5 ways Utility companies can put a stop to revenue leakage through billing

It’s time to get real about lost revenue.

In fact, many Utility businesses can have revenue slipping through the cracks each week due to inaccurate billing. “Studies reveal that revenue leakage in utilities in developed countries accounts for 1 to 5% of their revenue.” (Source: EnergyCentral).

There can be many root causes, but most often it has to do with a billing platform having a lack of advanced computing capabilities, workflow automation and intelligent reporting tools.

Let’s explore 5 ways that Utilities businesses can put a plug in revenue leakage with an advanced billing platform.

1. Accurate Usage Rating

Computing charges by usage metering based on actual usage, irrespective of the usage unit is the starting point of plugging revenue leakage. Whether the service usage unit is in kilobytes, MB, GB, calls, minutes, licenses, features, software usage, data, messages sent, bandwidth, or any form of storage, Utility businesses need to correctly track this usage to calculate correct customer invoices.

However, it is imperative that usage can be captured to the detail of multiple decimal points, otherwise the rounding can have a compounding impact on long term revenue gains.

Therefore, Utility businesses need an intelligent utility billing platform that can help them map their CDR files to usage charges and correctly manage bulk usage transaction records. The platform should also have the right API integrations between the source system and billing platform or have a file-based approach that can be connected to the FTP location for processing CDR rating. This makes sure that no usage goes unnoticed.

2. Advanced Taxation Calculation

Let’s face it, taxation is an integral part of the billing process. However, it can have many complexities and nuances depending on the region of the country that a sale is made in. Given the stringent compliance and regulatory landscape, having a top-notch taxation capability within a billing platform, not only drives compliance, but helps Utilities businesses minimize potential audit risks and huge revenue losses.

Improving tax determination accuracy is critical to prevent revenue leaks from impacting the bottom line. Therefore Utilities businesses need to be empowered and have the capability to calculate sales and use tax, VAT/GST, and specific taxes for sales and purchase transactions.

To achieve this, they need a billing platform that enables them to capture the right tax information and calculate it in real-time during the invoicing process. The billing platform should also integrate easily with other taxation platforms to ensure the application of correct taxation codes that apply to the products and services on offer.

3. Workflow automation

When you’re a growth Utility business with hundreds of customers initiating and suspending services, keeping on top of these changes can be significantly complex, if it’s left up to human intervention or manual processing.

Without the accurate workflows embedded in your billing system, you can be more susceptible to missing changes in customer status and as a result, inaccurately billing the end customer.

Therefore it’s crucial to have a billing platform powered with advanced workflow automation, to ensure that changes in customer status can trigger the appropriate adjustments in invoicing charges in real time.

4. Automated triggers to follow up on overdue payments

Incurring missed customer payments, failed credit cards, or overdue payments is common for most businesses. However, the issue doesn’t have to be significantly problematic if there are sufficient processes in place to follow up and ‘nudge’ these outstanding balances to be resolved in a timely manner.

Part of this solution involves having a sound integration built between a billing platform and a payment platform, to set up triggers that can retry making a charge multiple times. Furthermore through setting up rules in the billing system, follow up invoice reminders can be triggered when a payment is overdue for collection.

5. Intelligent reporting tools

Without the appropriate insights and reporting tools, Utilities businesses can essentially be flying blind on potential lost revenue. Even with high-level accounts receivables reports, it is easy to miss potential lost revenue if the report can not be drilled down to a more micro level or segment.

Hence, having accurate reporting tools available in a billing platform is imperative to being on the front foot of identifying when revenue has been leaked. Even better, reports that reveal a revenue forecast can quickly bring to light the long term impact of these inaccuracies.

To learn more about OneBill’s advanced usage-rating engine, taxation, workflow automation and reporting tools, book a demo with us today.