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September 16, 2021

4 Benefits of Automated Bill Pay for Small Businesses in 2021

By 
LeAnne Taylor

Running a business is busy work. In fact, some could argue that small business owners are busier now than ever before.

When the everyday challenges of running a business (like paying bills and managing spend) are coupled with wage increases, a labor shortage and a pandemic - every minute (and every penny) counts.

Let's take a look at the five benefits of automating bill pay for small businesses and how it can help offset the many challenges SMB owners are facing today.

1. Less time on bill pay

According to the June 2021 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the US has more job openings than available workers to fill them.¹

When you're understaffed and taking on more responsibilities than usual, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not a bill has been paid. By automating your bill pay process with an automated accounts payable platform, you can save up to 70% of the time you spend manually paying bills.²

To put those time savings into perspective, let's take a look at the data:

  • 12.5% of manually processed invoices require problem-solving or rework due to human error.³
  • 20-30% of invoices have to be treated as exceptions.
  • The average cost to manually process a single invoice is $12.90.

By those statistics, the hours of troubleshooting manual errors alone have the potential to drain productivity and valuable time for a small business. That's when smart bill pay and automation become even more important.

Plus, once you factor in the number of invoices your business processes each month with the average cost of $12.90/invoice³ - the numbers will speak for themselves.

2. More spend on strategy

As of July 2021, the BLS reported average hourly wages are up 4.0% YOY - a much faster pace than pre-pandemic average of 3.1% in 2019.¹⁰ In other words, the cost of labor is not something business owners can ignore. What they can do, though, is help offset them with an automated bill pay system that reduces some of the manual workload.

While you may not be seeing them as large line items at the end of each month - the costs of manual bill pay add up faster than you think. As noted above, the average cost to process just one invoice is $12.90.³ If your business processes 50 invoices/month, you're spending over $7700 annually on invoice processing fees alone. And that's not all. The average expense report costs $58¹¹ to process (+$52 to correct errors!¹¹), the average check costs $4-$8 to process and ACH transfers often come with bank fees.

With a modern bill pay platform like Corpay One, you can offset the rising labor costs and loss of revenue due to COVID-19 by sending Check and ACH vendor payments from your bank account for free. Or, you can keep cash on hand and fund any Check or ACH payments with your credit card.*

Plus, our OCR scanning technology has a 99% accuracy rate - which means less typing, less typos and less time (and money!) on bill pay. The best part? There's no subscription fee.

*2.9% transaction fee applies

3. Lower risk of fraud

Fraud is scary - but it does happen. And it happens more often than you think. Billing fraud schemes occur at almost twice the rate in small businesses than larger companies, while check and payment tampering schemes occur at four times the rate.

Not only does it happen more frequently, it also hits small businesses harder than larger organizations. Small businesses with under 100 employees lose almost twice as much money to fraud than larger companies. And in over 40% of the cases, a lack of internal controls, like a software to manage expenses, was the reason fraud occurred.

With Corpay One, a built-in audit trail keeps track of every interaction your team has with a bill or vendor. You get visibility into changes made to payments and can even set permissions to prevent changes entirely. Plus, with duplicate bill detection - you won't pay the same vendor for the same bill twice. Without the proper checks in place, this could be happening right under your nose. Within Corpay One, roughly 3.5% of the invoices uploaded are duplicates. Although some of your vendors may not be kind enough to notify you - Corpay One will.

4. Cleaner back office

Manual bill pay is messy. Without a modern bill pay platform, month-end consists of stacks (and stacks) of paper, spreadsheets across different folders, an overflowing inbox, multiple tools open - and potentially long nights.

Corpay One combines and simplifies your finance tools into one powerful platform. With Corpay One, you can easily integrate the tools you are already using. We sync to your existing accounting system, like QuickBooks Online and Desktop, Xero and Sage Intacct, to create one seamless automation process.

With Corpay One, your tools do the work for you - together, in one place - so you don't have to.

Small Business Week 2021 - Join Corpay One LIVE!

Corpay One has helped thousands of small businesses reclaim their productive time with smart solutions to the most tedious everyday tasks - like paying bills and managing spend.

In honor of Small Business Week 2021, we're hosting a LIVE webinar on September 21 at 3PM EST (12 Noon PST) to cover even more on the benefits of automating bill pay - with fellow small business owners like yourself! Click here to save your seat.

Can't make it live? No worries, just book a demo with us on your own time and we can show you the ropes. Or you can get started for free and make your first payment today.


Sources:
¹  The US economy has more open jobs than people looking for work. Business Insider, August 9, 2021.
² B2B: How the next payment frontier will unleash small business. Goldman Sachs Equity Research, September 16, 2008.
³
5 Proven Strategies to Reduce Costs and Accelerate Cycle Times in P2P, APP2P Conference & Expo, May 2018.
The e-Invoicing Journey 2019-2025. Bruno Koch Billentis, September 2019.
Automating AP/AR Financial Processes, AIIM White Paper, 2014
2018 Report to the Nations. Copyright 2018 by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Inc
U.S. Companies Cling to Writing Paper Checks. Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2014.
Using OCR: How Accurate is Your Data. TDWI, March 5, 2018
2020 Report to the Nations. Copyright 2020 by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Inc
¹⁰
American restaurant and hotel workers got a big raise in July. So did everyone else. Business Insider, August 6, 2021.
¹¹ How Much Do Expense Reports Really Cost? Survey by GBTA Foundation and HRS, October 2015.

*Standard OCR accuracy rates are 98-99%, per TDWI. Corpay One has a .34% error rate, putting us in the 99% accuracy range.



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