From XU Magazine, 
Issue 30

Virtual payment runs. Are you using them yet?

How virtual payment runs have the tables turning for bookkeepers and SMEs

Virtual payment runs make it easy for bookkeepers and accountants to offer payment services and collaborate with clients...
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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Change can be scary, and making business payments can sometimes be even scarier. What if you miskey something? What if I pay my staff late? Many things make payments risky, especially if you layer multiple people into the process. Fear not. There is nothing scary about virtual payment runs. 

The next step in digital accounting?

Yes, it brings change, but change is sometimes needed to improve. If you look back at the introduction of digital accounting, the dramatic impact on how we work today is clear. By making payment runs digital, you can easily collaborate with business owners and finance managers to ensure that payments are made quickly through automation, accurately through APIs and on time through scheduling. What’s even better, you can do all this without needing any bank access. This means finance professionals can assist without layering any risk or admin to the process.

Ok, cool. But what is a virtual payment run?

Virtual payment runs allow users to sync data (such as their Xero account) and quickly create a list of payments - outside a bank account. This payment run can be shared and collaborated on. For example, an external bookkeeper can do the books, create a run, and share this with a business owner. That business owner will then approve the run and, with one click, initiate payment from their existing business bank account. It’s a simple solution to save time and improve payment accuracy.

Time and accuracy. There has to be a better way?

When making payments of any kind, you need to dedicate time to ensure accuracy. If there are any mistakes, the fact of the matter is that it will cost you even more time and money, and that’s something scarce while running a fast-paced business. And let’s face it - no one actually enjoys going into the bank and making all these payments, do they? 

That’s what our clients tell us. They are either accountants whose clients are looking for help making payments or the SMEs themselves trying to find a better way. 

By adopting virtual payment runs, they have found just that. Luke Adler from Digi Accountancy said, “Tasks that were taking afternoons to complete are now done in less than 30 minutes”. Their client is delighted with the assistance they have been able to provide. By preparing virtual payment runs and sharing them with the client for initiation, they have offered an additional service and added value to their overall proposition. 

What set-up is required?

Comma uses Open Banking bulk payments meaning no virtual accounts need to be created. Users connect their existing business bank account, and these clever Open Banking APIs add a layer of functionality. This means that users can bulk pay a list of bills or payroll data with a click. Users log into their regular bank portal, using their standard bank account details and have all the existing regulations and security features. 

Why leave it there?

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