How One Firm Slashed AP Time in Half
Leslie Jorgensen, founder and CEO of Supporting Strategies, founded her outsourced bookkeeping and operational support services firm in 2004. She’s always had one goal: to help entrepreneurs spend less time on the back office and more time running their businesses. Now, the virtual firm has more than 400 team members and handles SMB clients from coast to coast. Supporting Strategies operates under a franchise model, where each franchise owner follows the firm’s proven business model for bookkeeping and controller-level services.
The firm focuses on adopting efficient, tech-driven processes that apply as easily to 10 people as 400. explains how Bill.com earned its position in the firm’s standard technology stack and toolbox and helped the firm grow with digital business payments and AP and AR automation.
What was AP like for your firm before digital business payments and Bill.com?
It’s amusing to think about how we used to handle bill payments before Bill.com. I had a huge lockbox cabinet in the office with 50 check stocks in it and several staff members dedicated to AP only. We handled approvals via USPS, email, or phone. Then, we printed out checks, mailed or dropped them off for clients to sign, stuffed them into envelopes, and dropped them in the mailbox. We coordinated bank runs and reconciled payments manually. It took a lot of people, paper, and time. I hated the hassle of the process. It wasn’t elegant and made it difficult to scale up.
What happened when your AP went digital?
Digital business payments and Bill.com transformed the firm. Now, the entire AP process – from bill review to payment – is run online or via a mobile app. We’ve cut our time spent on AP by 50% or more.
Our clients enjoy the convenience and mobility that Bill.com provides. The approval workflow is entirely automated, with each reviewer getting notifications through the Bill.com online account or mobile app. When each bill is approved for payment, a quick click or tap sends or schedules the digital payment. The process has much more robust checks and balances since each bill goes through the necessary reviews by the right people and the entire process is tracked and audit-ready.
Beyond saving time, you can see the transformation. I got rid of the oversize, locked cabinet, the books of check stock, and even the office space. We’re entirely virtual now.
Describe how digital business payments and Bill.com impacted your staffing.
I used to have multiple full-time staff members handling check runs, scanning documents, and mailing checks – all very manual tasks. After we moved to Bill.com and digital business payments, that part of the staff downsized to one person in a part-time position. I transferred people to other sections of the business. For example, one employee came to us as a scanner but wanted to learn about bookkeeping. We helped her with that journey. Now she’s a revenue-producing part of the team.
Why do you recommend Bill.com for international business payments?
As more of our clients grow their businesses by going global, it’s imperative to have all payments – domestic and international – on the same platform. It ensures the same checks and balances stay in place, eliminates time-consuming tasks like calculating conversion rates, and keeps the payments process accessible and efficient for clients. All data syncs automatically with QuickBooks. Plus, Bill.com makes it very easy for your payment recipients overseas. Mailed paper checks can take weeks to arrive. Then, recipients must go to the bank, deposit it, and wait for the dollars to be converted to local currency and the money to be added to their accounts. Instead, your vendors and contractors get an electronic payment in their local currency.
You mentioned that your favorite Bill.com feature is its accounts receivable. Why?
Yes, it is! Supporting Strategies and its franchisees use Bill.com for invoicing clients. Clients agree to authorize automatic invoice payments to the firm via Bill.com. From there, it’s set it and forget it. Bill.com sends invoices automatically and collects the payment at the same time. You spend zero hours on AR, and payments are synced with QuickBooks Online. The result: You get a predictable cash flow.
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