As organisations strive for cost efficiency I’ve seen substantial growth in appetite for e-delivery solutions. The benefit of eliminating costs for paper, printer cartridges & maintenance, envelopes, labour and stamps are self evident.
However, I think the real value of a successful e-delivery programme is the impact it can have in the credit & collections arena.
E-invoicing reduces delivery times. Eliminating the time documents are stuck in transit through the postal system allows for faster action and reaction to situations. It’s quite obvious, but the sooner a customer receives their invoice, the earlier they can raise any concerns about their account or the amount due. Faster dispute resolution has to be advantageous in collecting payment sooner and ultimately reducing Days Sales Outstanding (DSO).
Another advantage of delivering invoices directly to the customer’s inbox is that it provides better delivery intelligence than post. If your e-delivery system includes ‘pull’ or portal access to documents it can tell you what’s been accessed online, when, by who and what else they did while they were there. This level of data can help minimise ‘lost in the post’ excuses and the need for copy invoices. Should you ever need to go legal this chapter and verse breakdown of activity can be invaluable.
Your e-billing platform can also be useful for those occasions when copy documents are required. Having an archive of all documents online and a valid email address for you customer will let you deliver copies quickly and easily from your desktop. The e-archive aspect of your portal might also be extended out to customers letting them access copy document online, anytime. Another nail in the coffin of the ‘I didn’t get it’ brigade.
Finally, the last aspect of e-billing that can directly benefit credit teams is that it allows them to get on with what they are meant to be doing. Credit professional are recruited and employed for their skills in recovering cash, resolving disputes and mitigating against bad debt. As pleasantly diverting as stuffing invoices and statements into envelopes all afternoon may (occasionally) be it is a waste of their collective talents.
For these reasons businesses should be looking to implement an e-delivery programme as an investment in their collections team. Doing so is also likely to significantly reduce operating costs, so it’s probably the best ‘no brainer’ investment they could ever make.