Larger companies have now been able to fund invoices with Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers for many time. Their accounting systems create a record of the amounts to be paid and link this to a document containing the banking information for his or her suppliers. This file is sent to the business bank, which processes ACH payments overnight that can be found in the lender accounts of suppliers by the next morning. One problem: The suppliers haven’t any supporting detail for the payments with the exception of the name of the initiating party, which appears in the info transmitted by the bank. The result is really a callback to the company, requesting the detail so the supplier can properly post the receipt information in its accounting system. This extra contact essentially eliminates the full time saved by the originating company when it first put up the ACH payment system. Some companies have created a system that issues separate payment notifications by mail, but this extra system requires manual labor and results in supporting detail that arrives in the mail days later compared to the payment.

An excellent alternative for larger companies is the PayBase Electronically Sent Payment module, created by Bottomline Technologies ( This software could be linked through a custom interface to any existing accounting package. It generates standard files from accounting records that meet ACH transaction formatting standards, automatically transmits these details to the organization bank, and—the important thing part—automatically sends remittance details to the consumer by e-mail or fax. Given the slight delay in the transfer of ACH funds, which means that the remittance detail may actually arrive at the supplier ahead of the payment, thereby giving the supplier warning to test its bank take into account incoming funds the following morning. This application may be used not merely for payments to suppliers, but and also to employees for both payroll and expense reimbursements. However, that is an expensive software package that requires the construction of a customized interface between the software and a company’s existing accounting software package. The sum total price puts this best practice out of reach of most smaller companies.

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