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Optimizing the Billing Process Through Integrated Business Solutions

December 10, 2012  By Vince Tinnirello

For the majority of IT service providers and managed service provides, the processes around billing and invoicing can be very complicated and difficult to get right. Typical complaints from clients can range from not having enough detail explaining what they are being billed for to excessive detail resulting in distraction from the real value you are delivering. In addition, timing your invoices can be complicated; some clients want to be billed at certain times of the month, while others want to pay for blocks of time up-front.

Multiple billing rates

For companies with different billing rates for various staff and services, issuing the correct rate for work completed can be a time consuming challenge - and making a mistake can cause bad feeling with a client, particularly if it’s a recurring issue. Further, if you have multiple agreements with a single client, this problem becomes compounded.

The bottom line is, doing the actual work for a client is only be half the challenge. Billing them can be an expensive and time-consuming chore.

Do the work that matters

If you are spending more time on billing than with your clients you should be investigating how to incorporate automation into your business process.  The key to success is ensuring the system you implement is flexible and customizable enough to produce the correct invoice for your clients based on their specific requirements with a high level of confidence in the billing accuracy and little to no manual intervention.

Here are five ways you can improve your billing process freeing you up to focus on client satisfaction and growing your business:

  1. Utilize a system that supports multiple pricing structures, such as fixed-fee, time and materials, milestone completion, work-in-progress, block time, prepaid retainers and managed service agreements.
  2. Integrate your time capture and help desk/service desk to ensure that technician time is captured against the correct client, job, and under the correct billing rate without manual intervention.
  3. Eliminate manual calculations by integrating your accounting software with your time capture and service desk application to ensure work done to specific agreements updates invoices automatically.
  4. Define and establish workflows that automatically trigger the billing process - for instance, completed tasks and activities, or milestones within projects.
  5. Routinely assess your recurring invoices against new opportunities secured by your company and associated billing requirements from clients against accounts payable to achieve optimal cash flow.
Vince Tinnirello
President and CEO of Anchor Network Solutions. Vince founded Anchor in 2002 starting as a one man consulting practice. He handles all sales, marketing, and account management responsibilities at Anchor. Vince has over 15 years experience in the IT industry and is passionate about helping small businesses focus on running their businesses rather than worrying about IT solutions.
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