COVID-19 adds to the billing conundrum

Johannesburg, 21 Aug 2020
Read time 3min 30sec
Barry Venter, CEO, Nashua
Barry Venter, CEO, Nashua

Keeping track of billable items is tricky at the best of times. But when your workforce is remote, it can be a nightmare. However, there are measures that businesses can implement to ensure seamless and accurate billing, says Barry Venter, CEO of Nashua.

For auditing and legal firms in particular, it’s essential to allocate billable items to the right customer, and to ensure that all actions performed on their behalf are accounted for. Accurate billing is not only for the benefit of the organisation; customers also prefer to receive a properly itemised invoice that doesn’t include a fee for miscellaneous items. It’s far better to itemise these type of items and put a cost next to each one.

All too often, miscellaneous refers to actions such as printing, scanning, copying, e-mailing or even phone calls. It’s essential to be able to allocate that cost accurately.

In the legal and auditing professions, it can be a challenge to keep track of billable hours and items such as phone calls, printed documents and e-mails. Venter explains: “If you’re a massive organisation and your workforce isn’t billing correctly, it could have a huge impact on your revenue. With a remote workforce, it’s more important than ever before to get billing right.”

Integration solutions are the key

It is entirely possible for a remote workforce to bill correctly; all they need is the right hardware and software.

It is imperative that the remote workforce is given access to the right tools to equip them to track billable items, regardless of where they are working. “The remote workforce should have exactly the same experience that they would have if they were in the office, with access to the right devices, phones and printers or scanners to enable them to work from home and track expenses. It makes good business sense for corporates to equip their employees with the right level of device that can work hand-in-hand with the required software.”

Business and customer benefits

Venter explains: “Software is able to link an action to a specific customer, so once you’ve e-mailed or made a call on behalf of that customer, you’re able to allocate it to a specific account. You type in the person’s name or the cost centre and at the end of month they’ll be sent a statement with the relevant costs allocated in an itemised list.”

This reassures the customer that they’re only being charged for services rendered as they can see exactly what they’re being charged for in addition to the legal or accounting services.

There are also benefits from a business point of view, over and above the bottom line. “Being able to monitor these types of costings enable the business to identify whether an employee is perhaps using their mobile device more than their landline, for instance, so a decision can be made on whether that person still requires a landline. If employees print more than they scan, once again a decision can be reached around which technology will be best suited for their purposes. It will also assist in better managing printing costs if items are being printed that could, instead, be digitised.

Venter says: “Costs can easily be missed or unallocated. If the employee is making a lot of calls during the course of the day, it’s easy to forget to allocate all of them. Automating the allocation of costs helps the individual to keep track of that type of oversight. The customer is reassured that they are only being charged for relevant items, while the business is assured that it is charging for actions performed. Both parties benefit.”

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