Utility Bill Automation – 5 Reasons to Start Automating Today
5 reasons you should implement utility bill automation today
It’s difficult to manage your utility payments if you’re not a utility bill expert and still rely on outdated manual processes. This post will explain some of the biggest challenges of utility management and how automating utility payments can make a world of difference.
Many companies lack a streamlined utility bill management process; as a result, managing their monthly utility bills quickly becomes a costly and time-consuming process. The lack of efficient workflows leads to recurring late fees, lost bills, billing errors, and missed opportunities to gain important business insights from utility data. These consequences stem directly from the data they have access to, which is disorganized and often incorrect due to a variety of reasons.
The challenges of utility management
There’s a lot more that goes into managing a company’s utility bill payments than most people realize.
First and foremost, pay periods are extremely short (net 10-15), so it’s easy to miss deadlines, resulting in late fees, erroneous charges, service shutdowns, or adjustments that result in time-consuming disputes.
Receiving the bills and capturing their data is also a problem. Many utility providers do not offer electronic invoices, and their clients need to log in to their portal and download their invoices, assuming that is the format they need. This is not a very sustainable strategy when you have a huge number of bills. Paper bills, the most common format for utility bills, can easily get lost in the mail; even if they do arrive on time, they still need to be keyed in manually which is extremely inefficient if you have many of them.
Even if you have a dedicated employee tracking all of these bills and their payments, bills may get lost, payments may get missed, late fees may be incurred, and service shutdowns may happen. All of these impact your vendor relationships, level of customer service, brand perception, and of course, revenue.
Data accuracy is also one of the greatest challenges in utility bill management. Different utility bills come in different structures and units of measurement, which makes it difficult to get a bird’s eye view of your overall consumption. Manual data entry is prone to errors, billing errors are common, and aggregated data is hard to acquire. Additionally, measurement units are not always consistent across different vendors.
Identify areas where you can save money
There are many financial benefits to automating your company’s utility payments. One of the simplest and most immediate cost that you can avoid is paying unnecessary late fees. Most businesses are unaware of just how much money they are paying every month in late fees because it takes so long to process invoices with such short pay terms. Along with streamlining your invoice payments, automation can also detect duplicate bills or incorrect charges much faster and can check meter reading continuity for billing accuracy.
Automation allows you to easily track consumption performance and compare it to your company’s estimated projections. This will allow you to quickly identify usage spikes and uncover additional opportunities for savings. And with enough data, you can accurately forecast future utility consumption and expenses. This empowers you to confidently create realistic budgets going forward.
Set up flexible systems that work for you
When you automate your bill payments, you will design a flexible system specifically tailored to the needs of your organization. You will have the ability to continually change, adapt, and expand these systems as your organization grows allowing you to sustainably keep up with company expansion at any rate.
This unique design approach becomes incredibly difficult if you’re reliant on manual processes. Most businesses fail to get ahead because they don’t have the ability to quickly adapt to changes in the marketplace.
Gain greater insights into your data
Your monthly utility bills contain a wealth of information. By correctly capturing, auditing, and validating data, you can gain valuable insights into your company’s utility usage.
But utility bills are complex and often difficult to understand. There may be multiple units of measurement and you’ll likely have a number of different vendors to deal with. It’s hard for most businesses to get a handle on their utility data and the bigger the company, the more difficult it becomes.
Automation software provides a scalable way to collect and interpret crucial data. When your bills enter your platform, large amounts of data are automatically extracted and aggregated within an accessible, centralized location. Once this data is in the system, it’s much easier to find actionable ways to use it.
Become more competitive in the marketplace
Most companies are sitting on a wealth of data; the problem is that they don’t know how to access and utilize all that information. According to Forrester, 60-73% of a company’s data goes unused. If you fall into this statistic, it’s actually hurting your business and preventing you from moving forward. This can show up in the form of lost revenue, low productivity among employees, and more.
Ultimately, automating your utility bills is about more than just saving money or improving operating efficiency. It’s a strategy that can help your company operate at a higher level and become more competitive in the marketplace.
How to get started
Automating your utility bills provides a way for your company to simplify management of complex utility data. By streamlining this process, you’ll be able to apply this data in a way that brings value to your company. This only becomes more important the larger your organization grows, which is why Goby’s AP Automation solutions streamline and automate your utility bills, invoices, processes, and workflows. We can help you identify missed opportunities and reduce time spent on manually processing invoices. Click here to learn more about our utility bill automation services.