Given the relative lack of cash management innovation for businesses, there's a burgeoning tech war among payments firms that are selling automated views of current and future cash positions in an attempt to win white label partnerships with banks or contracts with new business clients.
One such firm, Bill.com, has been plying fresh venture capital to build out a command center that melds a company's bills — both those that need to be paid and the bills that are owed to the company by suppliers — into a single dashboard that's designed to give the company a view into cash flowing in and out of the treasury. In a new update, the firm is adding a graphical view of pending future cash flow, enabling clients to change payment scheduling to improve cash position over time.
The new feature is called CashView and it provides a snapshot of due bills and pending payments up to six weeks out, along with on-screen functional links that allow businesses to respond to future cash positions.
"What we didn't have [before the new update] was a visual representation that lets you see cash flow going up and down over time and the ability to add forecasting," says Rene Lacerte, founder and CEO of Bill.com.
Bill.com accomplishes this by using data from the client's accounts payable and accounts receivable systems, along with other information such as due dates, to preview forward-looking scenarios based on "what if" scenarios. Bill.com links directly to the client's financial sources, such as accounting systems, and populates its dashboard automatically. Users can drill into invoices, bills, contracts, and notes while forecasting cash, enabling adjustments and modeling in real-time.
For example, a business executive can view a graph with a line that meanders up and down based on outgoing payments and incoming invoices. If the cash flow at a certain point gets to be near or below zero, the user can link to functions that can change payment dates to "level out" cash flow. "It's a way to find out whom you can pay later and whom you can collect from and when," Lacerte says.
Bill.com says the engine does not manage payment risk to the degree that it predicts suppliers that are unlikely to pay, but it can be used to anticipate when a party will pay based on past performance.
Bill.com's competitors in the space include PaySimple, Taulia and the large core vendors. A spokesperson for rival PaySimple said the firm provides tools to automate the activities needed to mange a full receivables cycle, including payment processing, customer communication and reminders, invoicing, tracking and reporting, and deposits.
PaySimple's forecasting dashboard lets clients know how much, when and by whom invoices are outstanding, overdue or paid. Businesses can also learn if a client's credit card is about to expire and schedule one-time or recurring future payments in a way that's preferable to the client.