QuickBooks ProAdvisor

In the Know: Bill Pay in QuickBooks Online Accountant

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Jaclyn Anku, ProAdvisor Training & Certification Leader: Hey ProAdvisors, I'm Jaclyn and you're watching In the Know. It's the show designed to keep you in the know on the most exciting updates to QuickBooks Online.

Today we're diving into a really exciting update on Bill Pay, now available in QuickBooks Online Accountant. We'll be joined by ProAdvisor correspondents Dan Luthi and Carla Caldwell.

So here's the deal. Bill Pay launched in Sep. 2023 for Intuit's direct customers with three plans: Basic, Premium, and Elite. This was really exciting, but there was a rub; you haven't been able to sign up your accountant-billed clients. 

As of early April 2024, you can now add QuickBooks Bill Pay to your accountant-billed clients through QuickBooks Online Accountant—and they get preferred pricing. Accountant billed clients get 30% off their subscriptions, plus 15% off per transaction with ProAdvisor preferred pricing. For direct billed clients, there isn't preferred pricing, but you can always recommend a Bill Pay plan to help them run their business more smoothly.

And now for the Fast Facts:

  • Bill Pay is available to all users who subscribe to the service.
  • You can access it through visiting the subscription and billing page in QuickBooks Online Accountant.
  • Bill Pay through QuickBooks Online Accountant is available today in the U.S. only.

If you find this update interesting or helpful, go ahead and like, comment, and subscribe.

It's my pleasure to welcome Jorge to the show. Jorge, welcome! Do you mind showing us around Bill Pay?

Jorge Cardenas: Awesome. Thanks, Jaclyn, for inviting me. I am really excited to be here today. My name is Jorge Cardenas and I am a marketing manager at Intuit. 

Bill Pay is our own integrated streamlined solution within QuickBooks for customers and accounts to pay bills all in one place. You can do everything from managing vendors, paying bills, and doing batch and bulk payments, to setting controls, roles, and permissions. You can ensure that the right person is seeing the right things in QuickBooks; your clients, as well as firm members, aren't able to pay bills when they shouldn't be.

I'll run through the different ways to sign up to simply go into the subscription and billing page. These are existing customers. Select your client and add bill pay. When you click add bill pay, you'll see a screen that provides some information, but if you want to know more about the different plans and options, you can click on learn more about Bill Pay and see it there. Then you can send an email to your client. So if I'm the accountant, it will say “Jorge's accounting firm wants you to sign up for QuickBooks bill pay, please start adding your information here.” If your customer or client clicks on this link, they will fill in the information, which includes the EIN, as well as other business information. Once they complete this form, submit, and are approved, then you and your client will receive an email letting you know that they've been approved and are ready to continue the subscription process.

It is now on you to click on subscribe. There, it will take you back into QuickBooks Online Accountant, where you can select one of the three tiers to subscribe to, enter your phone payment information, and click subscribe. They are now ready to start; you and the client will receive an email letting you know they are subscribed to QuickBooks Bill Pay. You can start scheduling bills as early as today. 

I hope you all had a great time. Jaclyn, thank you for the time today. I found it really amazing and I appreciate it!

Jaclyn Anku: Thank you so much for Jorge. Thanks for being on the show, and we're so excited to offer Bill Pay and reward ProAdvisors who manage this offering for their clients.

Let's take it now to ProAdvisors Carla Caldwell and Dan Luthi for them to weigh in. Dan, Carla, welcome to the show, and thank you so much for hanging out with us this afternoon. We are talking about updates to Bill Pay and QuickBooks Online Accountant.

Dan, I know that you in particular have been on the edge of your seat for this one. So can you tell the audience why this is such a big deal? 

Dan Luthi: Definitely. Intuit has one of the largest, connected networks of all software that exist, so this creates a really awesome opportunity to be able to link customers and vendors together very easily through that network.

I'm really excited because we'll be able to actually get more valid information directly from each of the vendors, and allow us to be able to make faster payments, which will also be really convenient.

Jaclyn Anku: Faster payments sounds good.

Carla Caldwell: Valid information is definitely good. Yes.

Jaclyn Anku: So Carla, you recently taught Bill Pay in this year's Recertification program. What are some of the big takeaways ProAdvisors should be aware of?

Carla Caldwell: Well, I love that we can recommend this to our clients, kick off the process, and tell the client, “Hey, we really think you should be using this.” It [Bill Pay] allows us to be more proactive, which I think is something we should definitely be doing as their accounting professional. I also love the fact that we can pass on a discount. 

I like that we are in one application looking at Bill Pay, helping our clients. We're seeing the same things they are and I think that just makes a much better experience, not only for the client and the accountant, but also for our relationship with our clients.

Jaclyn Anku: I'd love to unpack that point you made of having everything all in one place, and how that helps create efficiencies and ultimately better client communication. What was life like before you had everything in one place and had to go to two different places for Bill Pay?

Carla Caldwell: With other systems, sometimes you had to pay for each user, so now it is just much more seamless. We can just log in, get to what we need to get to and see the information right there, clicking through it all. We don't have to even worry as much about this as a separate application. Once we give our team members access to a client's books, they will also have access to the Bill Pay. So it just makes it a whole lot easier for us to really log in and get to the information we need—and the same thing goes for the client; the fewer passwords our clients need, the better for everybody. So it’s all in one place and much better for them, too.

Dan Luthi: Along with that, the part that I'm really eager to dive into more with my customers is the fact that there actually are multiple rules you can set up for access, so you can make sure that people are seeing specific things. You also don't have to have two or three different systems in order to be able to create rules, get the notes, and send notifications to someone who has to approve it before the payments are made. Historically, that's not been the case in some of the other bill pay solutions embedded into QuickBooks. This really takes a big leap forward and makes the process a lot more fluid, making sure the customer feels like they're confident in getting approvals before things go out of their bank account.

Carla Caldwell: Absolutely.

Jaclyn Anku: Okay, so speaking about your clients, Dan, help me understand how, with Bill Pay and accounts payable by extension, does your firm offer AP services to all of your clients or to some of your clients? What does that look like to offer accounts payable as a service?

Dan Luthi: We offer accounts payable as an option for all of our clients to add to their package they get with us. Not everybody opts into it. We service about 200 small businesses, and a little over 50% of them actually have us facilitate AP for them in some way, shape, or form. So for us, putting it all in one system is going to allow us to be able to cut down on a whole bunch of extra inboxes. It's going to allow us to be able to have receipts and bills go to the same place. So it's a little bit easier to match it to bank transactions. We want to make sure bills are paid on time and the client doesn't have to go to three different systems in order to be able to look at what outstanding bills and things of that nature.

The part that I really am probably the most excited about is that Bill Pay gives the opportunity to have consistent conversations with our clients, utilizing a single platform and training, instead of having to teach on multiple different tools. This is going to help them to feel more comfortable in the conversations, and honestly, they will probably less ignore the notifications they're getting into their inbox because they're not sure who it's coming from or what tool they're being shared with. That's different from what they were used to.

Carla Caldwell: Yeah, I really like that. And you're right about the separation of duties, right? That's something we get taught when we go to accounting school—we're actually doing it in QuickBooks with this. I think that is going to be really great for our clients. But yeah, that single platform is really going to make a big difference in our conversations with clients.

Jaclyn Anku: So when it comes to having all of that data in one place, you have more visibility into their accounts payable. That helps create efficiencies, but how does this help tee you up for deeper, richer advisory conversations when you have that view into their accounts payable?

Dan Luthi: One of the things that runs into being a problem for people who use alternative AP solutions outside of QuickBooks is that timing is not always very transparent when bills are scheduled to go out and how that's affecting your accounts payable. This [Bill Pay] is going to be one of the big features when it comes to us talking with our clients about cash flow and having deeper discussions with them around those, because we're actually using ACH as a primary option instead of potentially using checks and things like that. You can control the cash flow a lot better, and can start helping your clients be better prepared about knowing where their money is at all times, instead of waiting for checks to clear in a week or two, or things like that. When we have the advisory conversation around cash flow forecasting, projections, and things of that nature, we’re going to feel more confident about where those numbers are pointed to because we’re going to be able to see all that stuff a little bit more transparently.

Carla Caldwell: I also like the idea of not having to integrate another system for something as fundamental as accounts payable. There's no clearing accounts and the issues that come through and duplicate vendors because you're in the system that's keeping up with all of that information. Cleaner data is also going to allow us to have better conversations as well. So I really like that idea. Also not having the additional integration is going to be a big plus for our clients and our team because it's frustrating to deal with that.

Jaclyn Anku: It is frustrating. I can hardly remember half of my passwords half of the time, so I can only imagine what it’s like for your clients.

Dan, a few shows ago we were talking about role-based access control and what it means to be able to advise clients on who's doing what in roles and permissions. Now, as we sort of widen the lens and think about Bill Pay more holistically, does being able to have these conversations with your clients, again, sort of lead to those "Ah-Ha" moments on their end as they're scaling their business?

Dan Luthi: Oh, very much so. Because now, at this point in time, you can start assigning controls to people within the organization. We're not just blanket giving access to everybody; you're centralizing the different access functions into one place. So when we're talking about, or maneuvering around, things with our clients and having discussions about who should see what and who shouldn't see things, you can now dictate that from one single source.

If there is someone who's changing a role in the organization, you can make an adjustment. If there's someone who needs additional authority because things are changing in their roles and responsibilities, we can do that in one single platform. It's going to make a big difference for our clients to be able to see that, and really provide them with an opportunity to have more confidence that people aren't seeing things they're not supposed to see.

Carla Caldwell: We work with a lot of nonprofits, so having the approver role is going to be really important for them because there are times when bills are coming in, somebody puts them in, and now we can have somebody designated as an approver. If they're on QuickBooks Online Advanced, they also have some workflows there to be able to pass that through various levels of authority based on amounts and things like that. So I really think this is going to help them understand that as they are growing, the system they're using is growing with them, providing additional functionality to allow them to stay in a platform that's easy to use, but can be more robust as complexities and needs change in the organization.

Jaclyn Anku: Well, I absolutely love to hear that having Bill Pay in QuickBooks Online makes your life and your clients’ lives easier. Carla, Dan, thanks so much for hanging out on the show and sharing your amazing insights. As usual, we will catch you next time. Thank you.

Carla Caldwell: Bye.

Dan Luthi: See you guys.

Jaclyn Anku: And thank you for watching this episode. I'm Jaclyn, the host of In The Know and leader of ProAdvisor Training and Certification. Be sure to like, subscribe, and hit the notification bell so that you don't miss a single episode. We'll catch you next time.

Meet the ProAdvisors

ProAdvisor Carla Caldwell: Founder, Caldwell Consulting & Training LLC

ProAdvisor Dan Luthi: COO Ignite Spot

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