Project Description

Photo of man wearing an orange sweater using mobile phoneWorldwide, businesses and government agencies generate an estimated 370 billion invoices each year.1 Nearly 92 percent of those bills still arrive in paper format.1 Those staggering figures are just one reason companies are looking for ways to transform how they present their fees to customers.

In fact, presentment sets the stage for efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction across your entire receivables process. That’s because all three steps—how you present bills, how your customers pay, and how you post transactions—share common data and processes. The stronger your billing, the greater your efficiencies in collections and cash application processes.

Move beyond electronic delivery

Transforming how you present involves more than simply emailing bills. Your company should also consider:

  • The number of channels and providers required to accomplish your billing
  • How easily your customers can pay you once they receive a bill
  • How well you can integrate billing data through payment and reconciliation

A recent study estimates that billers and recipients could save $4 to $8—per invoice—by converting to electronic methods.2

Ready, set, bill

As your organization moves forward, look for these capabilities:

  • Streamlined distribution. Offering more billing and payment options should not create more workload for your billing or accounts receivable (AR) staff. Many providers—including financial institutions—can support both the print and electronic aspects of your billing process. You can even send all your billing data in a single file, for your provider to present to your customers electronically and in print. Outsourcing distribution also enables you to bill more frequently—even daily—which speeds collections and reduces days sales outstanding (DSO).
  • Multiple billing formats. Customers today expect greater choice than ever before. Consider a provider that can deliver your electronic bills on a secure web portal, as links to the portal within email, or as PDF attachments to email. This flexibility will give you and your customers a greater range of options to evolve your presentment over time.
  • Integrated payment. Electronic presentment not only delivers your bills faster and more cost-effectively, it also makes it easier to pay you. Your customers no longer need to set aside time to write and mail a check, look up your website address from a paper bill, or re-enter their card or account data. Instead, you can embed payment functionality within your electronic bill, driving customers with a single click to a secure web portal for ACH and card payment. Customers appreciate the convenience and in many cases, pay faster.
  • Data matching. Posting and reconciliation may seem far removed from presentment. However, enhancements at the front-end of your receivables cycle will have a major impact on your accuracy and efficiency. Look for solutions that enable you to embed key data—such as customer ID, account number, and invoice number—within your electronic billing, then maintain that information across the life of the transaction. Linking your dollars and data from start to finish dramatically improves your straight-through processing rates, reduces time required to manage exceptions, and improves your DSO.
  • Security. Your customers trust you to protect their account details and payment information at all points during the billing and collections process. To reduce your risks, understand how your providers handle both physical security and electronic data. Ask about secure transmission of data, data storage, building security, and business continuity planning for disaster recovery situations.

Consumers and businesses continue to migrate to electronic bills; analysts predict 10-20 percent annual growth.1 Now is the time to adopt more electronic presentment methods that will keep you competitive and attract and retain more customers.

For more information, contact your treasury management representative.

1. Billentis, “E-Invoicing / E-Billing Digitisation & Automation,” May 27, 2016
2. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, “U.S. Adoption of Electronic Invoicing: Challenges and Opportunities,” June 30, 2016