what are the signs you should use bill pay software? 

If you have anyone in a role where they should be focused on other business priorities but are paying bills, it’s time to move to bill pay software. 

If you have any sort of manual bills arriving that need to be paid timely and accurately, it’s time for bill pay software. 

If you’re tracking bills in spreadsheets and reconciling balances yourself, it’s time for bill pay software. 

In short, If you have monthly bills from vendors and are trying to grow your company, it’s time to move to bill pay software. Deciding to make the move sooner will only help you, as it ensures you’re building out finite processes now, making it easier for you to scale without hiccups along the way. With the amount of options to choose from, there is a solution that will meet the needs of your business as it stands today. A good leader recognizes the need to fill that function early on so their team can focus on other crucial priorities to help the business grow.

Advantages of Adopting Bill Pay Software

By streamlining your accounts payable processes, you increase the quality and accuracy of all your records. This makes it easy for you to look up vendors, see what’s outstanding, or view historical payments in real-time. Knowing immediately what you owe and what’s been paid helps improve your cash flow management. Your finance team is better able to forecast, budget, and stay on top of all payments that need to be made. Bringing on software helps your finance team spend more time analyzing numbers instead of building reports to get a particular financial view or working excessive hours processing, paying, and documenting all the bills. You set your whole team up for success when establishing a quality process for them to use.

The Cost of Delay: What You Lose by Sticking to Manual Processes

A lot of individuals think they can handle paying their bills to save money. It’s only a few bills and doesn’t take too much time, right? Well, it actually is more costly than you think. Bill Pay systems are designed to make the process as efficient as possible. As great as you might be, any manual process you’ve created has the potential for human error. Errors can lead to late or missed payments, which can have a big impact on your vendor relationships. You could even incur late fees and interest. Not to mention, it will create unnecessary overhead costs compared to a more efficient approach. Any administrative individual in the business shouldn’t be working on something software can do. You’re not only paying them to do something a bill pay system could handle, but you’re paying them not to work on other projects that could be scaling and growing your business.

The opportunity cost is what most don’t realize. You may have a work around and your team is getting it done by manually doing it, but what else could they be working on? What could they be focusing their time on to grow your business? Odds are that it’s more profitable to have them work on initiatives that build the business than just paying bills.

Selecting the Right Bill Pay Software for Your Business Stage

Bill Pay For Startups and Small Businesses

When you're just starting out in the bootstrap phase of your business, it’s easy to be hesitant about spending money on a process you think you can handle yourself, especially if you are less familiar with the software solutions that address the issue. However, startups and small businesses need a bill pay system the most so that paying bills doesn’t create an unnecessary distraction from other business functions. Small businesses should look for features like a wide range of integration capabilities (like connecting with QuickBooks Online and other systems you might have) and user-friendly capabilities. Don’t get bogged down in something with too many bells and whistles. Those can get costly and prevent the team from feeling like this is a process they can learn and implement. It’s best to find one that easily allows you to approve bills and remit payments without any hurdles. 

Settle can be a perfect option to consider when just starting out! It’s an affordable online bill management software that’s also a strong choice for the beginning, as the solution can grow with the business easily. Settle allows you to create purchase orders and provides a 3-way purchase order match, which helps prevent overpayments and fraud, making them a solid choice from the start. Aside from the capabilities, the platform itself is very easy to use, so anyone that was processing payments before can learn it quickly and reduce their time spent organizing and paying each bill. 

Bill Pay For Small and Mid-Size Businesses Experiencing Rapid Growth

When the business sees continued success and starts to grow rapidly, the features you care about in a bill pay system may start to change. Now, not only do you have more bills to pay, but you probably have employees who use corporate cards to cover their expenses. So not only do you have to approve bills, but you need to approve employee purchases as well. 

At this point we’d recommend looking at systems like Brex or Ramp, which have expense management capabilities. Employees can easily swipe their cards and tag what their purchase was for. Automation allows everything (including receipts) to be carefully organized and categorized in your accounting system. These types of systems will help keep you out of the weeds so you can stay focused on growth. 

You’ll retain a high level of visibility on the bills while getting the benefits of expenses organized automatically with this approach. Not to mention, the team is empowered to run their respective departments with carefully set limits that prevent unauthorized transactions from what has been approved in the budget. 

Bill Pay For Large Corporations and Enterprise Businesses

Once a company has grown into the enterprise space, the needs are going to evolve to reflect the additional complexity of the business as well as the requirements of a more comprehensive finance department. A larger company might need the ability to handle multiple currencies, process more payments in a shorter time frame, or require a more complex approval structure that works across multiple departments. They will also want to be able to see spending habits across the entire business at varying levels of detail to understand cash going out of the business at a glance.   

BILL has a suite that’s tailored for these types of transactions, giving you full details about everywhere you need. They allow more in-depth approval policies for teams, provide extensive data on each bill, and give you greater functionality in your AP processes. Being a secure electronic bill payment service for businesses makes it a great option to complement the finance department’s needs at this stage of business. Not to mention they have a mobile app for business bill payments and tracking, keeping you in the loop and up to date in the palm of your hand. 

Essential Features of Top Bill Pay Software

There are a lot of options out there, but don’t just jump on the first bill pay software you see; you want to make sure the invoice processing and payment automation software you choose has the features you need. Here are what we view as some of the most important features to look for:

  1. Automated Invoice Processing and Payment Scheduling - the more that can be setup in advance, the less distracted the team will be as payments become due.
  2. Accounting Software Integrations - Having the information seamlessly sync into the ledger prevents manual data entry and moves an organization towards one location for the financial source of truth. A fully integrated accounts payable and receivable software also ensures real-time reporting when you need it. 
  3. Strong Security Measures - Prevent unauthorized usage of the platform while also building out the approval structures needed. This will also be very important if there is any need to audit who is spending what within the organization. Advanced Reporting and Financial Insights - The platform should show clearly when, how, and where money is being spent as well as for which business purposes. At the end of the day, is it going to provide the information you need to make cash flow decisions? Does it help you understand a full picture of your accounts payable? Does it help you stay on top of your processes better?

Find a solution that covers the essentials as well as any other features that will complement your business’s operations. The goal is to make the work easier and operate based on the needs of the broader business, not just someone on the finance team. 

Implementing Bill Pay Software: Key Steps for Success

Setting up your new software is no easy feat, and it’s important that you do it right. After all, the goal is setting up an accounts payable software with real-time reporting. Here are a few steps to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success as you implement it.

  1. Review the current state of your Accounts Payable.some text
    1. Take the time to know how many vendors you have, what you believe to be outstanding, etc. You need to have a full picture of where you are, before you can really organize and define a new process.
  2. Work with Professionals.some text
    1. It’s best to work with those that have experience in bill pay systems, like those at Decimal, to ensure a smooth transition. When you work with established companies, you are able to tap into their partner network and be eligible for discounts on software that a stand-alone buyer can’t get. With a close look at the operations of a business, you won’t need to choose the software yourself but can lean on the expertise of the team. They also will have contacts with the different bill pay providers, ensuring you get high-quality service and don’t need to sit on long phone calls with support. These time and cost savings each month add up and will be a huge benefit to your business over time!
  3. Prepare the Data for migration.some text
    1. Pull together everything in a spreadsheet. Keep your columns clean and defined with names, emails, and any relevant info needed for your new system. CSV and Excel are the most common formats used to import any sort of information into a system. Make sure to contact the support team of your bill pay software, they most likely have a template or guide to make it an easy process!
  4. Train your teams.some text
    1. Bad habits are hard to break, but it’s important to address them from the start. Talk with your team. Make sure everyone is on the same page going forward on how bills are received, entered, and processed in the new system. Most systems will have video tutorials and FAQs you can provide your team as a resource. As long as people continue to lean on the old approach, the full value of the new solution won’t be realized.
  5. Evaluate the new approach.some text
    1. After you implement the new software, regroup early and often. Clear any bottlenecks and see what’s working and what’s not. Have your team reconcile its reporting to your accounting software to ensure accuracy. It’s a new process for you and your team, so don’t worry if there are a few quirks to work out as you get it up and running!

Overcoming Common Challenges in Transitioning to Automated Bill Pay

Change isn’t easy, no matter the subject. When you’re aware of the key obstacles to overcome when moving to a bill pay system, the transition process becomes a lot smoother. One key obstacle you’ll need to tackle first is training those involved in your current process. You don’t want to be running bill pay out of two platforms, even if one is manual. Discuss with your team what’s needed to make a clean switch. You can keep the old for historical purposes as you move things over, but when it’s time to make the switch, make sure your team is trained and ready to go on your new system.

Another key challenge you’ll find is bringing all your vendors and integrations into one place. It may take a little time, but it will save you time and money in the future if you do this upfront. Gather a list of all your active vendors and reach out to each regarding your new platform. Make sure they’re sending bills to the correct email and that your bank is set up to make any payments. Taking the time to set this all up will save you a ton of headaches in the long run!

Future Trends in Bill Pay Automation

It goes without saying the future is fast approaching. Every day, articles on AI in financial operations spread through the news. Predictions for global payment networks, digital currency acceptance, and more can be seen. There are exciting times ahead for the financial world. Software is only going to get better, and as machine learning increases, your systems will only improve. That doesn’t mean you should let up on being cautious. No matter what new integration you bring onto your team, it will always be of utmost importance to ensure cybersecurity is implemented in your business. Keep that at the forefront of your mind anytime you’re introducing a new system. 

A Bill-Pay Solution is Crucial for Success

One of the most important things you can do as a business leader is found and implement a strong bill-pay solution. By doing so, you are setting up you and your team for success. By defining processes and automating payments and approvals through a platform, you’re ensuring the highest quality and accuracy is being given to your finances. So, it’s important to find a solution that is a fit for you and your business needs. Take time to find one and get it implemented. You’ll thank yourself when looking back on all the time you’ve saved!

No matter the stage of business or industry you're in, it’s important to have your bill pay process established and defined. Decimal has experts to help you determine which solution can help you best. Not only that, Decimal can also take on all the bill pay work which will save you more than if you were to bring on a full-time AP clerk! Stop reacting to bills and spending too much time processing them. Work with our experts to build a process that works for your business without having to guess which solution is right for you. Learn more about what we can do here!

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