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November 19, 2021

Five Level Ups On Bill Pay Basics Made Possible by Corpay One’s Workflows Tool

Kelly Gonsalves

Bill Pay Brass Tacks

When it comes to bill pay, it comes down to making sure that:

  1. Everything ends up in the right place
  2. Things that should NOT get paid, don’t
  3. Things that should get paid, do
  4. The process happens on time and smoothly
  5. You don’t have to do it all yourself

This last part is key. Frankly, it’s why we need bill pay workflows - to make sure numbers 1 - 4 don’t have to all be done by you! Workflows allow us to divide and conquer the endless stream of bills, credits, receipts, notices, reimbursements, etc. with members of our own team and even our clients’ teams. All while ensuring a consistent, accurate outcome. 

But, that can’t happen if you don’t have a reliable way to share all of these processes with the people who need it. And they’re even more useless if they aren’t kept relevant and updated! 

Corpay One’s Workflow Functionality

Imagine if you could take the process of building something like a Zap in Zapier and combine it with the functionality of If This / Then That. You then get to remove the repetitive error functionality found in Excel and then throw in the kind of rule making and sorting ability you might find in your better email platforms. That’s just a bit of what the Workflows tool in Corpay One offers. Frankly, it’s that combo of amazing and why-didn’t-I-think-of-this that’s pretty hard to come by.

1. Everything ends up in the right place.

This can mean a lot of things, so let’s break it down a couple of ways. This is beyond just the app reading the difference between bills, credits, and receipts. And beyond just coding the splits right. Corpay One's approval game is next level. Send specific project codes to certain key players. Send certain bill types to specific location managers for review. Separate approvals by departments or dollar amount. Ask for approval from two people. Even ask for approval from two people out of six possible people. No problem. I’m looking at you, my nonprofit people - board approvals and restricted funds are a real thing ALL the time for you.

2. Things that should NOT get paid, don't

More than just blacklisting certain vendors that aren’t official vendors at all, etc. Imagine a bill you get from your landlord for rent. They are a real vendor, and that is a real bill. But it’s on auto-pay. So you can write a workflow that recognizes that bills from that vendor need to be booked, but also need to be marked as ‘paid’. Ditto receipts. Or subscription notices (ie: on x you will be charged y) Nice, right?

3. Things that should get paid, do

In thinking of the landlord example above, what about when that same landlord sends that one bill that is for CAM (Common Area Maintenance) charges? Or the property tax reimbursement twice a year? Or another one off thing. With simple workflow automations, these charges might get swept up in the basic rule described above. But using Corpay One’s Workflows tool, you can instead factor in these kinds of exceptions. You can say, for instance, that the rule above applies EXCEPT if the bill amount for vendor X is more than X (%, $), or different from X dollars.

4. The process happens on time and smoothly

So is our landlord’s CAM or property tax bill just now stuck as an exception hanging out in space? Nope. You can automate what happens instead when such an exception is caught. Maybe it gets marked as a bill to be paid immediately if the word “CAM” is on it. Or maybe it needs to be routed for approval BEFORE that quick payment. Then again, that property tax reimbursement might need to be paid in increments over time. And on that note, that tax might not even be payable to the landlord! There might be directions on that bill to pay it directly to the county. 

Depending on the predictability of how your vendor charges, notifies, and describes all these things on a bill, they can all be accounted for in the Corpay One Workflows tool. It really is amazing. The limits truly are your ability to recognize patterns and describe them. And let’s face it -- in the accounting and bookkeeping spaces, we tend to be really good at that kind of thing.

5. You don’t have to do it all yourself

Of course having workflows automated in a system your team is using is great. But it gets better. That same system is capable of workflows that don’t just address what gets recorded and paid when necessary, but also can automate who else needs to know and how they need to be involved. 

Imagine your bill pay app not only creating a new vendor, but immediately sending off an approval notice to management so that they can verify it’s a real vendor. You could also create an automation so that a vendor sending a $10 per month receipt for a subscription only goes for approval that first time, instead of every month the receipt comes in. In fact, you might think that is such a good idea that you can also choose that that particular workflow happens EVERY time a new vendor is added automatically for your other clients, too!

Ya know what else you can set up to happen when new vendors are added? How about new vendors aren’t payable if they aren’t marked W9 received or not necessary! And imagine further that you can route that bill to a certain department or person to do something about that missing W9. Talk about getting some help on year end!

The actual Workflows interface is really straightforward, almost simplistic. It’s easy to assume that it can only do simple things. In fact, what it can do is provide a simpler way to automate even the most complicated customized workflow.

Because you can choose your “When this happens… Do this…” elements, you can automate almost anything by using almost any element the system recognizes. The only downside is that it is SO customizable and without obvious limits that it can be hard to imagine exactly what it is and what you should use it for. 

Fortunately, Corpay One knows this and has included some examples for you to not only use as is, but also to test and even iterate off of! 

And speaking of testing, they have gone the extra mile to supply you with a full-fledged demo account inside of Corpay One itself. Imagine having this on-hand to demonstrate to potential clients some of what you can do for them, without having to use other client data or maintain a demo account yourself. Not to mention the value demo accounts provide for training those folks once they are new clients! Or testing new Workflows builds.

On that note: Here’s the true benefit I see in this kind of automated workflows tool -- the way your clients work best. What I mean is this: when you can automate the exceptions as well as the rules, clients have to do less to sort out that stuff for you ahead of time. Which means they can use more of the workflows that work for them to get you the info in the first place. And it still won’t mess up your own team’s way of working. In short, working with you and your team becomes really easy.

That’s the final piece of this puzzle: Corpay One’s Workflows tool allows you to build custom workflows for each client. But don’t worry, if you build a few you really like, you can also share them across clients, or even just with certain client groups. Nice!

In short, Corpay One's workflows tool might just be a game changer for you. Rather than a list of all the exceptions for each client being a part of your team’s daily bill pay life, you all can continue with your own practice workflows without being constantly dragged down by managing exceptions.

And that, my friends, is a recipe for efficiency and growth.

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