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Why can’t small businesses pay bills using online bill payment from their bank?

April 13, 2009

One of our most frequently asked questions is: why can't a small or midsize business just use their bank bill payment system to pay their bills? 


In a previous post we discussed some of the differences between business bill payment and "consumer" oriented bill payment. All of the issues raised in that post apply to using consumer-oriented online payment from the bank. Here's the bottom line: 


Bill.com addresses the needs of the entire business bill management and payment process, not just online payment. Whereas your bank can help you make a payment, Bill.com optimizes your entire bill management and payment process– saving a ton of manual effort and providing unique capabilities for fraud protection and auditability. 

For example, Bill.com offers:

  • An easy way to digitize bills and manage paperless workflow between financial and non-financial participants in the bill payment process (should everyone in your bill approval workflow have access to your online banking system?)
  • A financial filing cabinet that allows businesses to store and retrieve (using simple search) all documents involved in the bill payment process, including bills, contracts, and other supporting information (anywhere, anytime) fully indexed by optical character recognition (OCR)
  • Seamless integration from paperless workflow to bill payment (with equivalent functionality using any US bank account)
  • Synchronization of vendor, chart of accounts, and payables with your accounting software (QuickBooks or Intacct) including support for complex account splits (no duplicate entry!). Your bank will only sync cleared transactions and require you to manually update your accounting system with all other accounting information.
  • Fraud protection against check manipulation with no additional fees (positive pay)
  • A complete audit trail of bill and payment approvals and activities   
  • Unlimited retention of cleared check images online (no additional fees to get image CD's)
  • Easy access to payment evidence (cleared check images attached to approved bills) that might be required during audits 
  • It's cost effective: Businesses that use Bill.com for a large number of transactions save a ton of time in data entry and do not have to maintain minimum bank balances to use the service.   

Online bill payment has been around for a long time and is extremely useful for consumers, but business bill payment requires deeper functionality to support the real world bill workflow of small and midsize organizations.

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