It’s onwards and upwards for the UCaaS industry as it’s going to continue to see exponential growth over the coming years. According to Grand View Research, “the global unified communication as a service market size was valued at USD 38.74 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.6% from 2021 to 2028”.
So why are we witnessing this rapid growth?
Because we’re in an era where hybrid working environments are on the rise and 93% of companies agree that UcaaS collaboration tools are essential to the success of this working model.
However the real picture is that not all UCaaS businesses are going to get a share of this attractive pie. With growth, comes operational complexity. Therefore, if UCaaS businesses are not optimizing their operational processes such as back-end billing as they grow, it will ultimately drive inefficiencies and impact the bottom line.
Here are 4 ways to optimize your back-office operations:
1. Automate the end-to-end billing workflow
While UCaaS businesses are rapidly advancing from a technological capability perspective, often their back office is well and truly lagging behind.
Some businesses are relying on ‘swivel chair operations’ where the end-to-end billing process requires multiple team members to pass one manual task on to another, just to compile an invoice or bill and monitor that the revenue is coming in.
As a result, it is crucial that UCaaS businesses adopt an advanced billing platform that automates the entire quote-to-cash process. This includes everything quoting, sending contracts, provisioning a product or service, rating usage, applying taxes, invoicing, to recognising when revenue has been received. In addition, it should have the functionality to set up rules for overdue invoice follow-up, the ability to automatically deactivate or suspend services when payment is overdue, and recognise when an order amendment is required.
2. Streamline and integrate business-wide systems
It is not uncommon that UCaaS companies are relying on up to five different systems to manage each part of the billing process from customer management, CPQ, order provisioning, billing, to payment recognition.
This situation can easily happen when a business is rapidly growing. Initially when the UCaaS business is in its startup phase, it is a prerogative to keep costs to a minimum. Therefore, the business might just invest in a system to help with one element of billing, but then manage the remaining tasks through manual processes.
However, in reality, if a UCaaS business grows to the point that it is computing millions of transaction lines per month, the old billing model quickly becomes unsustainable.
Therefore, it is imperative that UCaaS businesses utilize an automated billing platform where all of the relevant functionality is included to manage the end-to-end process. Ideally the platform should be able to cover everything from setting up products, managing contracts, fulfilling orders, rating usage, applying taxes, billing, and recognizing revenue. Moreover, it should empower the business with knowledge on the latest customer interactions, and the ability to resell through partners and pay them in real time, without human intervention.
3. Leverage a tax integrator to make compliance an afterthought
Keeping on top of UCaaS taxation and reporting compliance can be a small headache. Taxation law is dynamic and constantly shifting. Moreover with so many nuances across geographical regions and ever changing taxation rules and laws, it can be a full time job to monitor these changes and ensure that your business is fully compliant.
There are several taxation platforms such as SureTax, Avalara, and CSI Compliance solutions that can do all the hard work for you in terms of ensuring the most relevant taxes are applied at a product and customer region level. Plus, they can also take care of the reporting side as well.
The positive news is that most advanced billing platforms in the market now fully integrate with such taxation platforms. Therefore, as you go through your billing process, the taxes are automatically pulled based on product categorization and customer region and applied to the resulting invoice. Furthermore, even complex rule-based taxes can be configured where there might be a product bundle or master contract where some taxes don’t apply to a particular line item or purchase order.
4. Harness a powerful usage-rating engine for data precision
With some UCaaS companies seeing transaction counts in the millions per month, it is easy for billing errors to occur if the systems in place can’t keep on top of computing this usage.
Sometimes these billing errors could be due to a discrepancy in a decimal place. However, those minor inaccuracies can lead to compounding lost revenue at the end of the day.
Hence, by adopting an automated billing solution that has an advanced usage-rating engine, reams and reams of data can be automatically pulled through an API feed from another downstream system or batch uploaded to ensure the accurate charges are applied to that usage in real time. There should be no need for manual human intervention, as the usage charge will then be automatically applied to the invoice.
Convinced that you could better streamline your billing process?
Explore a billing solution that can better automate billing workflows, reduce system and process duplication, keep your business tax-compliant, and compute data with accuracy. Talk to our billing & revenue management experts and take a tour of the OneBill platform today.