Protecting billing cash flow from the coronavirus


Coronavirus, COVID-19, it’s hard to read a news post without some mention. A week ago, I would have felt cautious about appearing to be jumping on the bandwagon as this topic trends across every social media platform, search engine and newsstand. Globally.

They will have enough worries from the issues of coping with reduced workforce numbers, supply chain challenges and lower customer demand. But, ensuring your invoices still go out on time, and confirming they have reached your customers, can at least help reduce cash flow worries – from an operational perspective at any rate.

At Corcentric, we provide global businesses with outsourced billing solutions. These are business-critical solutions, so we need to stay several steps ahead of any threats to normal service levels.

It’s no coincidence that, as a responsible business, we have provisions for Business Continuity as part of our ISO27001 ISMS. This means that our clients do not need to worry about disruption to their invoices, and associated billing documents, when sent via the Corcentric platform.

Traditional print and post invoicing services are subject to risks from illness among the accounts receivable team and postal delivery service. And frankly, your customers are probably feeling a little cautious about handling letters, which have been sorted and travel alongside a vast number of other letters in the postal system.

It’s worth remembering that baggage handlers were some of the first to succumb to the coronavirus when it reached the UK. Handling letters — even invoices — seems like a risk many of us would rather avoid right now.

Postal services will strive to manage staff shortages with suitable cover, but it’s almost guaranteed that there will be a negative impact on service levels as the infection rate rises. Even after delivery, your invoice needs to make it from the postal room to the accounts payable team. Every step that involves a human link in the chain of delivery is susceptible.

Electronic Invoicing – reduce your reliance on print and post

More businesses send invoices electronically every year. The simplicity and accuracy of automated invoice generation, combined with the dramatic reduction in print and postage costs, is a clear win.

However, in the wider sense electronic invoicing, or e-billing, is more than just turning paper invoices into PDF equivalents and delivering them by email. Although some businesses do choose this limited approach.

Firstly, as with any accounts receivable department, there are layers of rules about what to send to whom, when and in what format.

Secondly, electronic delivery affords tracking which simply cannot be done when sending paper invoices. You can see who has received what, who has opened and read their invoice and even who has shown an intent to pay. This provides a mechanism for automated reminders to those who have yet to respond.

Security is vastly improved too. You can send notification of a new invoice (or other billing document) as an email, linking to a secure online portal, where the invoice is held. This is being used as an effective route to combat invoicing fraud by many businesses.

This portal can also be used to provide customers access to their invoicing history, statements and any other associated documents. Customers can then update their billing preferences, contact details and even pay their bills online through the portal, reducing the load on your customer service teams.

Protect your billing processes. Quickly.

With some of the biggest nations in Europe already on lock-down and infection rates soaring across much of the world, few businesses are looking to take on extra workload, or make big investments in new billing solutions. This is where Corcentric, an outsourced e-billing solution, presents a swift solution without needing to schedule in development with your IT department or find budget to invest up-front.

It’s an easy business case to make. We can help explain the steps in the process and how you could switch the majority of your customers over within weeks.

Working as an outsourced service provider, Corcentric offers per-document-sent pricing structures – enabling you to pay for it out of the savings made by reducing your print and postage costs. We can help you calculate how quickly Corcentric will pay for itself and provide a return on investment.

We also help you achieve a far higher-than-industry-average conversion rate for moving customers on to electronic billing. On average, our clients now send 82% of their invoices electronically.

This isn’t really about saving costs though; this is about reducing reliance on old-fashioned print and post approaches to a business-critical function. Billing cannot be allowed to fall victim to the Coronavirus. Let Corcentric take that worry away, so you can focus on your business in these challenging months ahead.