Billing & Monetization

What Is An Automated Billing System?

September 23, 2020

Are you still using manual billing processes such as spreadsheets? If so, you know too well how these labor-intensive, tedious activities can result in errors. Errors that can affect your cash flow and ultimately your bottom line. Or, perhaps you’re using an automated billing system, but issues that your teams encounter makes you wonder – Should I have kept my manual processes in place?

Regardless of where you are on the modernization spectrum, you should understand what an automated billing system is, and why the right one matters. Before we delve into the advantages, let’s take a look at what an automated billing system really means.

What is an Automated Billing System?

Essentially, it’s a system that enables you to automate the routine, but quite often complex, billing functions. This can include invoicing, payment collection, provisioning, dunning, approvals, and customer-event triggers. The goal of an automated billing system is to deliver greater efficiencies by streamlining your billing processes, allowing you to save both time and money.

Since all automated billing systems aren’t the same, you need to ensure that the system you implement is right for your business and your unique processes. This leads us to the advantages of an automated billing system. To help you choose the right one, we’ve provided five common billing-related challenges, and how the right automated billing system can alleviate these issues.

Choosing the Right Automated Billing System

“Just surviving” in today’s fast-paced economy isn’t enough, you need to thrive. To do this, you need to ensure that you’re not spending endless cycles on billing processes that have become a hindrance to your business. Take a look at the following billing challenges, and ask yourself – Is this a recurring problem for me and my organization?

Challenge 1:

My system doesn’t allow me to quickly develop workflows that align to my business model.

Overcoming the challenge: Unfortunately, this is a common problem with rigid automated billing systems. At the core of virtually all of your automated billing processes is the workflow engine and workflow rules.

When your automated billing system’s workflow doesn’t allow you to configure rules to meet your business needs, you more often than not will be faced with more inefficiencies than efficiencies. The right automated billing system will give you the ability to quickly automate your billing processes, regardless of their complexities.

Workflow rules need to be flexible enough so that you can quickly  automate business processes to maximize productivity and minimize manual effort with simple point-and-click configuration.

Be sure the automated billing system you choose enables you to:

  • Create custom rules so that you can streamline all billing activities, from usage collection to mediation
  • Send invoices based on customer-centric cycles and settings
  • Process payments in real time
  • Track late payments and alert customers when delinquent
  • Implement automated retry logic for expired credit cards
  • Create automatic notifications when credit cards are declined
  • Create workflows for time-sensitive triggers, and automatically generate critical reports
  • Generate accurate financial reports, and push insights directly to dashboards

Challenge 2:

My finance teams are forced to use multiple systems and manual processes to report revenue, and comply with regional and international standards – putting our organization at risk for noncompliance.

Overcoming the challenge: Staying in compliance can quickly become unmanageable when using manual processes or legacy billing systems that require extensive coding. The solution is to implement a single system that can manage the entire quote-to-cash process, which will simplify the process.

To achieve full billing compliance, the automated billing system should be easily configurable, allowing you to align with your specific revenue recognition processes, recognize pricing models that follow GAAP principles, such as ASC 606 and IFRS 15, and ensure that you’re operating in compliance with the SOC 1 AND SOC 2 frameworks, PSD2, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and if you operate in the European Union the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Challenge 3:

The man-hours it takes to keep up with changing accounting and security compliance standards is taking a bite out of our profitability.

Overcoming the challenge: The regulatory landscape is constantly changing, and if you’re using an out-of-the-box billing solution or worse manual billing processes, you’ll always be at risk of becoming out of compliance.

To stay in sync with ongoing domestic and international changes to security and compliance standards, you need an automated billing system that enables you to quickly and effortlessly reconfigure billing processes and security protocols. Look for an automated billing system that has been designed from its inception to evolve with today’s ever-changing regulatory and security landscape.

Your automated billing system needs to minimize your risk by enabling you to:

  • Encrypt confidential data.
  • Securely collect, store, and handle financial information – without the need for considerable IT involvement.
  • Control user access and provide the ability to quickly make user access changes.
  • Rapidly reconfigure billing processes and security protocols

Challenge 4:

Revenue leakage is draining my profitability.

Overcoming the challenge: If you’re battling revenue leakage, you’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by MGI Research, 42% of respondents experience revenue leakage, and 30% indicated that billing issues are impacting their financial results.

To plug the leak, you need greater control over your collections processes. And that means focusing on leaks in your payment collections stream. However, if you’re still relying on manual processes to manage past due revenue and accounts at risk, or are losing track of aging balances, capturing your missing revenue will be fraught with time-consuming complications and missed opportunities.

With an automated billing system that streamlines your collections processes, you’re able to minimize revenue loss, reduce collection cycles, and improve cash flow. The right automated billing system should offer the ability to conform to your business’ specific needs, and allow you to easily automate and track your collection activities.

When you combine billing and collections in a single system, you’re able to quickly prioritize accounts that need attention, link payments to invoices, and maintain an audit trail. With the right automated billing system, you’ll be on track to putting revenue where it belongs – your company.

Challenge 5:

I’m losing customers to my competitors.

Overcoming the challenge: Let’s face it, no one looks forward to receiving a bill, and when the bill contains inaccuracies and overcharges, the customer experience that you’re trying to build begins to erode. As the most frequent communication you have with your customers, you need to ensure that the bill delivers the right experience – every time.

Today’s customers are more demanding and are willing to churn faster than ever before. When you combine that with the customer experience driven competitive landscape, it’s critical for you to focus on the billing experience. To build profitable, long-lasting customer relationships, you need to adopt a more customer-centric approach to billing.

As billing models continue to become increasingly complex, it becomes even more important that your automated billing system provides the flexibility and efficiency needed to seamlessly track charges, deliver accurate invoices, and simplify payment collection. Regardless of the pricing strategy – one-time charges, subscription, consumption, hybrid-based, or any combination – the right automated billing system will help you reduce customer churn, and enable you to build trust and loyalty with your customers.

Take Control of Your Revenue With The Right Automated Billing System

The need for greater business agility is driving companies to demand more flexibility from their automated billing systems. At BillingPlatform, our state-of-the-art, complete solution is easily adaptable to support all of your business requirements, including any product, any service, and any business model – giving you the insight you need to run your business with greater efficiency, accuracy and control.

With BillingPlatform as your partner, you get the five advantages an automated billing system offers: automation of business processes, compliance with regional and international standards, compliance with accounting and security standards, reduction in revenue leakage, and the confidence knowing your billing and invoicing are accurate and timely, all while delivering the billing experiences that will help you build profitable customer relationships. Contact our team today to see how we can help get you on the path to billing automation!

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