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Five tips for invoice reconciliation while working remotely

Invoice reconciliation is a tedious but necessary task in your small business accounting process. Check out our tips to make this process move smoothly.

Now, more than ever, organizations of every size are realizing the importance of an invoice and payment process that’s web-based, trustworthy, and easy to use. These features make managing invoices remotely seamless rather than chaotic. Even if the switch to remote work is temporary for your organization, web-based reconciliation tools make it easier to work from different locations on different days. As you consider how to simplify your process with online invoice management, consider these five tips.

 

1. Research before you choose

 

Your organization size and needs will help determine which online system will be a good fit. An Amazon Business Line of Credit may make sense for small businesses, while larger organizations can leverage Amazon’s Pay by Invoice option. Both these services deliver detailed, item-level invoices that are accessible online, which makes it easy to reconcile with your accounting program or bank statements, no matter where you are. And invoice payment is flexible, with options for automated clearing house (ACH), wire transfers, and checks. As you research, look for an online solution that can:

  • Reconcile purchases.
  • Track spending.
  • Pay invoices.
  • Offer a high level of security.

 

2. Create a payment schedule

 

Transitioning from in-office to remote working can lead to communication issues for workers who are used to handing off assignments and paperwork face-to-face. When you introduce a new invoice tool, help your team create a schedule for managing payments, reducing the chance for missed or duplicate payments. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Assemble a list of your vendors.
  • Determine their preferred method of payment (e.g. check, wire transfer, online bill pay) and where/how to pay (e.g. vendor website, address to mail checks, routing numbers for wire transfers).
  • Note the payment terms of each vendor. For example, Amazon’s Pay by Invoice offers 30-day payment terms (longer pay terms are available with eligible Business Prime memberships) and the Amazon Business Line of Credit lets customers take advantage of 55-day payment terms.
  • Use the details you’ve gathered to review your outstanding invoices and set guidelines for your team on when (and how) to pay vendors.

 

3. Keep business and personal expenses separate

 

In smaller organizations and startups, there may be a temptation to “simplify” by using a personal credit or cash to pay for both personal and business charges. And when you’re working from home, it’s even easier to blur that line. But the time you think you’ve saved by skipping the business card is time you’ll lose when you have to untangle your personal and business charges on statements, online invoices, and receipts.

 

Choose a business credit card such as the Amazon Business American Express Card to keep expenses separate and leverage business-focused features like additional cards for employees, rewards, and extended payment terms on eligible purchases.

 

If your organization does a lot of purchasing on both Amazon Business and Amazon.com, consider an Amazon Business Line of Credit to tap into 55-day terms with no interest or annual fees.

 

Mixing business and personal expenses can have tax ramifications as well. For instance, some credit card fees and interest may be deductible for businesses; not so for individuals. Come tax time, figuring out that deduction will be much easier if all your business expenses are kept separate.

 

4. Track your unpaid invoices

 

Staying on top of what you owe is crucial to knowing how much you can spend. In addition to a payment schedule, keep a record of unpaid invoices and track which are coming due or are overdue. When you and your team are working from home, the days can blend into weeks before you’ve noticed. Invoice aging reports let you see when big outflows are coming, so they don’t sneak up on you. An accounts payable aging report is typically a spreadsheet that lists your vendors in one column, with additional columns allowing you to mark whether the invoice is current, 1-30 days past due, 31-60 days past due, 61-90 days past due, or 90+ days past due. (You may need different columns, depending on your vendors’ terms.)

 

If you use Amazon Pay by Invoice, you can simplify tracking and leverage built-in reporting to see a summary of your pending charges, credit memos, and any past due balances.

 

5. Follow up

 

Once you’ve designed a method of reconciling invoices that works for your organization, schedule built-in checkpoints with your team members.

  • When you begin your program: Familiarize your team with the payment schedule, AP aging report, and other relevant tools (such as the Pay by Invoice interface and any other bookkeeping software you’ve chosen).
  • At 15 days: Check in to see how the team is managing received invoices and resolve questions about the tools or process.
  • At the end of the first month: Review current invoices, touch base on payment dates, update the aging report. These should be part of your end-of-month bookkeeping tasks.
  • At the end of the first quarter: In addition to your monthly/quarterly tasks, evaluate the success of the first 90 days of the program, and make adjustments as needed. For example, perhaps your cashflow is experiencing a seasonal change and you need to adjust the payment schedule.

 

While transitioning from office to remote work isn’t always simple, streamlining your invoice reconciliation is essential to keeping your organization moving forward. Discover even more ways Amazon Business can help you reach your goals on the Payment Solutions page.

 

1.       National Small Business Association, 2019 Technology and Small Business Survey.

2.       Guyot, Katherine and Sawhill, Isabel V. “Telecommuting will likely continue long after the pandemic,” Brookings Institution, 4/6/20.

About the Author

Joy Garcia

About the Author

Joy Garcia

Joy leads marketing efforts for Amazon Business’s payment and lending solutions, globally. These payment products enable our business customers to shop on Amazon Business and supply the necessary tools and supplies to keep their businesses running.

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