Cash flow management need not be limited to the CFO or other top executives within a firm. In fact, for some smaller and mid-sized businesses, it may make sense to outsource the day-to-day oversight of cash in and cash out, with an eye on reconciling that data with accounting functions and making sure that bills get paid on time.
Last week, AccountantsWorld, a cloud-based solution firm serving certified public accountants, unveiled new offerings tied to its Accounting Power flagship software. CPAs can offer up a broader range of accounting services, including bill payments and bookkeeping, to clients, thus broadening their own top lines.
In an interview with PYMNTS, Chandra Bhansali, chief executive officer and cofounder of the firm, said that the movement to offer payments and related services is a natural outgrowth of AccountantsWorld’s progression, from recognizing the influence the internet would have on accounting services early in the millennium, to assisting with payroll, to moving beyond the mainframe to desktops and to mobile devices.
In addition to interfacing with the Accounting Power platform, as used by accounting firms to interact with clients, the new services let accountants offer customized tracking, which, Bhansali said, moves across end-to-end payments. And though “size does not matter” for the value offered by automatic payments and invoicing, perhaps the most immediate adopters would be SMBs, which makes sense, he posited, as “smaller firms are more receptive to add services” and can be as small as sole practitioners, which means that dealing with all the moving parts of cash flow management can become laborious.
The firm’s own research, said the CEO, shows that one in four SMB owners would offload these functions to an automated system or third-party monitoring. The fact that that number is not higher, said Bhansali, speaks to the “need for education, especially among smaller business players, regardless of vertical.”
As it stands now, across these à la carte services offered for cash management, CPA clients can use image capture to upload images of invoices and also the payments that those firms have received against receivables through a mobile device. The accountants servicing that client can log into AccountantsWorld to view those documents, which are segmented according to the client and can be presented for processing and then payment. Dashboard displays allow for viewing several accounts at once, and accounts that need attention are presented in real time with alerts.
In addition, approval features, as Bhansali noted, let accountants send payment approval requests to SMBs, which can be approved for full or partial payments, via electronic or physical checks. “Alerts,” the executive said, “can also be set up so that, for instance, an accounts receivable tracking can include an alert upon reaching $10,000, or another figure, for each client … The accountant can then call the client, or there can be messaging set up to go automatically to that client.”