Spend Management FAQs
SPEND MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW
What is spend management?
Modern spend management is defined as setting enforceable budgets, managing company expenses in real-time, controlling spend, and seeing cash flows in one central location.
Spend management is viewed by finance leaders as the future of expense management. It’s a more proactive, strategic sourcing of company funds because it brings all spending into one place for smarter decision-making, compared to expense management which has been historically decentralized by department.
Why should I consider an expense management platform with budgeting features?
Managing business expenses requires meticulous tracking and controls. Old financial processes depend on physical expense reports to see where each employee has spent company money; this framework leaves your company with data that is days—if not months—behind. Expense management software that instantly syncs with budgets gives you real-time visibility into financial data and lets you control employee spend, so you never go over budget again.
Why are budgeting features an important part of spend management?
Managing business expenses requires meticulous tracking and controls. Old financial processes depend on physical expense reports to see where each employee has spent company money; this framework leaves companies with data that is days—if not months—behind. Expense management software that instantly syncs with budgets gives companies real-time visibility into financial data and lets them control employee spend, so they never go over budget again.
How can the right budgeting system help my clients?
By finding the right budgeting system, you can prevent employees from overspending. Imagine what could be possible if you could create and enforce budgets, track employee spending in real-time, and make strategic decisions based on the right data.
THE BILL ACCOUNTANT PARTNER PROGRAM
What is the BILL Accountant Partner Program?
BILL is the preferred spend management tool of CPA.com. The BILL Accountant Partner Program has recently expanded to offer even more value to your firm and clients. Firms participating in the program now have access to an integrated financial platform and can choose between three distinct products to partner with. Exclusive benefits for firms are a cornerstone of this program, providing new opportunities for growth and client engagement. For the most up-to-date details, please reference www.cpa.com/bill.
Who can join the BILL Accountant Partner Program?
To join the BILL Accountant Partner Partner Program, the company must be a finance-related partner, such as a bookkeeping firm, CPA, outsourced CFO, or accounting firm.
Who can accounting firms offer this program to?
The BILL Accountant Partner Program partners are encouraged to share the solution with any of their clients or business connections with whom they have close relationships. Learn more about how to price, position and productize spend management services in our blog.
What contracts and costs are there to participate in the BILL Accountant Partner Program?
There are no costs for your firm to participate in this program. The BILL Spend & Expense product within the partner program is free to use for your firm and clients with no upsells.
What benefits do I receive as a BILL Accountant Partner Program member?
The BILL Accountant Partner Program, in partnership with CPA.com, offers many benefits to your firm and your clients.
Benefits for your firm include:
- Dedicated account manager to assist you and your clients
- Rich educational content and programs from CPA.com on spend management and building next-generation CAS practices
- Co-marketing opportunities for your firm
- And more.
Learn more about the many efficiencies firms get when offering spend management services and technology to clients in our blog.
Benefits for your firm include:
- Free corporate cards and spend & expense management software
- Automation of expense reports
- Real-time visibility and insight into business spend
- Ability to control budgets and spending activity
- Enhanced rewards
Learn more or join the program today!
Do I need to be an AICPA member to join the BILL Accountant Partner Program?
No. The BILL Accountant Partner Program in partnership with CPA.com is open to all client advisory services (CAS) providers, BPO, and CPA firms regardless of their AICPA member status.
Do I have to use all three products to join the BILL Accountant Partner Program?
No. When you partner with BILL, you have the option to enroll in specific product categories: Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Spend & Expense or all three. Unique benefits are offered for each product category.
Does my firm need to use BILL Spend & Expense to refer it to our clients?
Although it is highly encouraged, your firm does not need to actively use BILL Spend & Expense to refer your clients.
How can our accounting firm apply for BILL Spend & Expense corporate cards?
The corporate card application process starts by joining the BILL Accountant Partner Program and selecting the BILL Spend & Expense product. Click here to start the application process.
OFFERING SPEND MANAGEMENT ADVISORY SERVICES
What are spend management advisory services?
As a service offering within a firm’s client advisory services (CAS) practice, spend management advisory services streamline clients' back-office expense operations, such as budgeting, expense reporting, and forecasting, so the firm can devote more time to offering clients higher-value strategic insights. There is a growing demand among SMBs for spend and expense management. Read CPA.com’s survey of over 1,000 SMBs and firms survey to learn more.
How are CAS firms offering spend management advisory services to their clients?
Each client is different, so first it’s important to understand their needs and goals. One pricing model that has proven highly profitable for firms is offering a monthly subscription-based model. Whether a client needs traditional accounting services or a virtual CFO service, subscriptions allow firms to lock in better margins. For more information see our guide - 5 Steps to Spend Management Advisory.
Where can I learn more about offering spend management advisory services?
Click here to access webinars, whitepapers, blogs, and other helpful resources to guide you on your spend management journey.
What are “verticals?” Can you please explain?
Verticals, or client niches, refer to different industry groupings, for example construction vs. community-based grant organizations vs. manufacturing. Verticals can also encompass different types of organizations with a specific industry. In construction, for example, there could be residential, commercial, and civil construction. Finding a vertical focus or “niche” is recommended to scale your CAS practice and can often be beneficial for accounting firms. Learn more about the benefits of a vertical focus in our blog or watch our webinar.
Is it ever appropriate to NOT undertake a vertical?
Even if your accounting firm currently doesn’t have an active niche vertical you are focused on, it’s always a good idea to establish one or more niches if growth is your goal. You can decide not to pursue one or more niches, but you’ll attract a higher quantity and quality of clientele for that niche.
Are there situations when spend management services may not be appropriate for an accounting firm?
While you may think spend management services are not a necessary addition to your firm's offerings, the reality is that there is almost always a use case for these services. Spend management addresses a range of client pain points, such as controlling costs, optimizing cash flow, and ensuring compliance, making it a versatile and valuable service that can benefit virtually any small or medium-sized business. Therefore, regardless of your firm's current client mix or strategic goals, adding spend management services can complement and enhance your existing service lineup, adding value both for your clients and your firm.
When should spend management services be discussed with current clients?
The best time to mention spend management services to clients is when you’re in a conversation about cash flow and expenses. When a client expresses frustration with any part of their current cash flow,expense management process, lack of control of employee spend and limited visibility into their financial standing, you can introduce the spend management services you provide.
What questions should I ask current or new clients about spend management?
Here are some questions to jump start a spend management conversation with clients:
- Does your organization’s spending regularly exceed allotted budgets?
- Are you seeking more control and visibility into organizational expenses on a monthly/weekly basis?
- Are you satisfied with the way company expenses are categorized and reported on?
- Does your company spend more on credit cards? Or do you pay via check and ACH?
- Have you had an issue with managing subscriptions or regular monthly spend?
- Are you experiencing fraudulent spend within your company?
What if my clients do not operate with budgets?
That’s okay…having a client that doesn’t have a budget is an opportunity to recommend spend management services and outline the financial benefits, efficiencies and spend control this services area provides.
How does my firm identify the right clients for spend management services?
There are several ways you can identify the ideal clients for your advisory practice’s spend management services:
- Current clients: The next time you have a conversation with a current client, ask them if they’re happy with how they’re tracking and recording expenses. More often than not the client will express some type of frustration, which is your opportunity to explain spend management services. Also ask, how much time are internal staff spending chasing receipts and completing expense reports? More likely than not, it’s a lot!
- New clients: Any new client your firm starts working with regardless of specialty area (i.e. assurance, tax, advisory, etc.) should go through an onboarding process where the client is asked about their current spend and expense management practices.This is a great time to share your firm's preferred tech stack and why it’s important to utilize technology.
- By vertical: Specializing in a niche will help your firm to attract more clients that need help with spend management. Currently, spend management services are very popular among a variety of verticals, having the ability to customize budgets, complicated coding categories, and setting specific spend controls.
How does BILL Spend & Expense work?
The BILL Spend & Expense software syncs automatically with employee credit cards. Stop overspending and get real-time visibility into spend by department, team, project, or individual budget.
Each employee is eligible to receive a BILL Divvy card, with virtual cards available to make payments even easier and more secure. Pre-defined budgets in the platform allow for more intuitive and detailed spend control. Mobile reminders are also sent when a transaction occurs, so there’s no more hunting down receipts. One of the best parts—no more expense reports! You can see a demo of the BILL Spend & Expense solution here.
How do you monitor the expenses of employees?
BILL Spend & Expense provides you with a full-featured dashboard to show you every transaction that takes place on client company cards.
How much does it cost to use BILL Spend & Expense?
No cost—it’s free! With BILL Spend & Expense, you’ll have unlimited access to manage budgets, control spend, track expenses, and more all in one centralized dashboard.
Isn’t BILL Spend & Expense a debit card essentially?
No, it is a true corporate card that replaces traditional business cards. Card holders can earn rewards and take advantage of flexible redemption options such as cash back, gift cards, statement credit and travel. Card holders can also use BILL to build credit history and increase the businesses’ credit score.
Can you integrate your corporate card (AMEX, Mastercard, etc.) with the BILL Spend & Expense solution?
BILL Spend & Expense software directly pairs with the BILL Divvy card to take control of spending. As such, the platform cannot be used with other corporate cards at this time.
Can BILL Spend & Expense help with expense reimbursements for employees?
BILL Spend & Expense eliminates the need for a company to reimburse employees for expenses paid out of their own pocket by issuing corporate cards to specified employees. A pre-approved spending limit can be assigned to each card and adjusted at any time. The spending activity on these cards can be monitored in real time using the BILL Spend & Expense platform. Accounting firms can use the BILL Spend & Expense integrated platform to help business clients set budgets, track spend, and improve the accuracy of expense and cash forecasts. BILL Spend & Expense gives you the ability to submit reimbursements for non-card transactions or mileage directly on the platform and app.
Does BILL Spend & Expense require the use of corporate cards?
At this time, BILL Spend & Expense corporate cards must be used while using its integrated spend management platform.
I understand that BILL Spend & Expense is free to use, but how does it make a profit? Are there any fees that accounting firms would incur?
The BILL Spend & Expense software and technology platform is free for both accounting firms and their clients! BILL Spend & Expense makes money by keeping a percentage of its exchange fees for all corporate cards used.
Is there an approved vendor list? Is a passcode available in the event a phone or other mobile device is lost?
There is not an approved vendor list, but you can create your own vendor list specifically for your clients after your BILL Spend & Expense account is up and running. A username and password are used to log in to the app. Face ID is also available, so if a mobile device is lost, no one else would be able to log on to your BILL Spend & Expense account.
Does the BILL Spend & Expense corporate card offer loyalty rewards?
Yes! The BILL Divvy card offers a competitive rewards program that will challenge your favorite corporate card. Click here to learn more about available rewards for using BILL Spend & Expense corporate cards.
Is BILL Spend & Expense primarily used for managing existing credit card accounts?
BILL Spend & Expense is best used to replace existing corporate card spend and any other spending a company incurs or that needs to be reimbursed to an employee.
How does BILL Spend & Expense tie into my accounting software?
BILL Spend & Expense software can be integrated with top ERPs and accounting software, including QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online, Sage Intacct & Netsuite. A complete list of integrations is available on bill.com.
How does BILL Spend & Expense link to QuickBooks online?
An entire chart of accounts can be pulled and mapped with BILL Spend & Expense. An automated daily sync can also be scheduled so every transaction can sync with the QuickBooks online general ledger after the transaction has been reviewed and approved.
Does BILL Spend & Expense integrate with Sage 50?
BILL Spend & Expense currently only integrates with Sage Intacct. With Sage 50, you can export transactions via a .csv file, then upload these transactions into Sage 50.
When will BILL Spend & Expense integrate with Xero?
The BILL Spend & Expense integration with Xero is scheduled for late 2023. In the meantime, you can export transactions via a .csv file, then upload these transactions into Xero.
How is BILL Spend & Expense different from Expensify?
BILL Spend & Expense is free to use, eliminates the need for expense reports and receipts and offers more control of spending with preset spending limits or budgets. Here’s a complete comparison of BILL Spend & Expense and Expensify.
Do we use our existing credit cards with BILL Spend & Expense, or would our business be issued new credit cards?
BILL Spend & Expense provides new credit cards for your business and employees to use, called the BILL Divvy card. These new cards feature built-in controls for every employee.
What is a virtual credit card?
A virtual card is a unique 16-digit card number that’s digitally-generated and tied to your clients BILL Divvy card account. Your clients can use a virtual card for online payments everywhere. This keeps the real card number protected, and gives you better control over spending and fraud.
How does BILL Spend & Expense limit virtual cards to a specific vendor?
BILL Spend & Expense credit cards use merchant category code blocking which enables you to only allow a specific type of merchant or vendor to charge that particular BILL Spend & Expense corporate card.
What if my clients and their employees have objections about giving up credit card points?
As your clients’ trusted advisor, you are in a unique position to provide a solution where they can have it all - control over spend, enhanced cash flow management, budget visibility and increased efficiency. Learn how to help your clients see the ROI on effective spend management in our webinar, How to go beyond credit card points to revolutionize client ROI.
With BILL Spend & Expense, clients are potentially managing multiple cards for multiple employees and multiple vendors. This seems like it could be time consuming?
Running a business with multiple employees and multiple credit cards can sometimes be a challenge to juggle. What’s really time consuming is trying to manage multiple cards for multiple employees and multiple vendors without BILL Spend & Expense, using a manual expense reporting process. BILL Spend & Expense automates expense reporting and will always save your client organizations a significant amount of time.
How do employees who use BILL corporate cards code their expenses when working with Sage Intacct, and when do expenses need department and class dimensions?
Here’s an article with details on how to integrate BILL Spend & Expense with Sage Intacct, including mapping to Department and Class fields.
I have a client that operates in multiple countries. Can they still use BILL Spend & Expense?
BILL Spend & Expense is available to companies that use a U.S. bank account and have a U.S. EIN. International companies may sign up if at least one owner is a U.S. citizen or resident, and that owner has an ownership stake of 25% or greater.
What are BILL Spend & Expense internal controls for an employee that has more than one budget to spend from?
This employee can see which budget each card is connected to on the BILL Spend & Expense mobile app. It’s easy to switch between multiple budgets as needed. If an employee accidentally spends using the wrong budget, the employee can transfer the transaction to the correct budget after the transaction has initially been processed.
For a nonprofit organization, does an employee need to have the BILL Spend & Expense account set up in conjunction with their personal credit history?
The credit would run against the business or nonprofit, not the individual.
Is the BILL Divvy card for credit card purchases only or is it for all spending types in a company?
BILL Spend & Expense helps with all expense transactions that can be put on a physical or virtual credit card within a client’s company.
How does BILL Spend & Expense know which account to charge?
Using AI, BILL Spend & Expense software recognizes a transaction’s vendor and suggests the proper coding. The employee still has the opportunity to edit the app’s suggestion before finalizing the transaction.
How does the BILL Spend & Expense solution deal with supervisor expense approval?
You are provided with the ability to set up custom approval flows in the application.
Can you access all receipts digitally on the BILL Spend & Expense dashboard?
Yes! All receipts are accessible digitally in real-time.
Will BILL Spend & Expense replace the need to have physical receipts as documentation?
The IRS generally requires receipts for expenditures above $75. But modern spend management with BILL Spend & Expense facilitates that by allowing the spender to attach the receipt at the time of the purchase in the app.
How do firms handle the oversight of ensuring receipts are attached to expenses?
All receipts are captured within BILL Spend & Expense and are available for easy review by a manager. Our software AI will also scan receipts for you and can identify that amounts are matching. Once a purchase is made with a corporate card, employees will receive automatic reminders to photograph and attach a receipt.
How do you control employee spend on specific categories such as food or alcohol?
Your account administrator will have the ability to limit spending on specific merchant categories and codes that are built into the BILL Spend & Expense platform.
What happens when you set a spend cap and the employee tries to exceed it?
The card will simply decline and notify the manager. Employees cannot overspend their budget. If the employee needs additional funds, a simple request can be sent via the app.
How does BILL Spend & Expense automate the expense coding?
BILL Spend & Expense has a few ways of doing this: companies can create rules that categorize certain merchants in a specific way. Secondly, the software AI can learn how you categorize and suggest them to you automatically.
How do employees document the reason for a charge?
BILL Spend & Expense includes an input field where required notes must be added by the employee when making a purchase.
Does BILL Spend & Expense encourage the card user to categorize the swiped charge in a timely fashion?
Your account administrator can simply remind employees to categorize an expenditure via the BILL Spend & Expense app in real-time. If they still don't comply, you can turn off their card or remove funds.
Does BILL Spend & Expense provide enough documentation to satisfy the requirements of the IRS?
Yes. BILL Spend & Expense is confident in its ability to provide proper documentation to satisfy the requirements of the IRS.
How does BILL Spend & Expense categorize expenditures requiring job costing for expense categories?
BILL Spend & Expense provides you with the ability to input custom fields on expenditures and ties them directly to your accounting system with our numerous industry integrations. We recommend you work with your BILL partner manager to set up the platform that best fits your needs.
How does BILL Spend & Expense handle expense items such as vehicle mileage reimbursement?
BILL Spend & Expense gives you the ability to submit reimbursements for non-card transactions or mileage directly on the platform and app.
Does Visa issue the 1099-K (form that reports payments from payment apps) for BILL Spend & Expense corporate cards?
No, BILL Spend & Expense does not issue 1099s for credit card usage.
Are points tracked for distribution considered taxable income?
Taxable income is best discussed with a tax professional because it varies based on individual circumstances.
Do you have to pay foreign transaction fees when using BILL Spend & Expense?
Foreign Transaction fees are 1% if the transaction is run outside of the United States. Sometimes these transaction fees can be reimbursed but it will come at the cost of the rewards earned on those transactions.
DATA & SECURITY
What information does BILL Spend & Expense collect?
BILL Spend & Expense collects personal information when you use our products and services, including when you: browse billcom, apply for a charge card, create a BILL Spend & Expense account, use our iOS or Android mobile apps, make a purchase using your physical or virtual BILL Spend & Expense card, communicate with us (e.g. calling, chatting, or interacting with us, including Customer Experience or Sales interactions), and interact with us at a conference or event.
What information is collected when I apply for a line of credit with BILL Spend & Expense?
If you apply for a BILL Divvy card account, BILL needs to collect and process a certain amount of information about you, your business, and individuals associated with your business to comply with our legal and regulatory obligations and to address our fraud risks.
Identification information, including name, email address, telephone number, home street address, social security number or passport number, date of birth, business name, business address, business industry, business tax ID, and business revenue.
Banking Information, including your bank name, account holder name, account number, routing number, and bank address.
Device and Connection Information, including your IP address, geolocation data, browser type and version, operating system and other software installed on your device, unique device identifier and other technical identifiers, performance data, and error reports.
Usage Data, including features you used, settings you selected, your URL clickstream data (including date and time stamp and referring and exit pages), and pages you visited on the Service.
Where can I find BILL Spend & Expense privacy policies?
For further details on how we use the collected information, please visit our privacy page.
Do BILL Spend & Expense corporate cards offer fraud protection?
BILL Spend & Expense credit cards are backed by BILL’s partner bank, Cross River Bank. Since these cards are Visas and MasterCards, the BILL Divvy cards feature the same fraud protection as other cards affiliated with the Visa and MasterCard payment-processing network.
How does BILL Spend & Expense mitigate the risk of overspending or fraudulent spending?
The administrators of the platform can set individual budgets for each employee or account so they can’t go over the spend limit. If there are erroneous charges or an employee decides to go rogue, the admin can shut off the card within minutes.
What happens when an unauthorized purchase occurs?
When an unauthorized purchase occurs on the BILL Divvy-issued corporate card, the employee simply reimburses the company they work for.
Is BILL Spend & Expense able to flag purchases that seem odd or out of place?
Yes! You are encouraged to tailor your approval workflows to fit your business rules, and BILL’s AI can handle the rest for you.