A Guide to Setting Up Automated Bill Payments for your Business
May 16, 2022
By Trent McLaren
What is an automated bill payment?
Automated bill payments are essentially instructions that you set up ahead of time to enable your financial management software to automate some or all of the accounts payable process. Once approved, your software will pay the bill on the scheduled date with your method of choice (including EFT if you’re with Weel!), send remittance advice to the supplier and stay in sync with your accounting software throughout this process.
What are the benefits of automating bill payments?
Automated bill payments can save you time and improve the accuracy of a previously manual payment processes. Setting up automated rules and workflows will ensure that bills are forwarded to whichever staff members need to see them. Once approved, the full accounts payable process can happen automatically - without the need for complex forms or lots of back and forth between departments.
Which bills should be set to autopay?
One of the great benefits of automated bill payments is making sure you don’t have to manage each stage of the payment process. This means it’s great for regular bills that don’t fluctuate significantly each month. Alternatively, autopay can ensure that minimum payments on credit cards for example are paid on time - saving you time and preventing any late payment penalties. However, autopay may encourage you to “set and forget” your bills which isn’t ideal for expenses that you may want to review regularly or that you are not sure you need, like subscription services or free trials.
What is the best way to set up automated bill payments?
Interested in setting automated bill payments? First you need to understand what features are important for you and your business. Once you have a good idea of what capabilities are needed for your business bill payment automations, you can set up an account with your chosen provider and take it from there. We’ve listed some key steps below that will aid you when setting up your automated bill payment system.
Find an automation software that works for your company
The first step is to understand what expense management software is right for your business needs. There are a lot of options on the market so take time to find the one that works for you. Key things to consider include ease of use, ability to integrate with other accounting software and overall capacity to reduce to manual processes. Make sure that the solution you choose meets your needs and works with your existing software and processes.
Set up your account and get your stakeholders familiar with the software
Once you’ve found a platform that works for you and you’ve set up your account, the next step is to invite your key stakeholders to get on board with using your new software. This process will differ depending on the software you select and what your business needs are. Be sure to dedicate the time to run your stakeholders through the automation software so they have a chance to see its use case and ask any questions they might have in real time.
Your invoice data is automatically extracted and assessed
Once your account is set up, your invoice data will be extracted, coded, and assessed automatically. There’s no need to spend precious time on manual data entry, ABA files or managing hundreds of accounts payable emails.
Set up permissions to allow staff to process their own bill payments with pre-determined budgets and rules
Once you have all your data in your chosen platform, you can streamline things further by setting staff permissions and pre-setting rules and budgets for who can do what. Once assigned permissions, relevant staff will receive emails directly to approve bills which will then be paid automatically and on schedule based on your pre-set budgets and rules.
Pay your suppliers hassle free with EFT
In the platform, you’ll want to have full visibility over upcoming bills and their due dates. This will help to manage cashflow, avoid any late fees and build good relationships with your suppliers. You’ll want to easily be able to pay multiple bills and schedule the payment in advance. With Weel, you can even choose to pay via EFT for a secure and hassle free transaction.
Tips for managing automated bill payments
It can be tempting to “set and forget” with automated bill payments and other finance automation tools but it is still important to keep on top of them. To do that, we recommend:
- Spot checks and audits: Make sure to do spot checks every now and again and a full audit at least once a year.
- Retrial your software: Periodically check the software that you’re using to make sure it continues to meet your needs. Do some research to see if there are any better options available as different platforms may offer new features.
Keep track with real time reports and have full visibility over spend management with Weel
Once your automated bill payments are up and running, enjoy access to real time reports, including real time syncs with your accounting software, so you can see at a glance where money is being spent. With Weel, all this data is at your fingertips!