With the growing demands of mobility, many organizations are struggling with a reliable process for managing and improving carrier billing. The problem, however, is more complicated than it seems. For example, many still consider bills received in electronic format to be an unreliable method for carrier payments.
Carriers often require customers to use a summary version of the paper bill for payments. The total amount due on electronic bills rarely matches paper bills. Differences between paper and electronic bills are more than just rounding errors. All versions of the bill should contain the same level of detail, and be equally reliable for audit back to contractual rates and terms and bill payment.
In addition, the telecom industry has clung to the expensive Value Added Networks (VAN) for transmission of Electric Data Interchange (EDI) bills rather than Applicability Statement 2 (AS2). Like many other industries, it is time for the telecom market to adopt AS2 to transmit EDI files. This minor change can lead to serious improvements.
Another area of improvement pertains to the actual monthly billing process. Typically, enterprises don’t receive a single bill each month from their carrier or operator for all services. The main reason why telecom providers do this is because they process bills on different dates for different services.
Large organizations have big challenges managing different dates for invoices that span multiple cities, states, or countries. Instead of billing for services by region or service, carriers should start with the customer and provide the entire enterprise with a single bill for all of its services.
The bigger question to be asked is what causes these delays? There are significant delays between the invoice date, receipt date, and date that funds are applied to an invoice after it has been paid.
In many cases, customers receive actual bills two weeks after the date that was printed on the invoice. While it is common to attribute delays to mail delivery, even bills that are received electronically can have lags between the invoice date and its receipt. Delays in applying the funds can produce late payment penalties or service disconnects. These delays need to be reduced.
The content of this article was provided by TEMIA. For more information, visit www.temia.org.