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Resources   /   Glossary

What is an Automated Billing System?

An automated billing system enables users to automate their billing process. Rather than having to stamp and mail paper bills, you can pay your vendors online with the click of a button. Your billing and invoicing process can be vastly simplified with automation tools, which is why most businesses pay their bills electronically. With automated billing systems, you can eliminate manual processing costs and manage your bills in a single, centralized platform, instead of having to sort through stacks of paper invoices.

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What is Automated Billing?

Automated billing is a software-based system that automates the process of invoicing and collecting payments from customers. This system replaces manual billing methods, such as paper invoices and manual data entry, with automated workflows that enhance efficiency, accuracy, and speed in the billing cycle. Business of all sizes use automated billing to manage their invoicing, payment, and revenue collection processes.

Automated billing systems are ideal for mid-size and large businesses who need a way to efficiently handle large volumes of invoices and complex billing structures while still being flexible to their customers’ needs. An automated billing system can free up valuable time and resources for strategic financial initiatives and analysis, enabling businesses to focus on driving growth and profitability.

How does an Automated Billing System Work?

First, the system receives an invoice with pertinent data such as customer information, billing details, and transaction records either from your integrated accounting software or from your team directly inputting data into the system. Leveraging this data, a record of the invoice is automatically created within the system where any predefined billing terms or pricing structures are applied. Next, an invoice goes through your predefined approval steps and sends an alert to the person responsible for approving the invoice. Once approved, the invoice flows directly into your accounting software for payment. When automated, payment is usually delivered electronically through you preferred method.

This process not only expedites the delivery of invoices but also ensures accuracy and timeliness, reducing the risk of errors and delays commonly associated with manual invoicing methods. Furthermore, the system tracks invoice statuses in real-time, providing accounting professionals with valuable insights into payment timelines, outstanding balances, and overall cash flow. By automating the billing process, businesses can optimize their financial workflows, improve customer satisfaction, and gain a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced marketplace.

Types of Automated Billing Systems

There are many types of automated billing systems. For instance, you can choose between a stand-alone or a bundled package. Stand-alone software can be used independently, while bundled systems offer integration options and a wider range of features. Also, different types of software offer different tools. Invoice software is specifically designed to help users sort and approve invoices, while billing software is used to actually make payments. Some types work best for large businesses, while others are geared towards smaller companies. Researching different software types and comparing your options can help you make the best decision for your business so that you can get started automating your accounts payable process and, ultimately, improving your workflow.

Features to Consider in an Automated Billing System

Defining features of automated billing are dictated by the specific needs and priorities of a business. However, four critical features that are generally considered essential include:

  1. Invoice Generation and Customization- The ability to automatically generate invoices based on predefined templates or customizable formats is foundational. This feature should allow businesses to include relevant details such as product or service information, pricing, and terms. Customization options are crucial for tailoring invoices to specific client needs and maintaining a professional appearance.
  1. Integration with Accounting Software- Seamless integration with accounting systems, such as QuickBooks or NetSuite, is vital for real-time updates and accurate financial reporting. This feature ensures that all billing transactions are reflected in the company’s financial records, minimizing manual data entry and reducing the risk of errors.
  1. Automated Approval Workflow- An automated approval process is crucial for maintaining internal controls and ensuring compliance with approval protocols. This feature allows invoices to be routed through predefined channels for review and authorization, streamlining the approval workflow and reducing the likelihood of errors or delays.
  1. Electronic Invoicing and Delivery- The ability to send invoices electronically, whether through email or online portals, enhances the efficiency of the billing process. Electronic invoicing accelerates the delivery of invoices to customers, reduces the environmental impact of paper-based processes, and provides a digital record of transactions.

These features collectively contribute to a streamlined, accurate, and efficient billing process, addressing key aspects of invoicing, financial integration, internal controls, and modern communication methods. Depending on the business’s specific requirements, additional features such as security measures, reporting capabilities, and payment processing options may also be crucial considerations.

Advantages of an Automated Billing System

The advantages of automated cbilling system software are extensive. First and foremost, you can save on paper. This is especially good for climate-conscious companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint. In an increasingly digital world, it’s important that companies can keep up with the growing demand for electronic payment methods offered by an automated billing system. Automation also helps businesses move through their workflows at a quicker pace. When you mail a bill, it can take several days for your vendor to receive their payment. With automated software, they can receive funds instantly.

If you want to get even more out of your software, you might consider launching an automatic billing system project where you can identify pain points in the system and look for ways to improve your workflow. One of the great things about most automated billing systems is that they’re highly customizable to different work styles, meaning that you can make adjustments according to your unique needs. You can also get full visibility into your workflow, so even though you may offload your manual tasks, you still remain in control of what happens with your AP process. You can still see what’s happening at any given moment and make changes to the system if necessary. In this way, you get the best of both worlds.

Online Billing System

The primary difference between an online billing system and an offline system is that online systems are cloud based, whereas offline systems can be accessed even if you aren’t connected to the internet. You might look at a billing system example to see how these systems operate differently online versus offline. At the end of the day, however, both types of computer billing system software provide tremendous benefit to users and can work wonders for their accounts payable process.

If you work in the B2B space, you will want to look for B2B billing software specifically. This can allow you to exercise greater control over your cash flow and automate payments to different vendors. It can also help to reduce some of the costs and fees that come with traditional banking. B2B billing software can be especially helpful for businesses that regularly receive large volumes of invoices, as the invoice sorting and approval process can be extremely tedious and time consuming. Managing your invoices electronically is a great way to stay organized and catch errors that you might have otherwise missed.

SaaS Billing Software

Software as a service (SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and centrally hosted. If you deal at all in the SaaS space, you can benefit from SaaS billing software. Those looking for this type of software should compare SaaS billing models to determine what kind of software is going to work best for their business. It’s also important to consider SaaS billing best practices, such as developing clear and logical pricing structures, simplifying your billing process, and using data to implement changes as needed. Doing this can help your SaaS billing process flow as smoothly as possible.

Finding the best SaaS billing software for your business is key to improving the way you manage your billing process overall. You want something that’s going to be compatible with your business as it currently is while also offering scalability so that you can adjust the system as your needs evolve. Remember that the ultimate purpose of billing software is to simplify the way you pay your bills, and choosing the wrong software will complicate your process rather than promote efficiency. This is why it’s so important to do your research to find the software that’s best aligned with your business goals and that can scale up and down alongside you.

About AvidXchange Automated Billing System

AvidXchange provides AP automation software for the middle market. With AvidXchange, you can promote greater efficiency among your teams and get them aligned on common billing objectives. The platform’s cloud-based software is great for receiving and approving invoices, as well as making quick, secure payments. AvidXchange is backed by one of the largest mid-market supplier networks and has built over 200 integrations with popular accounting systems, offering users several options for managing their AP process. The platform allows users to cut manual processing fees, increase efficiency, and improve relationships with their vendors. What’s more, AvidXchange allows for round-the-clock access so that you can quickly find what you need, wherever and whenever you’re working.

One of the most important aspects of billing software is invoice automation. AvidInvoice is among the best invoice management software solutions for the middle market, allowing users to automate and streamline their entire invoice management process. With AvidInvoice, you can code your invoices, assign them to the appropriate workflow, and route them for approval. This is much easier than having to go through each invoice by hand to determine where it should be sent.

With AvidPay you can reduce, if not totally eliminate, paper checks and manual processing costs. The platform also enables users to create custom workflows and get complete visibility into what’s happening with those workflows at all times. As such, they remain in control of the process, even as the system works to automate their tasks.

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