Making Electronic Payments Easy with QuickBooks Online

As our service economy expands, today’s small businesses are making more and more use of freelancers. From marketing to catering to personal fitness to private transportation, nearly every industry is seeing a rise in independent contractors. Unfortunately for companies using QuickBooks Online there is no built in solution to pay these vendors electronically. Luckily, there are a number of apps that work with QuickBooks Online to make electronic payments simple and easy. We’ll look at two of these (vendWolla and Bill.com) and also compare them to typical online banking functionality.

The easy way to pay vendors

Both vendWolla and Bill.com are independent websites that integrate with QuickBooks Online (note: Intuit recently added a “Setup Online Payments” button that acts a basic link to Bill.com). Once signed up, both sites allow the customer to view all of their open bills, pick which bills to pay, and then initiate payments with the click of a button. Bill Payments that easily match during account reconciliation are automatically entered into QuickBooks Online. Vendors that receive electronic payments go through a one time setup process and then have payments deposited automatically.

Compare that with a typical bank’s online bill pay service. With online bill pay each vendor must be manually entered and kept up to date when addresses change. Invoice amounts and numbers must be copied individually from QuickBooks Online to the bank’s website. Check numbers are then copied to manually created Bill Payments within QuickBooks Online. Yuck. Using either of these apps is far easier, faster and more accurate than a bank’s online bill pay.

Choosing a service

vendWolla and Bill.com both offer integrated payments but there are important differences in each app’s approach. vendWolla focuses strictly on making electronic payments easy and inexpensive. Bill.com offers a wide range of accounts payable (and receivable) functionality.

Summary of cost and functionality for each service

vendWolla

Price: No monthly fee, $0.25 per ACH payment, no check payments
Transfer Speed: 1–2 days for banks using FiSync technology. Otherwise a standard double ACH time of 5–7 days. 
Company Setup: Companies login to vendWolla using their existing QuickBooks online username and password. Companies also complete a one time account setup with the payment processor Dwolla which stores bank account information.
Vendor Setup: New vendors automatically receive an email with a link to create an account and enter their bank information. Many vendors are able to instantly verify their bank information by logging into their online banking system. Vendors with unsupported banks complete a trial deposit verification process.
Additional Functionality: None.

Bill.com

Price: $7.50/month/user (and up), $0.49 per ACH payment, $1.49 per check payment
Transfer Speed: Standard double ACH time of 5–7 days. 
Company Setup: Companies setup a new Bill.com username and password then link that account with their QuickBooks Online account. Companies enter their bank information in Bill.com.
Vendor Setup: Vendors will be automatically mailed checks unless they have a Bill.com account. Companies can send vendors an email with a link to create an account. Vendors then enter their bank information and complete a trial deposit verification process. Alternatively, companies can enter their vendor’s bank information and coordinate the trial deposit verification with creating a Bill.com account for the vendor. 
Additional Functionality: Bill entry service, bill approval workflow, document storage, accounts receivable automation.


Conclusion

Any company with freelancers, consultants, or independent contracts can save time and reduce mistakes by switching from online bill pay or paper checks. Look to Bill.com (and others) if you need broad account payables functionality or to continue sending checks. Look to vendWolla if you need a low-cost, focused solution to send electronic payments quickly and easily.

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