In the six years she’s been working as a bookkeeper at Books To Go, Jessica Glenn has helped more clients straighten out their books than she can count.
Located in the Portland, OR metro area, Books To Go specializes in providing bookkeeping services for businesses, many of whom have hit a wall trying to do their own accounting.
"We don’t have a specific industry, but we do have an ideal client: someone who wants a better understanding of their books. They usually have things going to wrong GL accounts and their payroll's mapped all wacky."
"So we run a good balance sheet and a good P&L for them, and they go, ‘Okay, that makes more sense. That's about where I thought I was."
For a long time, the firm used Receipt Bank to transcribe receipts and invoices they received on behalf of customers. A few years later, they added Bill.com to their suite of software tools to help their clients manage their Accounts Payable more efficiently.
For Jessica, her AP headaches started when Bill.com didn’t sync correctly with QuickBooks.
Every time I exported to QuickBooks we had an issue. We would push invoices into Bill.com to gain approval, but then we’d have to hand-enter it into QuickBooks.
"We tried the other way as well: push it into QuickBooks from Receipt Bank, download it, and upload it into Bill.com. Even then, we were only using it for approvals."
And her problems didn’t end there. Jessica also didn’t appreciate the way Bill.com charged for bill payment.
"We felt Bill.com was always nickel-and-diming our clients. They charge per transaction and ACH, and they take funds when you initiate payment. And it wasn't as slick as they said it would be."
What finally sent them toward another solution, however, was how Bill.com reacted to some of the firm’s clients.
“The final straw came when we put about eight cannabis locations on Bill.com. They wouldn’t work with us on those accounts. That was a deal-breaker for us.”
Bill.com wasn’t worth it anymore for Jessica and her team. They were manually entering invoices due to the QuickBooks sync issues. They were paying bills directly out of their accounting software to avoid the high (and unpredictable) transaction fees. And they were sent to take their business elsewhere by Bill.com’s policy on cannabis retail.
That’s when they were introduced to Plate IQ.
Not only did Plate IQ transcribe invoices in greater detail than Bill.com — at the line level instead of only header information — but all of Books To Go’s clients were welcome on the platform.
"As soon as I found out Plate IQ works with cannabis, it was a win. Some of these clients don't have bank accounts yet, but it was no problem for Plate IQ."
Right away, Jessica started spending less time typing invoices into her accounting software.
"Plate IQ’s integration with QuickBooks actually works,” says Jessica. "It syncs instantly. I'm not spending the hours that I did with Bill.com on sync issues"
The workflow for clients who needed to approve their invoices got much easier. Once invoices flowed seamlessly into Plate IQ, all they would do was log in, approve any invoices in the queue, and let the Books To Go team take care of bill payment.
Not only did Plate IQ transcribe invoices in greater detail than Bill.com — at the line level instead of only header information — but Books To Go enjoyed a flat monthly fee for Plate IQ’s Bill Pay feature.
"We like that Plate IQ charges the same for Bill Pay every month. We're not getting charged $1.50 for every check or ACH that goes out."
Jessica also liked that Plate IQ’s Bill Pay favors clients who want more control over their cash flow.
"Bill.com always took funds when we initiated payment," Jessica reports.
We love Plate IQ because you don't take the money out of the client's account until the check clears the bank, which helps the restaurants — especially right now, with their cash flow issues.
Since Plate IQ’s rollout, Jessica started spending less time typing invoices into her accounting software and more time helping hundreds of clients keep better track of their numbers, organize their finances, and streamline their businesses towards growth.
We've really, really seen the time savings. We job-cost our time at Books To Go. And we have seen the time spent on payables drop considerably in the last couple of months. Our time with each client just gets more efficient.
Books To Go uses Plate IQ’s Bill Pay feature to schedule check runs for any vendors that don’t accept the firm’s Capital One card.
Plate IQ checks are cash flow-friendly, and according to Jessica, "really easy to set up."
With Plate IQ, Books To Go was able to set up sophisticated automation that routes invoices to the right accounts with minimal human intervention.
"We make email rules. So if it's a bill from waste management, and it mentions one particular store name, it gets sent to that Plate IQ address. We don't even touch it. Now sometimes we have vendors who still send in bills to the wrong email address. So we’ll just grab that bill, put it into Plate IQ, and contact the vendor to tell them to send future bills to the account-specific email address. We’ve been working on this for the last few months — and it’s so slick!"
The biggest source of time savings, according to Jessica, is the fact that Plate IQ pushes bills into QuickBooks and attaches the image.
It's accurate, because your AI is already reading it. We occasionally check on it just to make sure that it is in the correct location, but then it's just done until it's ready to be paid.
"I would say that saves us about 20 minutes a day for each of 4 big customers alone. So that’s about an hour and a half per day on that account alone" — 390 hours annually — "from not having to download, forward, or enter stuff."
As a team dedicated to helping customers understand their books better, Books To Go looks forward to using more of the granular data available with Plate IQ. They’re investing in analytics software and working to get their customers to crave a deeper dive into their books.
"It’s a matter of balancing what the customer wants to know with the speed they want the work done at."
For now, they’ve already gotten speedier with Plate IQ.
At this point, if we’re doing a client’s payables, we just tell them that this is what we use and wrap the Plate IQ cost into our fee. It’s worth it for all of us. The customers see it too.