PDF attachments made with your accounting software are one step up from ‘print and post’ invoicing, but PDFs sent in an email do not constitute true eInvoicing. Why? Because they are unscalable.
When invoices are created using intelligent automation, directly from order data, thousands can be created in one batch. The speed, scale and efficiency of eInvoicing automation create a zero-touch, flawless solution that comes with a whole host of additional benefits. Intelligent automation minimises the margin of error – no missed line items, no misread or mistyped quantities, no missing attachments, or worse, the wrong attachment going to a customer. eInvoicing automation, such as that provided by Corrivo eBilling, increases accuracy by removing room for manual errors. It also provides trackable, traceable, auditable details of every step from order to cash. Here’s how.
Shift to Receive and Retrieve
Instead of receiving an email with an attached document that needs to be opened, downloaded, saved, opened, processed and paid, the customer receives an email containing a secure link: a time expiring link that does not work if forwarded to another email address. There is additional data at every step.
Step 1: Customer receives an email with a link
Step 2: customer opens the email and clicks on the link
Step 3: customer retrieves invoice from the self-service online invoicing portal – they can view, download or even pay online.
When the email is delivered, Corrivo logs this. When the email is opened by the recipient, this too is logged. Failed email deliveries trigger off an exception process – so even if emails bounce, we find a way to get the invoice to the customer. These exceptions processes vary per Corrivo client, some choosing to divert to alternative email addresses, some flagging the AR account handler, some divert directly to print and post.
So far, you, as an Accounts Receivable manager, have data that tells you precisely how long it takes from order creation to invoice creation and dispatch, to successful delivery and through until the time the customer opens the email from your organisation. over time, this builds up allowing you to see patterns. Some accounts receivable teams realised that the worst payers with the highest DSO were only opening their emails in a shared email address once a fortnight. This insight would not have been available if they’d been attaching a PDF invoice.
When the customer opens the email and visits the portal – you, as an accounts receivable manager, get to know for sure that they have also seen their account home screen and can see precisely how many unpaid invoices they already have with your business. You also get to tell whether or not they downloaded the eInvoice at that time. Some customers pick off the oldest invoice to pay and leave the most recent one until nearer the end of the credit term. One AR team that noticed this implemented early payment discounts to incentivise some customers to pay sooner – before their 30 day credit period had expired. The resulting cashflow offset the cost of capital in older aged debt regions.
By allowing the customer to self serve, AR managers get to sit back and observe, then analyse the data to find clever ways to improve their team’s performance. More accurate invoices mean fewer queries and complaints. This relieves pressure on the AR team and has a positive knock-on effect on Collections.
Shift to Self Service
Not only does eInvoicing release working capital tied up in unpaid invoices, but it frees up your AR team for more valuable tasks. It gives them more time to have smarter, more personal conversations with customers when they need to. It makes it far easier to deal well with a few queries than to struggle to cope with too many queries. Inevitably, some customers will be at the back of the queue when it comes to having their queries answered, and today, poor customer service has lasting reputational damage. Make it easy for the customer, give them a convenient mobile and tablet friendly eInvoicing portals, and you’ll build better customer relationships instead.