How to Automate Your Billing Process (6 Easy Steps)

Billing automation is as easy to adopt as it makes your billing process. All it requires is a 6-step approach, but it only works if you have the right automated billing software.
On this page

Automation not only makes the entire billing workflow more efficient - no errors, faster payment, and accurate record-keeping but also addresses key issues such as:

  • Missed online purchases due to unavailable payment methods
  • Revenue loss from unpaid invoices
  • Heavy operational burden on your team

Setting up a billing automation system is the only phase when a manual investment is required, other than that it's easier than syncing data between CPQ and billing.

The whole process is a simple ride- understand your requirements, choose the right software, and let the system do the work for you.

For all the information in between, we are here for you. 

Learn in this blog, everything about automated billing and the process of billing automating. 

TL; DR

  • Automated billing streamlines your entire billing process by taking over all the manual intervention requirements. It builds contracts & invoices by processing all complexities with zero errors and also takes care of payment reminders, accounting, and reporting. 
  • The process with automated billing software is short and fast. It includes four steps- data Integration, generation of invoices, payment processing, and documentation. 
  • Billing automation systems help businesses scale their billing efforts, become more efficient, and allow your engineers to focus on core product work. 
  • Billing automation is done in six easy and quick steps but before it is important to know which billing automation software is best for your business. 

What is automated billing?

Automated billing streamlines the billing process by executing all important billing-related functions with the least manual effort. It helps with sales contracts, billing calculations, payment collections, payment reminders, accounting, and reporting.

A billing automation solution is a must for B2B businesses with complex pricing and custom billing needs as it creates invoices for different pricing models without any restrictions.

For example, a usage-based pricing contract does not hold all the information needed and businesses need a developer or a data analyst to keep track of these numbers. 

With automated billing, you do not need anyone except the automated system to take care of it. It will create accurate invoices in any complex situations while complying with all negotiated terms. 

How does automated billing work?

Most companies have in-house metering systems (a data storage system for creating invoices). The data from the metering systems is moved to spreadsheets or custom-built software and sent to finance people. They manually read contracts, find relevant data from these spreadsheets to create invoices, and send them to customers.

This process meets challenges such as 

  • Increased risk of fraud and errors
  • Inefficient customer service processes
  • Challenges with scalability
  • Long process and high costs (because of extra hiring)

However, the process with a billing automation system is better and more efficient. 

Here's an overview of how the process with billing automation software works:

Step 1: Data integration

A billing automation system first collects and verifies all the required and relevant information and stores it in the system. 

This includes extracting 

  • Pricing terms from contracts
  • Product data from the product catalog
  • Usage data from the metering system. 

It then integrates with the company's existing databases, including CRM, ERP, and payment gateways, and ensures that all data required for accurate billing is collected before generating an invoice. 

Step 2: Generate and send the invoice

The software automatically generates an invoice based on the purchasing information, and the commercial terms outlined in the contract. No matter the contract's complexity, the system always creates invoices instantly and with 100% accuracy. 

Invoices are then sent directly to customers via email (as PDF attachments or links to hosted web invoices), or pushed by third-party systems integration.

Step 3: Payment processing and monitoring

It offers flexibility in payment methods such as your clients can choose

  • Bank transfer 
  • Debit/ Credit cards 
  • Digital wallets
  • Cryptocurrency 
  • BNPL (Buy now, pay later) or others for payment. 

The system will match the payment gateway to respective invoices and continuously monitor the payment status. It tracks whether payments are made, pending, or overdue. It also sends timely and personalized automated reminders and notifications to clients to follow up on overdue payments. 

This monitoring helps maintain a clear picture of the company’s cash flow and financial health. 

Step 4: Documentation and record keeping

The software ensures all transactional details are meticulously recorded in the company's financial records, integrating billing and metering data with accounting systems. It helps increase visibility as you can view client payment information at any given time for data-driven insights. 

Benefits of automated billing software

Let’s look at the benefits billing automation software provides to companies closely:

1. Time-saving and ensures efficiency 

The entire billing process with automated billing is simple and short. It eliminates the need for 

  • Manual data scraping 
  • Creating multiple invoices separately
  • Repetitive data entry
  • Moving data across various tools
  • Rounds of proofreading
  • Manual follow-ups 

The system does it all efficiently by leaving no room for errors because of its robust data integration. This spares some good hours for your engineers that they can use to focus on core product work. 

One of the successful automated billing systems examples is Squadstack.

SquadStack, an AI-driven sales outsourcing platform, started its journey with an in-house billing automation system. On facing limitations, Squadstack opted for automated billing which helped their engineers save 120 hours/quarter, and the finance team saved 180 hours a month. 

2. Enhance customer experience

The complexity of B2B buyers' journeys has increased due to multiple decision-makers being involved, resulting in the inclusion of a variety of benefits and conditions that are specific to each of your clients.

It’s a challenge even for your team to keep track of every negotiated term and promised offering across vast data of your several clients. 

As one AP worker said in a 2022 IOFM survey:

Source

Your clients will also not appreciate frequent back-and-forth communication, even if it's necessary for executing the billing process accurately.

The billing automation system provides a positive experience for your clients as you are sending invoices timely that are accurate with no complexities and interruptions. It also provides different payment options and customer payment portals. 

3. Simplify data management and accommodate scalability

The software centralizes all billing-related information in a single, cohesive system that is stored securely and is easily accessible. It eliminates the need to work with multiple tools to maintain proper journal entries in ERP. 

It will also accommodate your business growth. If your billing process becomes more complex because of an increasing number of transactions or price experimentation, the system will support all billing scenarios without any inefficiencies. 

How to automate your billing process? 

It’s easy and involves only 6 steps:

1. Find the right billing automation software

To find the right billing automation software, keep your eyes on some non-negotiable features including:

  • Integrated payment options
  • Accounting software integration
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Customization options
  • Integration with other software
  • Analytics & reporting
  • Contract builder
  • Customer portals
  • Automated invoice emails & payment reminders
  • Usage data insights

Recommended read: 9-Point Checklist to Choose the Right Billing System for Your Business

2. Integrate with existing accounting software

Once you have decided on the system, integrate the billing automation system with your accounting software. Integrating it will ensure your team is not making extra efforts to record journal entries as per your preferred methods. It will automatically perform actions for you. 

3. Set up electronic invoicing

Manual invoicing is outdated and a hassle, use electronic invoices for your billing process. Automated e-invoicing will generate and send accurate invoices timely saving you plenty of time. E-invoices are accurate because the system pulls data from all the relevant integrated resources. 

Another benefit of e-invoicing is that it gives a digital record, which makes these invoices easy to track. 

4. Schedule billing reminders

Automated billing software allows businesses to use automated reminders. This feature enables businesses to schedule and automatically send payment reminders targeted to clear delayed and overdue payments. It eliminates the need for manual intervention for follow-ups. 

5. Launch a customer payment portal

Set up a self-service customer payment portal, allowing customers to pay invoices, track due dates, and manage their accounts online. This improves customer convenience and reduces the workload on your accounts receivable team, leading to quicker and more frequent payments.

6. Create reporting dashboards for billing performance

In manual billing, maintaining and updating billing records is a tiresome process. Automated billing software offers reporting dashboards to monitor billing performance and key metrics in real-time. 

How to choose the best-automated billing software?

Here are some wise ways to do it:

1. Know your business needs 

First, every business must identify their specific billing needs, such as:

  • Complexity of your billing cycle
  • Type of payment you accept
  • Variety of payment terms you offer
  • Volume of invoices your business processes 
  • Integration requirement

This understanding helps you to look at aligning features in the automated billing software. 

2. Compare pricing and consider your budget

Understand the pricing requirements and see if it is as per your budget or not. 

Some good choices would be a platform that doesn’t gatekeep any features from you and offers implementation and migration support without any extra charges. 

4. User-friendly interface is a must

Check if the software you selected is easy to use or not for billing process automation. 

A user-friendly interface will simplify complex invoicing processes, provide automated workflows, and make tracking and reporting easier. It will involve no such need for coding and ensure seamless integration of data and third-party tools. 

5. Research Customer Support

Good customer support is a must. Even the most user-friendly billing automation software requires time for users to become familiar with it. Good customer support reduces friction in the process of your adaptability. 

Research how their customer support system works, see if they have active and asynchronous support, and how long they take to get back to you and make a decision based on it. 

Why Zenskar?

Let’s start this by saying we have the most flexible billing automation solution. Zenskar enables sales teams to create complex contracts with no code and automate generating invoices irrespective of the complexity of contracts. All because of our system integrations with >200 sources of data. 

We adopt a decoupling approach to metering and billing means billing and metering modules are independent systems and do not impact each other. This is important because

Source

Along with it:

  • Zenskar is the only billing automation software with support for subscription-based pricing, usage-based pricing, and everything in between. 
  • Zenskar's Contract Builder provides a drag-and-drop builder interface that enables users to customize and create reusable templates for their contracts. 
  • Zenskar offers an in-built communication module that gives you everything you need for collection without the need to integrate an email tool. 

Curious to learn more? Book a demo, and we'll show you how Zenskar can perform billing automation for you.  

FAQs

1. What is an automatic billing system?

An automatic billing system takes care of your entire billing process with its advanced features. The system creates contracts, performs calculations, generates & sends invoices, drops payment reminders, and does accounting, and reporting as well. All on its own with the least possible human intervention.  

2. What is invoice process automation?

Invoice process automation refers to the use of technology to automate the complete process of creating, sending, and monitoring invoices. This process spares some extra hours for your engineers and helps you perform billing functions with 100% accuracy. 

3. What are the benefits of automated billing?

Automated billing allows businesses to  

  • Save time and ensure efficiency 
  • Enhance customer experience
  • Simplify data management 
  • Adaptable to scalability 
  • Be flexible with every demand

4. Is it safe to use automatic billing?

Yes, absolutely. There are many businesses with billing process automation examples to testify that. Any reliable and credible automated billing software uses encryption and follows industry standards to protect your financial data and personal information.

Never miss new content
Subscribe to keep up with the latest strategic finance content.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Share