A complex, inefficient billing process will sink your business no matter how good your product is. Learn the 9 essential elements of a good billing system, and why it’s crucial to your business’s success.
Even though it’s the part where you get paid, you didn’t start your business excited at the prospect of chasing debtors. You were single-mindedly focused on solving a problem and getting paid for it.
You probably hate the whole billing process and would readily outsource it if it weren’t so crucial to your business’s success.
Or you could invest in a billing system that automates the billing process and leaves you more time to do what you are genuinely passionate about. But what does that look like?
This article discusses the elements and qualities of a good billing system. It covers what to look for when shopping for an automated billing system for your business.
Pressed for time? Consider Intasend’s automated billing and subscription management software, an adaptable billing system designed with the needs of Kenya’s digitally focused businesses in mind. Request a demo here.
A good billing system is essential for any business that wants to be successful. It streamlines the billing process, saves you time and money, and fosters customer trust. It helps you keep track of customer payments and manage your cash flow.
To do all that, however, there are essential qualities your billing system must have. You must look for these qualities when choosing an automated billing system for your business.
Here are the 9 essential qualitiess of a good billing system:
A billing system has to, first and foremost, competently do what you require it to do. It must take the pain out of generating invoices, sending them, processing payments, tracking invoices, and following up on unpaid invoices. It fails the test if it can’t do any of these essential functions.
If you run a recurring revenue or subscription business, the billing system has to be more functional than that. It must also allow you to easily create subscription plans and track subscription numbers and revenue.
That said, you may have to integrate third-party tools to make your billing software fully functional.
A billing system must be accurate before anything else. Billing errors cause revenue leakages through under-claiming. More than that, they can cause overcharges that aggravate customers and erode their trust in your business.
An automated billing system like Intasend significantly reduces human intervention in the billing process, which is the primary cause of billing errors.
With software, most billing tasks happen automatically because billing data is transmitted seamlessly between your CRM, ERP, and other software your business runs on.
It goes without saying, though, that it is essential to audit your data sources and ensure the data your billing system is pulling and the rates it uses are up to date.
A billing system that you cannot rely on to work when you need it is not worth betting your business on. If it frequently crashes or loses data, there is a genuine risk that you will struggle to send invoices and get paid on time.
You also want a billing system that does not baulk under the weight of an unusually high volume of transactions. That betrays a lack of scalability. The billing system should be designed with enough capacity to handle high traffic without crashing.
Errors are inevitable when people don’t understand how a billing system works. To ensure ease of use, your billing system should have an intuitive, user-friendly interface that’s easy to navigate.
Automation goes a long way in boosting usability by reducing the need for you to constantly intervene in the billing process. If you need an IT qualification and have to go to toggle several menus and widgets to pull a simple report, your billing system is not user-friendly.
It also helps limit human intervention and improve efficiency if the billing system integrates with other systems you use in your business. Some of these serve as data sources for your billing system, meaning the system can’t work as well if integration is not seamless.
You may need to integrate your billing system with several third-party software to get all the billing data your billing system needs to function optimally and with minimal human intervention.
Unless you use proprietary billing software, your billing system will not fit your unique billing management needs out of the box. So, it should be customisable.
You should be able to configure the billing system to your billing cycle and billing rules that reflect your revenue goals, and to track the billing metrics that matter for your business.
Among features of your billing system that you should be able to customise are:
The caveat, of course, is that not everyone must have access to your billing software:
Your billing system is a high-security area of your business. Only a select group of authorised people should have access to it. Any unauthorised access can seriously compromise the security of your customers’ data and banking information and put your business’s finances at risk.
A good billing system should have strong theft and fraud protection features. It should use industry-standard security measures, such as encryption and firewalls. It can also tokenise payment information to prevent interception by cyber-criminals and, thus, protect customers’ banking details and payment information.
Intasend, for example, has fraud detection capabilities that sniff out suspicious activity on your billing system. Our platform is PCCI DSS compliant and subscribes to the highest standards in payment security.
Depending on how you configure it and the sources it pulls information from, your billing system is a treasure trove of data that you can use to make more informed business decisions.
However, the billing system must have the necessary reporting features in place. Otherwise, this data is not very useful in its raw state.
A billing system with robust reporting features makes it easy to pull reports on real-time revenue figures, including which products are popular and with which segment of customers.
Your billing software should enable the production of tax summaries and, for subscription businesses, make it easy to measure such things as:
This information can be used to track trends, identify problems, and make informed business decisions.
Dunning is the process of communicating with customers to notify them of failed and overdue payments. This is one of the least enjoyable parts of the billing process and one that is perfect for automation.
One of the reasons payments fail is expired debit cards. A good automated billing and subscription billing software will monitor all the customer payment information you have on file and notify you if there are debit cards that will expire soon so you can notify customers in time for the next payment.
Without this dunning management feature, you will have to deal with a few failed payments, lost revenue, and involuntary subscription cancellations.
The time you take doing dunning manually can be saved with an automated billing system with dunning management features - an absolute must-have for subscription businesses.
If you are looking for a good billing system, there are several factors to consider, such as the size of your business, the type of products or services you offer, and your budget. There are some different billing systems available, so it is wise to compare other options before making a decision.
With the right billing automation software, your business is set up not only to decrease the number of failed payments but to boost revenue collection and enhance the customer experience.
An automated billing system streamlines your billing process, saving money and time and eliminating billing errors that rile up customers and cause revenue leakages.
Choose Intasend, for automated billing and subscription management software that grows with your business and uniquely suited to the needs of businesses in Kenya. Book a demo or sign up here to get started automating your billing system.