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Good reporting is a prime requirement for many business processes. For e-billing to succeed good reporting is imperative. You need to know when and how an invoice was sent and if it was received.

Sending PDF invoices via email may seem free but what is the cost of bad reporting?

I recently met with a company that had a controlled and well organised collections process resulting in a good Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). The introduction of PDF email invoicing disrupted this process because of a lack of good reporting.

Their system couldn’t monitor when an email delivery failed so they weren’t able to update their records or send the invoice immediately via another method.

The failure of the email delivery only became known when the invoice wasn’t paid on time. At that point the collections cycle kicked-in, a collections call was made, a copy invoice was posted and the debtor was given further time to make payment.

The lack of reporting meant any savings on stamps and stationery were being lost in copy fulfilment and phone calls. The DSO became compromised, the credit team lost faith in the system and eventually it fell into redundancy.

Many ERP and accounts systems now provide this sort of email delivery module. They seem attractive as low cost solutions for PDF invoicing. However, invoicing is a business critical function and needs to be done properly. Without reporting tools, audit trails and failure management these systems are unlikely to be fit for purpose. What’s the point of having a low cost solution if it disrupts your business process to the point no one will use it?

As with most things in life you do get what you pay for.

Using a specialist e-billing provider may not be free but it will save money over posting everything. More importantly by ensuring your invoices are sent, tracked and monitored and by providing good reporting it will enhance your existing business process. Better and cheaper isn’t true of many things, but it is true of e-billing when done properly.

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