Your Accounts Payable is a record of the money you owe to others (money leaving your business), typically the bills you receive or the companies you pay. The Accounts Payable is important to manage to assure you are paying bills in appropriate timeframes to both satisfy your payment obligations and maintain a healthy cash balance.
Best Practice Suggestion:Your business health thrives on cash flow. Managing your Accounts Payable is critical to maintaining a positive cash flow. Knowing your available cash (money in the bank) and your incoming cash (Accounts Receivable) can help you time the payment of bills. So, as you make decisions about which bills to pay, and when, pay attention to your existing and incoming cash to help maintain a healthy, positive cash flow for your business.
The primary features of the Accounts Payable interface are entering expenses into bills, monitoring those bills, approving bills, and paying bills. SQUAVA provides you live access to a cash flow graph showing your available cash along with your Accounts Receivable and aging information to better help you determine payment timeframes to more easily manage your cash flow. As you schedule payments, you can see the effects of those decisions on your cash - it’s pretty amazing!
This article outlines the process of managing your bills and payments.
- Access your Accounts Payable
- Accounts Payable Interface
- Entering Expenses - Creating Bills
- Approving Bills
- Pay Bills & Print Checks
1. How to access your Accounts Payable
To access/review your Accounts Payable, click on the 'Financial' tab then on the 'Accounts Payable sub-tab
2. Accounts Payable Interface
The Accounts Payable Interface has two main parts - the Widgets and the list of Bills.
Your Accounts Payable dashboard provides important information focused on helping you to move bills and expenses through the payment process. The dashboard illustrates the workflow of a bill from creation through payment.
This workflow of a bill through SQUAVA goes as follows:
- Enter a new bill with one or more expenses
- Review and approve bills for payment
- Pay bill / print check(s)
- See and monitor cash flow and timing of bill payment(s)
By clicking on each widget, you will see specific information related to each one.
- Clicking ‘Enter Bill’ will open the interface to enter a bill… as you might expect.
- Clicking ‘Pending Approval’ will quickly filter your bills by the ones in this category.
- Clicking the ‘On Hold’ tab under the ‘Pending Approval’ (if shown) will quickly show you the bills you have On-Hold.
- Clicking “Ready to Pay’ will quickly filter your bills by the ones in this category.
- Clicking on the ‘Cash Flow’ widget will open a more detailed view of your cash flow and Accounts Receivable.
The ‘Pending Approval’ and ‘Ready to Pay’ widgets break down the amounts in these categories based on the proximity of the bill’s due date to help you focus on bills that may need more immediate attention.
The Cash Flow diagram will show you how the timing of your bills will affect your cash over time. The widget also shows your current cash and Accounts Receivable balance. The “Cash” balance is populated from the Bank Register and represents the amount of cash in your bank accounts. The A/R balance is populated from your Accounts Receivable and represents the amount of money owed to your business. Clicking on the widget will open a more detailed view of the cash flow widget and break out the Accounts Receivable into aging periods.
The Bill table below the widgets contains, by default, the active bills (all bills not yet marked as paid) in SQUAVA. Important bill details are shown in the table along with access to change pay dates, add comments, or take additional action on a bill.
Actions can be performed with the button or drop-down selector on the far right. Bulk actions can be performed by first selecting (‘checking’) one or more bills which will activate (the button will turn green) the ‘Actions’ button on the top left of the table.
The list of bills can be quickly searched using the search bar on the top right corner of the list. Additional filters are available by clicking the ‘Filters’ button next to the search bar.
Note: To see or search paid bills, use the filter and select paid bills as shown below.
3. Entering Expenses - Creating Bills
Expenses are entered into SQUAVA as bills. Expenses are grouped into bills for specific vendors (individuals or businesses you pay for goods or services). Expenses typically fall into two categories:
1.) Expenses attributable to and reimbursed by projects or clients (direct, or pass-through expenses). These are typically received as an invoice from a sub-consultant or other vendor or as a reimbursable expense to an employee.
Note: For an expense to show up on an invoice, that expense must be assigned to a project with ‘Bill’ checked.
2.) Expenses to company overhead, or General & Administrative Expenses. These are expenses from vendors or employees that are borne by the company to perform their business. Examples include items like rent, office supplies, computer equipment, insurance, professional services, etc.
Expenses or Bills are added to SQUAVA in two ways.
- Bills are created manually.
- Bills are created automatically as employees enter and submit expenses for reimbursement.
Create a Bill
To enter an expense or create a bill manually, click + Enter Bill. This will open the window below to collect information about the bill and any expenses associated with that bill. This could be a single expense or multiple ones.
First, enter the bill details in the top section. The red boxes indicate required fields, so select a vendor, enter a bill date and select a due date. The Pay Date will auto-fill a date 7 days before the due date. You can change the pay date as desired.
- Payment terms for the bill can be defined with the Terms drop-down. The ‘Pay When Paid’ option is helpful to manage bills contingent on payment receipt from a client. For example, if you receive a bill from a sub-consultant that will not be paid until the invoice on which the bill is included is paid, you can select ‘Pay When Paid’ and SQUAVA will mark this bill ‘On Hold’ until the assigned invoice is paid. At which time, SQUAVA will remove the hold status and place the bill in the Pending Approval stage to help automate this process.
Second, add the expenses associated with this bill. For example, you might only have one expense from a sub-consultant invoice or several expenses from an invoice for office equipment that needs separate account attribution. If the expense is a project reimbursable, select the job and make sure ‘Bill’ is checked. If you select a job to bill the expense, SQUAVA will select the account ‘Reimbursed Expenses’. Several of the fields are required and indicated with red once you start entering data.
Note: The Account field is required to approve a bill for payment. SQUAVA will allow you to save a bill without a specified account and will assign it to a temporary ‘unassigned’ account to not impede workflow. However, it is preferable to enter the desired account number when entering a bill.
If your bill will be paid with several payments, those payments and dates can be added to the Scheduled Payments section for future reference.
Any payments to a bill will be displayed in the Payment History section.
Once the bill details and expenses are added, either click ‘Save’ or ‘Approve’ depending on your desired action.
As employees enter and submit reimbursable expenses, bills are automatically created in SQUAVA.
To review how employees enter expenses, please refer to the following Article - Entering Reimbursable Expenses https://support.squava.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000778167-Entering-Your-Expenses
As an employee submits expenses, those expenses are automatically added to a bill. Cool right…! You are able to see inside the bill details if the employee has additional expenses that have not been submitted.
If you need to remove one or more expenses from a user-submitted bill, click the ‘x’ to the far right or use the bulk action feature. You will be prompted with several options allowing you to:
- Reject the expense with a message which will return the expense to the user's expense view with a message as to why it was returned.
- Just delete the expense. This action will completely remove the expense from SQUAVA. Use with caution.
- Move the expense to another bill. For example, you might want to postpone payment of a particular expense or include it with another bill. This option will allow you to make that change. If no other bill for the vendor is in the system, SQUAVA will create a new bill.
Note: SQUAVA will only allow two ‘Automatic Bills’ to be open with the status ‘Pending Approval’ to keep it simple. If you decide to move an expense a second time, it will move it to the other open ‘Pending Approval’ bill or create a second one if one doesn’t exist.
If the employee submitted expenses to an overhead account (to a General and Administrative Overhead Category), those expenses will be initially assigned to the ‘unassigned’ account in the bill.
They will need to be assigned to an account before the bill can be approved and paid.
4. Approving Bills
Once a bill is created in SQUAVA, it is assigned the ‘Pending Approval’ stage. Depending on your inputs, the bill may be placed ‘On Hold’ within this stage. These stages allow multiple users to monitor the progress of bills and take focused action.
To approve a bill, use the Action button on the far right of the bill details or use the bulk action feature to approve multiple bills. Reminder - to be approved, all a bill’s expenses must be assigned to an account.
Example: An administrator may be responsible for entering bills into SQUAVA and it might be the responsibility of a manager or owner to approve bills and suggest payment timing. In SQUAVA, the manager/owner can see which bills are coming due and need approval and can quickly review the business cash flow and take action to move these bills forward in the process. The administrator can then monitor the Ready to Pay bills and print checks as necessary to complete the billing process. This whole process can seamlessly proceed here in the Accounts Payable interface without needing additional reports to know bank balances or understand A/R (Accounts Receivable).
5. Pay Bills
The last step of the billing process is to pay a bill and potentially print a check if necessary. You can mark a bill as paid without printing a check and tie that bill to a bank register transaction in the Bank Register interface. To just mark a bill as paid, select the action button drop-down for one or more bills and select ‘Paid’.
You will see a popover that allows you to enter a date, enter an amount, select a bank and optionally enter a check number and memo for the payment. By default, all payments will be placed in the Unassigned Bank account until you either select a bank from here or assign these payments to your bank from the bank register.
If you complete the Pay Bills process by printing a check, SQUAVA will automatically add that check to the Bank Register and associate it with the bill paid.
To learn or review how to print checks, see our Help Article: Printing Checks for more information.
You have successfully learned how to manage your Accounts Payable! If you have other questions related to your Accounts Payable, see the other articles in our Accounting 101 section. Can't find what you're looking for? Try the main knowledge base search at https://support.squava.com. If you’re still unable to find what you're looking for, give us a call, submit a request ticket, or send us a chat message.