Though small-business accounting apps like Intuit’s extremely popular QuickBooks program automate your business bookkeeping, they don’t eliminate the paper shuffling. You still need to route bills manually to authorized employees for payment approval, and then file the documents supporting the payment.

That’s where CashView, a new electronic cash-management and document workflow service now in beta, can help. CashView makes it easier to manage the paper flow for payments and invoices. It keeps track of electronic documents such as bills, saving time and money and helping the business exercise better control over its cash flow. The beta version of CashView is free until the end of the year. Beginning in 2008, CashView will charge US$10 per month per user, plus $1 per payment transaction processed.

You can get new documents into CashView in any of three ways: scan hard copies and upload the files from your PC; e-mail files to your private CashView account, or fax the documents to CashView. You’ll need to set up a system for scanning paper invoices and converting them to a supported electronic format such as PDF or Microsoft Office 2007 to get them into CashView.

Once documents have entered the system, you can view them on the CashView Web site, add transaction details, and decide who should approve an individual transaction for payment. Then you can have CashView pay the bill for you. The company will electronically withdraw funds from your bank account, and then prepare and mail a check to pay the vendor.

Unfortunately, CashView can’t match the vendor name on a transaction with the same name in your records, nor can it calculate the total amount of payment–so you’ll have to enter that information yourself. CashView plans on adding a data-entry service in the future that will enter vendor and payment details.

CashView integrates directly with QuickBooks 2005 (and later editions) and with QuickBooks online, maintaining the details of all transactions. CashView retains all documents entered into it for seven years. If you use another accounting app, you can quickly enter a summarized total of the monthly transactions via a journal entry. CashView expects to offer better integration with other popular small-business accounting apps in a future release.

I like the upcoming payment calendar that CashView displays on its home page dashboard. However, the service does have limitations. Though the accounts payable service for paying your bills is fully functional, the accounts receivable service currently cannot collect money from your customers. That enhancement is planned for a future release. At present, you must enter payments yourself.

CashView is aimed at small to medium-size businesses of fewer than 500 employees. There’s nothing quite like it in its price range; indeed, most cash-flow management apps target large enterprises. The service will deliver its greatest value to QuickBook users that currently require at least three people–such as a bookkeeper, a bill approver, and a senior manager–to participate in its bill payment process. These businesses will find that CashView’s service amply repays its modest cost.

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