Intuit announced this past summer that they are now offering a bill paying option right inside QuickBooks Online, in collaboration with Bill.com, called Online Bill Pay for QuickBooks Online. I have been using this feature for a few months now with one of my clients, and wanted to share these observations.
How it Works
You enter bills normally in QBO, and now you can pay bills and have payments sent, using the Bill.com engine. This requires your client to have a Bill.com account, which they can obtain for free. Note: there is a new Inbox in beta-testing.
First step is to invite a Vendor to set up a User ID and Password (there is button to click on their Vendor record which sends an invitation), and then they can enter their own banking credentials and be paid via ACH bank transfer, if they so choose, or they can receive a paper check.
What it Costs
As of this writing, the fees are $9.99 per month, plus per transaction fees of $0.49 per ACH and $1.49 per paper check.
What I Like About It
- Online Bill Pay is ideal for customers with low bill-paying volume, for whom a full/regular Bill.com account is overpriced. My client only pays 3-4 bills a month, and generally to the same Vendors. Before, she would login to her online banking bill pay and set up the payments. This was a task she wanted to outsource to me, but without her banking login credentials, I could not do the A/P for her. We now have an option for me to pay bills on her behalf, and at a reasonable price, without my having access to her banking login.
- Vendors can be paid via ACH, if desired, which most vendors really love.
- There is a nice Track Status screen for payments.
What’ I’m Not Crazy About
- The Accountant User is not authorized to pay bills. This means I cannot access the bill pay feature from my QBOA (QuickBooks Online Accountant) login. Instead, I must logout of my master QBOA account, login as my client, and masquerade as her to pay the bills. This requires me to have her QBO login credentials, which normally I don’t like to request. This is a lot of extra steps for me to logout of my QBOA, lookup her credentials, login to her QBO, pay the bills, send her a confirmation screen shot, logout of her QBO, and log back into my QBOA. Whew, I’m exhausted just describing it!
Also, you cannot and you can use Bill Pay if you already have a Bill.com account. Wait, what? Here is what the Inuit FAQ says in answer to the question below.
Q: “Can I use Bill Pay if I already have a Bill.com account?“
A: “Yes, however, your current Bill.com account will not support Bill Pay within QuickBooks Online. You will need to either cancel your Bill.com account or contact Bill.com to have your current Bill.com account delinked from QuickBooks Online. Once this is complete, you will then be able to sign up for a Bill Pay account right from within QuickBooks Online. Your current Bill.com account will remain separate from Bill Pay. For more details visit Online Bill Pay - Existing Bill.com Account.”
Okay, that’s kind of confusing, and once you figure it out, it’s kind of annoying.
The bill pay is not very smart. If I’ve had special situations with the bill, Online Bill Pay for QBO can’t seem to figure that out. One bill we entered in June, and then made 3 progress payments against the bill, still the bill still shows as Unpaid every time I login. Fortunately, there is an option to check the bill, and Remove it from the list of bills to be paid. There is a warning that, “Once you remove a bill from here, it can no longer be paid using Bill Pay Online. You’ll still be able to access it under Expenses.” Good to know.
Another Vendor is an American living overseas. She has a U.S. bank account, but every time we try to set her up for bill payment, it fails. QBO somehow seems to know she lives overseas and we have been unable to pay her using this feature, even though the ACH would be going from a U.S. bank to a U.S. bank.
While my dislikes seem to outweigh my likes, I still think that Online Bill Pay is a handy feature if you are doing low volume A/P for your clients. It has a reasonable cost, but there are some limitations of which you need to be aware before taking the plunge.
Jody Linick, an AIPB Certified Bookkeeper and a QuickBooks Certified Pro Advisor, heads up FitBooksPro (formerly Linick Consulting), which specializes in remote bookkeeping services using hosted QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online.