Small Business Services

Keeping Your Suppliers Happy: Cloud-Based Accounts Payable

You know the feeling. That nagging feeling you get when you haven’t turned your attention to your bills in recent days. You know some are e soon, so you shuffle through your stack or folder of envelopes. Or you look at your paper calendar if that’s your accounts payable tracking system.

Paying your suppliers late on a regular basis has all kinds of unpleasant ramifications. You may be assessed late fees. Your current cash flow isn’t accurate. If it goes on long enough, you’ll probably get some nasty phone calls. You may even lose purchasing privileges with some suppliers. And a poor bill-paying record doesn’t look good if you have to apply for financing.

If you simply don’t have the money to pay, that’s one thing (and a whole other problem). But if you’re missing payment due dates because you don’t have a good A/P organizational system, it may be time to consider a cloud-based accounting solution.

The best accounting websites make it very easy to see where you stand with your accounts payable.

The first thing you see when you sign into an accounting website is what’s called a dashboard. This screen gives you an overview of your accounts, income, and expenses, so you know very quickly what needs to be done right away. You can even click on links from this page to go directly to the tools and data you need.

Supplier Records

If you’re still doing your accounting tasks manually, you may be using a Rolodex stuffed with business cards to keep track of your suppliers’ addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc. Then when you have to pay a bill or issue a credit, maybe you have a folder or two where you store old bills and correspondence and other documents related to each. Your pending bills might be in another place.

So when it’s time to pay bills, you may be having to hunt around for all of the information you need. And it’s likely that you could practically recite addresses and phone numbers by heart, considering how many times you’ve written and dialed them.

Cloud-based accounting sites solve both problems. Once you’ve created a record for a supplier, you never have to enter that information again. It will be available for use in bills, purchase orders, credit notes, reports – anyplace where it needs to appear.

Once you create thorough records for each of your suppliers, you’ll be able to pull that information into other areas of the site easily.

These records usually contain far more than just contact details. You can store related financial information, and even see a history of that record’s creation and modification. Web-based accounting sites also display some real-time information about suppliers in their records, perhaps the status of any outstanding transactions and a list of recent ones.

Completing Transactions

You probably get a paper bill from some suppliers. Other businesses that are using cloud-based accounting applications themselves may send you an invoice over the internet and provide a way for you to pay with a credit card or bank account, so no paper is ever involved. The funds move electronically. No matter how you receive payment-due notifications from suppliers, you can still track them by entering the details of each in your own accounting application.

And if you’re set up with a bank to do so, you can dispatch your own payments from your accounting site in one of three ways: print checks, send a single e-payment, or create multiple payments to go out to your bank at once (batch payments).

State-of-the-art accounting solutions also provide tools for creating and dispatching repeating bills, credit notes, and purchase orders.

The best cloud-based accounting sites let you create numerous types of supplier forms and transactions.

Complex Operations

Accounting websites can improve your relationships with suppliers in many ways. If you have employees handling A/P for you, they’ll be happier, too, with these automated tools. Solution providers do their best to try and simplify the process, but you’re still dealing with the rules of double-entry accounting. Your financial advisor can help you select an application and train you on its use.

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