In this article, we will look at how the implementation of an automated billing system can facilitate the financial activities of the utility companies and minimize the possibility of errors.
It is crucial for the successful utility supplier to have a reliable billing system. Many companies worldwide have lost their customers’ trust due to weaknesses in their billing systems, leading to incorrect invoices, which negatively impacts supplier’s reputation. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important that the consumer receives their invoice in a format that clearly describes which service and what amount exactly they are paying for. This is essential for both suppliers and customers. An invoice comprising components that are key to the customer implies price transparency of the delivered services, increases the confidence in the supplier and improves their engagement with the end-user. Design and visualization are equally important – the information should be presented in a comprehensive way. Such, that the customer clearly sees how the final price has been calculated.
The key to the supplier’s credibility is the billing systems to support live billing – when the customer submits a meter reading through a self-service portal or mobile application, the current consumption amount is be calculated automatically and at the same time uploaded in the portal.
The automated billing system helps suppliers to effectively manage all cash flow processes: mass generation and cancellation of a large number of invoices, automatic issuing of debit and credit notes, automatic calculation of VAT, configuring and managing financial periods.
It also provides the necessary information for planning the company’s cash-flows, as well as revenues at customer or segment level, which can be used for analysis of subsequent new products’ implementation. A flexible billing system allows the modern supplier to analyze and create additional products and services, with the right timing, so that the needs of certain target groups are met. What is more, it rises opportunities for finding the optimal product for each customer in the increasingly competitive utility market.
A proper and modern billing system also needs to include at least an automation process with Business Process Manager, a service-oriented architecture, and relevant micro-services for the different steps. With the rollout of smart meters constantly sending meter readings, the modern provider must be prepared for a huge amount of data to be processed accurately in the shortest possible time.