While it might not be everyone’s favorite topic, bill payment is unavoidable for the small and midsize business. Spending countless hours on billing-related activities, however, is very much avoidable.
Thing is, billing is an operational activity, meaning the time you spend on it is time you didn’t spending growing your business. Luckily, modern tech, such as automatic bill pay solutions, has made billing activities much easier than they once were.
Gone are the days of sending one-off emails to track down late payments, or poring over tedious Excel spreadsheets.
The Cons of Bill Pay Automation
So, let’s begin with the not-so-good. For better or for worse, automation can be another way of saying “out of sight, out of mind.” Sometimes, this kind of convenience can create unforeseen issues. And finding the right solution can be difficult.
Not all solutions are created equal
Different businesses have different billing and accounting needs. Some bill pay solutions don’t have certain functionalities (or don’t offer them out of the box), such as convenient scanning and approval workflows, or integration with existing systems.
It’s Easy to Lose Track
For a business managing multiple clients, keeping track of every moving part is a challenge. Implementing an automated accounting and invoicing solution is nice, yes. But it’s equally important that the solution makes it easy for clients do to their part: be notified regularly and make payments on time.
The Pros of Bill Pay Automation
There are many benefits to bill pay automation to go with the downsides. In many cases, a well-rounded solution addresses these “cons” outright.
It Saves Time
Also known as the efficiency factor. Good bill pay automation allows busy SMBs and accountants to centralize all their bill pay activities, such as invoice generation, late payments, and tracking from one place.
This limits, for example, those endless email chains and repetitive record-keeping activities that devour so many valuable hours. Even a 1% savings in time efficiency can lead to affect the balance sheet significantly.
It Helps Manage Cash Flow
Cash flow is a top concern for any business, especially SMBs. Even the most prosperous companies are not immune. How does bill pay automation help?
Late payment automation, first and foremost.
By centralizing the late payment management—making it easier to automatically notify clients faster and secure payment sooner—businesses can better understand the cash on-hand needed to keep the lights on.
It Removes Barriers to Payment
A good bill pay automation solution will make things easy on both business and client. It will meet the client at common friction points, such as cutting and keeping track of physical checks, accessing multiple systems with multiple usernames/passwords. These obstacles can all stand in the way of on-time invoice payments and create headaches on the other end.
Smarter Bill Pay Automation
Pros and cons aside, bill pay automation continues to gain traction among businesses of all sides. Think about it: some of today’s vendors and services didn’t offer this option five, ten years ago. Now, nearly all of them do. And the solutions are getting more and more robust, more refined and intuitive in their functionaly.
And that’s the key: as bill pay automation becomes more prevalent, we need to find ways to do it better. To be more efficient with how we spend our time on billing activities.
To enable our clients and customers to be proactive, rather than reactive.
It’s time to plug the leaks in our approach to bill payment activities with centralized bill pay automation. For the small and midsize business, this could be the difference between staying afloat or going by the wayside.