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How to process payments when you’re not in the office

Mar 28, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses and organizations to rapidly adjust their day-to-day operations to support remote work, one of the most frequently asked questions surrounds options for remote payment processing. The answer may vary depending on factors such as your accounting system, internal controls and your financial institution’s offerings, but here are a few ideas and solutions to get you started.

Financial institution services

Many financial institutions offer invoice management services that may include invoice capture, electronic routing and approval of invoices, electronic payments via ACH or wire transfer, and even check printing and mailing services. Often, the quickest and least expensive option is to see what services your financial institution already offers to you, and begin using them.

Accounting systems

Most modern accounting systems include payment workflow capabilities that allow invoices to be electronically routed for approval and maintain an audit trail of who actually approved the payment. Most also include the ability to customize the workflow to match your approval policy to handle dollar-level thresholds, electronic check signatures and multiple approvals, as well as disallowing self-approvals.

Once approved, many systems will also allow you to export a NACHA file to be uploaded to your financial institution for ACH payments. Some even offer direct integrations with financial institutions to process electronic payments or print and mail checks for you. If you are not currently using electronic approvals and payments, check to see if your system offers this capability, as it may be there and just not configured.

AP management systems

If you are not satisfied with your financial institution’s offerings or your accounting system lacks these features, there are many AP/invoice management solutions in the market with varying capabilities. 

Some of the more robust solutions have invoice capture services, electronic routing/approval of invoices, and different payment options such as check printing/mailing, ACH payments and wires. Most of these solutions have prebuilt integrations with several different accounting systems to reduce manual effort and speed up processing. Some of the more widely used solutions include Concur, AvidXchange and Bill.com.

Keep the money moving

While we all would like to hang on to our cash in uncertain times, we certainly don’t want late fees to add up as we adjust to a remote workforce. The good news is that there are many options for you to deploy rather quickly, and the automation that you will gain in the process will be beneficial to your business long after the pandemic has ended.


Brent Neitz
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