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Small firms that allow their customers to pay bills or make purchases online can stand out from the competition. Learn how AcceptPay can help.
More Americans than ever before are paying bills online, research shows. Small firms and businesses that make it easy for their customers to pay bills or make purchases online will have a leg up on competitors who are still mired in paper billing systems.
The number of people mailing bill payments is declining. The convenience and eco-friendliness of paperless billing and online payments are likely major draws for the growing number of consumers paying bills and banking online.
Since 2000, the number of U.S. households paying bills online soared by 78 percent, according to Fiserv’s 2010 Consumer Billing and Payment Trends Survey. Of the approximately 95 million households that use the Internet, 36.4 million regularly pay online when they’re billed, the survey says.
An increasing number of online bill payers are also opting to receive e-bills, the survey shows. And online is the preferred payment method among Generation Y customers for everything except their mortgages, according to a 2010 Javelin Research study.
Fortunately, online tools like AcceptPay by American Express powered by PaySimple can make it easy for firms and small businesses to generate invoices and collect payments online. The main features of such applications allow firms and small business owners to:
- Offer e-billing/electronic invoicing to clients
- Establish recurring billing and payment plans
- Accept payments online, over the phone or even in person
- Accept credit card payments online from an unlimited number of customers
- Generate automated reminders for clients with overdue bills
- Flexibility to access your invoicing and receivables online from any computer
Issuing bills and collecting payments over the Internet with online payment systems like AcceptPay offers a wealth of benefits to CPA firms and to CPAs managing receivables for small businesses. These systems can help significantly reduce the number of hours a business owner invests in invoicing and collecting money. This can be especially valuable for small businesses with seasonal income periods or firms who may have an intense billing time period – such as post-tax season. These benefits may include:
- Reduced hours spent on billing and invoicing processes
- Savings in office supply and postage costs realized by going paperless
- Improved branding through customized e-bills with your logo
- Increased client satisfaction and retention among customers who appreciate the ability to pay online
- Faster payments and elimination of invoice-in-transit time. Many small business owners feel they get paid faster when they provide customers with the ability to pay online, and especially through credit card payments, according to a recent survey of small business owners by American Express
- Secure invoice processing and reduced chances of fraud within your firm since incoming payments are monitored and there are reduced number of checks to be mishandled
- Improved management of accounts receivable and cash flow with the reporting tools offered through AcceptPay
Learn more about a 180-day free trial of AcceptPay, designed to help businesses get paid online. See below for offer details. 1
Besides these reasons, moving towards online billing and payment processing is also beneficial to your client – which in turn makes a compelling case for why you should offer it to them. Customers increasingly prefer to do business with companies that understand their online preferences. This includes your existing and potential clients who may see the advantages AcceptPay and other online payment services offer such as:
- Convenience along with cost and time savings
- Greater flexibility in payment options, such as credit card, ACH, etc.
- Better financial management: According to the Fiserv study, the struggling U.S. economy has had a material impact on consumers’ billing and payment practices. People are monitoring their bills online to and organize and gain control over their finances. Your clients will appreciate the ability to receive and pay your bill online to make it part of that financial management process.
- Accessing payment and bill history
- Ability to set up automatic payments or receive reminders and other means to streamline their bills
AcceptPay offers a host of features, for one low, all-inclusive monthly fee. Users are able to accept customer payments using all major credit cards, have payments deposited directly into their bank accounts and integrate their online billing activities into QuickBooks.
While a paperless world is probably still a long way off, especially for small firms and other business owners, the era of online billing and payment collection has definitely arrived. Clients and customers are embracing the trend, and you could benefit from joining them.
Learn more about a 180-day free trial of AcceptPay, designed to help businesses get paid online.