Intuit has long known that for most small businesses using its QuickBooks accounting software, balancing their books and paying bills are separate functions that add extra time and steps.

Through a collaboration with Bill.com, Intuit now aims to streamline those processes by incorporating Bill.com directly into QuickBooks, so small-business users can pay vendors electronically without having to log out of the accounting program.

“Until now there was no complete bill-payment solution available within an accounting software program where bookkeeping and paying bills through any channel can all happen through one interface,” said Sanjeev Kriplani, senior vice president of marketing and product management at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Bill.com.

Another goal of the integration is to encourage more small businesses to convert from paper to electronic payments.

Bill.com, which is attempting to bring a consumer-style user experience to business payments to boost automation, targets companies with 100-200 employees, but its biggest audience is small businesses with less than 20 workers with whom QuickBooks is popular, and paper checks still constitute about 80% of their payments, according to Kriplani.

“This integration is a plus for both companies because Intuit realized it was a bit odd for so many of their small-business customers to be putting check stock in a printer to mail out checks, while we have bill-payment module ideal for small businesses that could go right into QuickBooks,” he said.

By using Bill.com within QuickBooks, small-business customers can opt to have Bill.com send bill payments electronically or Bill.com will handle printing and mailing of checks that are drawn on an anonymous bank account for security, so vendors don’t see the customer’s bank information.

Other Bill.com tools now available within QuickBooks Online include a payments tracker on the accounting program’s dashboard enabling users to view the status of online payments, and the option to stop, reissue or void pending payments. Users at any time may opt to see all previous cleared-check images for auditing or to show proof of payment.

To encourage migration from checks to electronic payments, QuickBooks users have direct access to Bill.com’s electronic payment setup portal, which automatically locates financial contact information for vendors and a one-click process to initiate the switch.

Additional services coming soon include support for converting invoices from paper to digital images by scanning and uploading them to QuickBooks Online, and the ability to make any changes to pending bill payments through a dashboard widget.

Prior to the integration with QuickBooks, Bill.com users would sign up through Bill.com’s website or go through another accounting software provider like NetSuite, and synchronize with Intuit for payments, according to Kriplani.

“For customers who were already using QuickBooks and Bill.com, there will be no changes except they can handle all these tasks within the accounting program, and users who want Bill.com can now sign up within the program,” Kriplani said.

Bill.com costs $9.95 a month with additional payment costs of 49 cents for ACH transactions and $1.49 for each paper check.

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