As technology evolves, businesses are constantly looking for ways to streamline many of their key functions such as sales, accounts payable, supply chain management, IT and so on.
For many firms, one such way to make life easier both for themselves and their customers is to introduce real-time billing.
There are many benefits to real-time billing, but is it something that could help to revolutionise your business? Find out more by checking out some of the key benefits that can apply to a plethora of different organisations:
Customers can keep a tight grip on their spending
One of the most famous examples of real-time billing has to be from mobile phone network operators. Each time you make a phone call, send a text message or use some of your data allowance to surf the World Wide Web from your handset, it will log that usage against your account with them, regardless of whether you have a pre-pay or post-pay account.
Virtually all tariffs advertised by network operators have some kind of allowance for calls, text and data, so even if you weren’t going over your tariff allowances or quotas, their real-time billing systems would still ‘bill’ you for that usage, but it would obviously charge you £0.00 for each in-tariff item.
Even if you never went over your prescribed allowances with a network operator, real-time billing helps customers to see what they use the most of on their mobile contracts. The same also applies to those that do go over their allowances, as it helps them to decide whether to cut back on their usage or upgrade to a more-inclusive tariff.
It makes life easy for accounts departments
Large companies that have thousands or millions of customers can save a lot of time because real-time billing systems will automatically update each customer’s account with their latest charges or fees.
It will also save firms a lot of money too, because they won’t have to employ teams of people to manually input those charges onto each customer’s account on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
For example, if you run a courier company and you pay for customs charges on items imported on behalf of your customers to enable faster clearance through customs at the airport, those import charges plus your admin fees for clearing the goods can be instantly billed to your customer’s account.
You might also have an electronic billing system, so your customer could also get sent an invoice shortly after their goods have cleared customs, and they could pay for the invoice electronically via your website instead of wasting time and money sending out letters to customers demanding payment before the release of any goods (this is something ParcelForce does, unfortunately).
Integration with other software
As you might have guessed from the previous paragraph, real-time billing systems can also be integrated with other key accounting software systems such as an e-commerce facility where customers can pay for their invoices online simply by clicking a link on their invoices and using their debit or credit cards to make instant payments.