Mar 14th 2013
By Frank Byrt
A survey conducted by Bill.com of corporate financial executives shows a shift toward mobile money management. Two-thirds of respondents reported they now process at least some of their financial transactions via the Cloud and mobile devices.
The survey, conducted in January, included 235 chief financial officers (CFOs), 184 controllers, and 91 finance managers, all of whom are at companies that have automated payable and receivables processing.
"While many respondents only used devices to process transactions while still clinging to manual processes for cash flow management, those who had embraced the Cloud wholeheartedly and moved to mobile financial management have found themselves to be more efficient, effective, and competitive," said a March 7 press release from Bill.com summarizing the survey results.
Bill.com concludes that due to their rising confidence in the security and reliability of mobile computing, almost half of respondents said they want to expand the use of their mobile devices beyond approving transactions to sending reminders, adding notes to documents stored on the Cloud, and managing their cash flow.
Bill.com is a provider of an online cash flow, payables, and receivables management systems that synchronize with most Cloud-based accounting programs. Cloud accounting programs allow users to pay a monthly fee to use a provider's software online in lieu of buying a provider's software program.
"As this survey has shown, the move to mobility represented by this new generation of leaders is already underway," said René Lacerte, founder and CEO of Bill.com, in the press release." It can be seen in financial professionals' desire to move not just transactions, but account payables, receivables, and cash flow management to their mobile devices."
Larry Kammerer, CPA and partner at Moss Adams LLP in Campbell, California, told AccountingWEB his firm makes extensive use of the Cloud and uses QuickBooks Online or Intacct accounting software programs to manage clients' accounting remotely.
Kammerer said that approach is more productive than working on a desktop system from one location. For example, staffers from his firm's office can collaborate with clients who are inputting data at their own office onto a Cloud-based accounting system, so they can monitor the client's work or provide advice as they go over the numbers from disparate locations. "That way, they can learn in real time what's happening to their business. There are a lot of productivity gains this way."
Moss Adams clients have been using Bill.com over the past four years to manage the entire billing cycle online – from preparing invoices and sending them electronically to managing receivables and collecting on payables and making deposits, Kammerer said. And that process is synchronized with a client's accounting system, which facilitates optimal cash flow management.
Kammerer said his firm didn't decide on using the Cloud for managing sensitive financial data until after doing extensive research. "We actually found it more secure, because there are no more paper checks that need to be secured or [get delayed because they] need authorizing signatures. Nothing is foolproof, but the ability to back up and secure data is very robust."
Amber Hurst, EA and Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor at Ganze & Company in Napa, California, said her firm has been using the Bill.com application within clients' accounting programs since 2007. "It's most beneficial for our clients," she told AccountingWEB.
For example, she said one of her firm's local clients, a restaurant owner, paid bills online from New York City while on a business trip, and the accounts payables and cash balances were updated automatically. Since the client has final approval before a payment is made online, she said, "He still feels in control. We hear that a lot from clients."
Hurst said that some of the firm's small business clients Ganze prepares tax returns for do their own accounting using the QuickBooks software program integrated with Bill.com, so being able to access those firms' financials from her office via the Cloud greatly expedites the tax preparation process.
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