AUTOMATED BILLING PROCESS
CUSTOMER PAYS $87,000 INVOICE SURPRISING ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT
Manual business processes waste time and money!
The Accounting Department is responsible for generating extremely detailed multi-page invoices for annual maintenance contracts. Due to the complexity of their customer billing arrangements, the invoice preparation process requires an exhaustive amount of hours of personalized attention to manually research the numerous subcontracts and payment history before compiling customer invoices. This manual and time consuming process is prone to human error and lost or unbilled invoice revenue as subcontracts are incorrectly assigned, added or deleted over the course of an annual maintenance period. The average timeframe to produce a single months invoicing takes 3 staff members is 6 weeks with year end delays resulting is customer’s maintenance being prematurely terminated.
How We Made Our Client Successful
Automate Bill Prep
The Sales Operations Department has indefinitely loaned 2 full-time staffers to assist the Accounting Manager with compiling customer order, service, and maintenance contract renewal data for invoicing. The data stems from the company’s CRM, accounting, and licensing software.
Manual Business Process: Customer data consisting of new orders, current and expiring (sub)contracts, and billable service time is added/updated in the company CRM. The data is compiled in spreadsheets for manual manipulation and adjustment before being duplicated in the form of an invoice in the company accounting software. This manual review and entry process is easily prone to error from employee fatigue. The invoice process averages 6 weeks to complete.
Issues Presented: The delay in billing is disruptive to Sales Operations and Customer Support. Customer accounts are prematurely deactivated forcing service interruptions and high numbers of angry customer support
Customer payments representing multiple (sub)Contracts are often in the form of a single payment. Aligning payments to their respective maintenance contracts is tedious and requires employees to update both the company accounting and CRM software to mark invoices paid, enable /disable master and sub maintenance contracts, and issue renewal agreements.
Income revenue is inconsistent and forecasting requires manual manipulation of spreadsheet reports to offset the billing period
Multiple software packages and spreadsheets used to manage customer support, accounting, and licensing information are wholly disconnected.
Leatherberry Associates provided a global solution using Business Process Automation. Customer source data used to compile and compute monthly invoices presently exists in the company’s CRM. There’s no need to maintain separate spreadsheets or to copy and paste customer data into the accounting software. Using business rules provided by Accounting and Operations, Leatherberry Associates developed a solution within the CRM to compile and compute customer invoices. A single view now exists in the CRM to allow a single Accounting representative to review and approve prepared billing records. A single click of the mouse displays a detailed audit report if necessary for review. The data is automatically transferred into the accounting system on 15th of each month. New and existing customer information is auto-generated in the accounting system while payment history is returned to the CRM for Customer Service and Support use. Newly created customer invoices and statements containing linked marketing campaign and event information are emailed along with payment instructions to each customer.
As customer payments are received and entered into the accounting system, a BPA automated process initiates a call to generate maintenance renewals, enable/disable contracts, and distribute updated agreements to customers. BPA auto-generates note records in company CRM for historical reference. BPA proactively monitors invoice records and alerts both customer and internal account manager when payment is overdue.
BPA routinely distributes reporting reflecting current billing details, expiring maintenance renewals, overdue items, and updated forecast projections to management.
The process that used to take 3 staffers 6 weeks to complete and affected multiple departments has been reduced to a mere 30 minutes per month. Our client has been able to re-purpose the role of 2 staffers on loan to Accounting and eliminate excessive overtime. No longer a data entry cost center. the individuals are once again assisting in revenue production via their assigned sales and operations roles. A single staffer is now responsible for overseeing the now streamlined BPA process. As a result of the BPA automation process, an $87,000 invoice was processed and emailed to a major customer. The invoice would not have never been sent under the manual human process as there were inconsistencies within the underlying data. The automation process was able to identify and correct these inconsistencies and alert Accounting of the correction. The customer promptly paid their renewal invoice ensuring a prosperous month for our client!
Return on Investment: After 3 months of development and testing, the company was able to recoup their investment in 2 months.