How many hours do you spend paying your bills each week? Do you write cheques? Or ring up each supplier and give them your credit card details? Or pay by BPay/direct debit and/or direct credit? What would you say if I could give you a solution that would cut hours off paying your bills?
Bill payments have progressed rapidly over the last 16 years since I started my bookkeeping business. When I first started we would write cheques or use cash to pay bills. Wages were the same either cash or cheques. Then paying by credit card became popular, this involved ringing up the supplier and giving your credit card details over the phone. Or on payday we would go to the bank and physically put the money in our staff member’s bank accounts.
Then internet banking was introduced to us all and most businesses jumped online and started paying their suppliers and staff via Electronic Funds Transfer on their internet banking. But is this any faster than writing a cheque and posting it? Most of us will log into the bank, load up a bill for payment and either write on the bill when and how it was paid plus reference numbers, or we will press print and print the receipt from the bank, then staple it to the bill before filing.
What if I told you that there was such a thing as bulk payments on your internet banking and bulk payments can take you between 5 and 15 minutes instead of it taking 30 to 90 minutes for the same number of bills if you loaded them individually? Bulk payments have been around for quite a few years now, but it seems that only the ‘larger’ business is using them. A lot of small to medium businesses seem to think that they are not ‘big enough’ to do bulk payments. But if by doing your bill payments by bulk payments could save you up to 75 minutes, isn’t it worth giving it a go?
There are two types of bulk payments, one where you load up what is called an ABA file and the other way is through some banks internet banking, where you can load up multiple people to be paid at the one time. I personally prefer the one where you just load an ABA file, but the multiple payment is also better than loading payments individually. Once you know how to create an ABA file in your accounting program, the process is all really simple.
I started one of my smaller clients on bulk payments this week, we did it for her payroll (she has 15 staff members). Once I have processed pays for her it usually takes her between 30 and 45 minutes to load all the pays individually through electronic fund transfer, depending on how many phone calls she has while doing this. This week I processed the pays, created the aba file, she jumped on the computer, logged into the bank, went to the bulk payments section and loaded the aba file, entered her password and pays were done. It took her 5 minutes (she said 30 seconds to load the file, but I am talking the total time to log in load and print receipt), that is a minimum of a 25 minute saving. We were talking the next day and she said that it was ‘totally awesome and the only thing that she was worried about is did the bank distribute the payment to the correct bank accounts’. She couldn’t believe it was so fast and so easy.
I would encourage you all to start creating ABA files and using bulk payments through your bank as soon as you can.
Question: Have you heard of bulk payments? Do you use them? What do you think of them?