E-Billing / E-Invoicing
The timely delivery of documents is vital to any business, be it an invoice so you are paid on time or an urgent purchase order to buy crucial stock. How many times have you asked the question: “Am I really delivering this document in the most efficient and cost effective way?”
Post is a classic example. It’s expensive, slow and sometimes very unreliable. When delivered, it’s no better - post needs opening, distributing and filing, all of which cost money. We are amazed so many companies still persist in delivering business documents like statements and invoices by post.
Let’s get your attention with an example:
The True Cost of Post
Most industry analysts now put the cost of delivering a business document by post at £1 or above – this includes energy, paper, postage and labour but doesn’t include the environmental impact.
If a company delivers, just 1,000 invoices and 500 statements per month, that’s a cost of £18,000 per annum.
What format do I send my invoice in? This all depends on if you are moving to a true e-commerce type scenario or simply looking to bill your customers more cost effectively. Output management software (e.g. Formate eVo) is an ideal "document translation hub" to take existing document output from your business system and seamlessly deliver to your customer in virtually any format – electronic invoices can be presented in many different formats (e.g. PDF, XML, CSV, EDI, TIFF, HTML, FAX etc.) but most popular would be either Adobe PDF or XML format. PDF is an image representation of the invoice and is best suited to e-Billing, whereas XML is more suited to a true electronic interchange of invoice data and requires more setup. A good starting point is PDF, moving to XML if required at a later date.
Document Delivery Portals
Many companies have now moved to a simple e-Billing model by attaching PDF invoices to emails. This is quick to implement and generally works well but has one major drawback; there is no guarantee your customer has received or viewed the invoice.
Document delivery portals allow for Secure Document Delivery and a further layer of traceability by providing the sender with a full audit trail of who looked at the invoice and when.
For example, a credit controller chasing overdue invoices can see whether it has been viewed or downloaded. If the debtor claims not to have seen it, the credit controller can quickly point the customer to their secure portal or resend the unique document web address. In simple terms, it takes away the reason not to pay, thereby, reducing aged debt and improving cash flow.
Document delivery portals can also include a payment facility to allow customers to settle their invoice online (24x7) further reducing labour costs.
The benefits are:
- Get Invoices paid faster - Reduce your DSO (Days Sales Outstanding)
- Reduce your carbon footprint – Save 20g of CO2 per letter
- Improve communications with your customers
- Gives control back to your credit controllers by removing excuses to pay
- No need to send copy invoices - Self Service Portal available 24x7
- Zero impact from postal strike