Bill.com Adds eBilling to Billing and Invoicing App

Monday Oct 24th 2011 by Thor Olavsrud
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The small business billing and invoicing specialist has updated its platform to allow seamless electronic billing and payments.

Small business billing and invoicing specialist Bill.com Monday announced new product enhancements to its service that will enable seamless money transfer between payers and payees and eliminate paper-based financial systems.

"To date, eBilling and eInvoicing solutions have been complex and available only to Fortune 2000 companies," said Rene Lacerte, founder and chief executive officer of Bill.com.

"As businesses of all sizes seek to gain efficiency in their financial processes, we aimed to provide a product that meets the needs of businesses where they are today and makes the transition to online bill payment and management a seamless one," Lacerte continued. "Bill.com is providing a way for our customers to help their vendors participate with a low learning curve and a free portal to ease the friction of adoption."

Bill.com is an on-demand accounts payable and accounts receivable application that lets you send custom invoices, collaborate with customers and receive electronic payments. The platform uses 256-bit encryption, and it never shows anyone bank routing or account information, which Lacerte said makes it safer than using paper checks.

Lacerte, a fourth-generation entrepreneur who founded online payroll services company PayCycle (which was acquired by Intuit in 2009), explained that the new eBill functionality of the Bill.com platform lets people send electronic invoices and make payments online. The issuing party can use Bill.com to generate their eInvoice, or use their preferred accounting software, which integrates seamlessly with the platform.

The electronic invoices automatically convert into electronic bills (and any supporting data or attachments required) in the payer's system. There they are ready for review, acceptance, approvals and payment.

Once the electronic payment is issued, it is automatically applied to the payee's electronic invoice and the payer's electronic bill. Additionally, the entire process syncs with the accounting software used by both parties -- including QuickBooks, Peachtree, Netsuite and Intacct. This holds true even if both parties use different accounting packages.

"EBill cuts out the extra step of turning an invoice into a PDF and guarantees invoices are created correctly and delivered instantly, said Chris Fenster of Propeller Industries."Our vendors find that it lets them pay more efficiently, eliminate errors and reduce the time spent scanning and handling documents. It's all automatic, so we're getting paid faster than ever before."

Lacerte explained that most small businesses operate on a number of disparate systems: a filing cabinet, an accounting system that records transactions, banking relationships, etc. All of them are often pulled together with a manually updated spreadsheet. But that takes time and introduces errors.

"The reason I started this company is that our customers have a number of disparate systems that they use to run their company, but there's no capability to bring all this stuff together," Lacerte said. "We solve this problem by creating one cash flow command and control center that helps a business manage all these things."

Bill.com brings together accounting software, online bill pay and banking, document storage, relationship management and mobile services under a single Command and Control Center (CCC).

With the CCC customers can scan or fax in bills, approve and collaborate, check back-up documents, pay online, adjust payment schedules, manage cash flow, create invoices, send invoices to customers, send auto-invoices, set and send automated payments, accept payments, sync with their accounting package and link with customer and vendor bank accounts.

"This Command and Control Center lets you manage your entire business," Lacerte said. "Eighteen percent of our customers log into it more than 100 times a month. Our average customer logs in more than twice a day."

Lacerte said Bill.com customers have found 50 percent to 70 percent time-saving in processing invoices and get paid two times faster, on average.

With this update, Bill.com has also introduced a number of user interface (UI) improvements based on direct customer feedback. The company said the new UI provides improved navigation layout, easier and faster access to key features and a more streamlined use of real estate that also sets up the console for accountants for planned future growth.

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to SmallBusinessComputing.com and a former senior editor at InternetNews.com. He covers operating systems, standards and security, among other technologies.

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