Invoicing has changed drastically from what it once was. Gone are the days of paper invoicing and cheques as we’ve shifted to digital invoices that can directly be paid online. Thanks to the advancement of technology, all things are becoming simpler and this is no different in regards to invoicing. However, what does the future truly hold for invoicing and where are invoicing trends headed?
For starters, technology will continue to shape the way payments are requested and made. Digital processes will make paper invoices obsolete, bills will be generated quickly and payment options will be integrated within invoices. Furthermore, billing will become intuitive, refined and customizable , making invoicing easier and more efficient for both businesses and customers. These advancements are already taking place and are expected to develop further within the coming years. However, an even greater shift is expected to take place in regards to invoicing.
Though innovation, invoicing has come a long way from what it once was. The current problems businesses are facing in this area make one thing clear — invoicing can no longer be regarded as an autonomous process. To many, invoicing may seem like a single activity, when in reality an abundance of other activities go hand-in-hand with it to form a receivables management system. In fact, invoicing itself is merely the very first step in a receivables management process and needs to be handled as an interconnected part of a whole.
As businesses look for simpler alternatives to manage the abundance of processes connected to invoicing, the solution seems to lie in all-in-one receivables management platforms (RMPs), which are able to render the full receivable lifecycle and manage all phases in the process, including billing dunning, pre-legal and legal collection, etc.
What is an All-in-one Receivables Management Platform?
An all-in-one receivables management platform is a technological solution that handles all steps associated with the receivable lifecycle.
In the past, invoicing, dunning and collection were handled separately by different service providers. However, a lack of efficiency, synergy and communication evoked an innovation within the field in the form of receivables management platforms. These systems are fully automated receivables management departments from start to finish and can perform all processes related to invoicing with ease and efficiency.
All Processed By a Single Source…
Let’s start off with an overview of the major functions of an RMP:
The platform initiates and distributes the invoices on behalf of the businesses they represent. This process is done automatically and via all relevant communication channels, so businesses can rely on a quick, efficient, accurate and hassle-free execution. Additionally, RMPs are able to perform actions across borders. This is a major benefit for businesses, because it eliminates the need of integrating a new solution for each territory. Instead, a single RMP will issue their invoices to customers all over the world.
It is vital for all businesses to take late-payment precautions through an adequate dunning process. Though this may have been a tedious and frustrating process, thanks to receivables management platforms this is no longer the case as the system automatically performs all necessary dunning actions. This includes the initiation and distribution of payment reminders through multiple communication channels such as email, SMS, social media, etc., depending on the business’ preference. Furthermore, the platform offers multi-language dispute management and customer support for the comfort of the businesses and their customers.
Back in the day, business owners or employees were in charge of the collection of overdue amounts. This used to be an uncomfortable and diligent process through which businesses would send reminders to individual clients regarding their outstanding payments.
Thankfully, receivables management platforms allow for hassle-free pre-legal processes. Such a platform would send out automated amicable debt collection warnings based on dynamically scalable communication patterns such as formal written reminders and final notice warnings. Thanks to machine learning and AI, communication can also be customized according to a specific customer segmentation, that is preprogrammed into the system. As a result, the communication patterns and contents can be scaled to address the right person in the right way and at the right time.
In case the previous steps in the process do not lead to a full settlement of the open amount, all-in-one receivables management platforms would take on the initiation and execution of court procedures on behalf of businesses. Such a platform and its representatives would provide cross-border coverage through which the legal representation in charge of the case is familiar with international and local laws, compliances and regulations.
In addition to invoicing services, all-in-one receivables management platforms provide various payment methods and multi-currency payments for the comfort of businesses and their customers. By joining an RMP, businesses can automatically integrate with a PSP, which saves an enormous amount of time and integration costs while enabling the use of hundreds of payment methods. The ability to offer various payment methods to the end-customers is not only a benefit, but a must have in a globalized world. Modern users need flexibility to choose from different payment options and pick the ones they feel most comfortable with. This increases trust and encourages on- time payments.
Why Receivables Management Platforms Are the Future?
Increasing success rates in debt collection
In the past few years, there has been a notable development in the field of digital collection services. Start-ups and corporations have done some amazing work in terms of automating pre-legal collection steps. This helped to somewhat increase success rates, so a lot more outstanding amounts could be recovered. Still, the debt collection process remains a pain for most businesses, as there is still quite an effort required, in order to integrate with the right provider. The main problem remains — when debt collection is regarded as a process independent to the invoicing and dunning procedures taking place before it, it ends up being time-consuming, effortful and even ineffective.
This showcases the huge role that receivables management platforms might play in the future, as they manage to interconnect the single steps and create a fluent, technology-driven process, which is efficient, transparent and low-priced for both businesses and customers.
Minimising Cost and Effort
Several problems arise when businesses handle the steps in the receivables management process separately. The delegation of separate activities to different providers generates too many points of contact, which forces all parties involved to spend more time and effort on communication and data exchange. Additionally, a lack of synergy between the different processes and providers create large inefficiency. Thanks to the innovation of receivables management platforms, all individual processes associated with invoicing can be unified into a seamless, efficient and cursive process flow.
Furthermore, through the use of automation and integration of multiple technologies, services and apps, such platforms would provide a highly customizable service so businesses and their customers will thrive at a low cost and with minimal effort.
Optimizing Processes Through Technology
Receivables management platforms use cutting edge technology to provide a fluent, customizable all-in-one process for businesses and institutions of all shapes and sizes. There are a few vital aspects for a successful RMP:
- Flexible Data Transfer: Businesses have different digitalization levels, so it is vital to be able to integrate with the right provider with ease and efficiency at any digitalization state. Therefore receivables management platforms should allow flexible and flawless data transfer through Web, API, JSON, CSV., etc., and have an integrated PSP.
- Optimizing Customer Communication: Through the use of AI and machine learning, receivables management platforms are able to automate customer communication and dispute management. This boosts efficiency, as almost all communicative tasks can be fulfilled by the machine instantly in multiple languages.
- Code-driven compliance: Through technology, assuring compliant practices in all regions of the world is no longer an impossible task. Modern receivables management systems use integrated regulatory mechanisms to assure compliant practises throughout borders.
- An agile, yet stable system: The core system behind a receivables management platform is agile, stable and scalable, in order to adapt and render complex business logics throughout a huge client pool.
Seamless Cross-Border Capabilities
Entering new markets can be a challenge for any business due to a multitude of uncertainties and unique legalities businesses must abide by. Thankfully, receivables management platforms have tremendous cross-border capabilities, as new territories can be set up easily on client demand.
Again, it is the technology that makes it possible: from the implementation of local and international regulation into the day-to day workflow, to the provision of multi-channel, multi-language customer support and multi-currency transactions, the onboarding of new territories is a no-brainer thanks to the digitalisation and automation of processes.
Efficiency Through Verified and Enriched Data
The efficiency of the invoicing processes strongly depends on the quality of available customer and payment data. To enhance the process, RMPs apply automated data verification and enrichment mechanisms. This means, that the system automatically compares and adjusts customer-related data points such as names, contact information, bank information, etc.
These features not only decrease inefficiency and minimize invoicing time, but also eliminate human-based errors, ensuring businesses remain professional and accurate throughout their entire payment lifecycle.
All-in-one receivables management platforms will undoubtedly soon become the norm in the world of invoicing thanks to their efficiency and accuracy. Are you curious to learn more about how an RMP works? Check out the eCollect website to see how the first technology-driven, all-in-one, cross-border receivables management platform on the market incorporates all processes and innovations mentioned above, bringing us one step closer to the future of invoicing.
Author: Marc Schillinger, CEO eCollect