How to choose a billing system: 5 things to consider
What is a billing system?
A billing system is a software application that generates invoices and collects payments from customers. It also keeps track of customer accounts, balances, purchases and other financial transactions. Billing systems simplify and streamline the billing process, making it easier to manage customer accounts.
Types of billing systems
For businesses with straightforward invoicing needs, a simple standalone billing system offers:
Billing basics: This includes essential tools like invoice templates and payment reminders.
Ease of use: These systems typically have a straightforward user interface, making them easy to use.
However, basic billing software might not suit businesses with more complex billing requirements. Businesses may, for example, want to offer multiple online payment options and get insights into who has paid and who still owes.
They may also want to enable customers to make bulk payments or be able to integrate their billing system with their other software.
Advanced billing systems
For businesses with more complex needs, advanced billing software is the go-to, offering you:
Systems integration: These systems are designed to integrate with other software applications to support diverse business processes.
Tailored functionalities: From custom workflows to in-depth analytics, these billing systems offer features that can meet a company's next-level requirements.
Growth-ready flexibility: Built with scalability in mind, advanced billing software can accommodate a business's growth and expansion without affecting everyday operations.
An organisation's industry can also influence its choice of billing system. In business-to-business companies, for example, pricing structures and terms may vary from one contract to another, adding to complexity.
This may not be the case in a business-to-consumer context, but these companies may still have advanced billing requirements if they have a large customer base and a high volume of transactions.
Billing system benefits
Businesses are increasingly adopting automated billing software because of its many benefits, including:
Centralised data management
Billing systems combine customer and billing information, making record-keeping simpler and more efficient.
Professional brand presentation
Many billing software options let you add your logo and personalise your invoices to match your business branding.
Prompt invoicing and payment
Thanks to billing system automation and online payment options, you can send invoices sooner and collect payments faster.
Workflow automation across business systems increases accuracy by reducing errors caused by manual data entry and re-entry of billing details.
Billing systems often integrate seamlessly with other financial and customer relationship management systems, optimising your business processes.
With templates for invoices and quotes built into the billing system, you can make sure your documentation is compliant and not missing any key information.
How to choose a billing system: 5 considerations
1. Evaluate business needs
Your unique business needs should guide your billing system purchasing decision. Without a comprehensive grasp of your requirements, you may invest in a system that lacks essential features or is too advanced for your business. Getting the right solution for your needs means you're not paying for redundant features or missing out on crucial ones.
Begin by cataloguing your current billing processes and challenges. For example, if timely payments are a concern, look for a billing system that offers automated payment reminders for overdue invoices so you don’t need to spend time on the phone or on email following up. If data accuracy is a painpoint, you may want to look for a system that uses AI to reduce manual data entry.
Factor in potential changes too, especially if your business anticipates growth in the coming years. For example, the scalability of your system may be important to you if you anticipate higher transaction volumes or having more people in your business in the years to come.
2. Ensure usability and reliability
Any efficient system starts with usability. Even if your new billing software offers impressive features, it won't do much good if your staff struggles to use it. Similarly, a glitchy system won't help you much, no matter how easy it is to use. A balance between intuitive design and reliable functionality is key to successful daily operations.
To ensure the software you're considering matches your usability expectations, read reviews and testimonials from current users. Also, look for vendors who offer demos or free trials. Being able to try before you buy allows your team to evaluate the software's ease of use and check it aligns with your operational workflows.
3. Consider ease of integration
A billing solution should support your operations, not complicate them. Billing software that doesn’t integrate well with your current systems can cause many problems, from data entry errors to process inefficiency, which can be time-consuming and costly. Worse, any delays or mistakes can lead to customer dissatisfaction and revenue loss.
Look for billing software that integrates seamlessly with your current software. Most systems come with some level of integration, but be sure to check your system requirements first. You can test a demo or contact a customer service representative to learn more about the software's capabilities. The simpler the integration setup, the less time troubleshooting in the future.
4. Verify adequate security
Data security is crucial to a business, especially when billing details are involved. Lack of adequate security may expose your business to cyber-attacks and data breaches, resulting in data loss, financial loss and reputational damage.
Before selecting a billing software system, check if it has adequate security protocols. Features like advanced encryption, regular updates and adherence to industry standards such as ISO 31000 are crucial. The most effective systems will have a robust security commitment, built-in fraud protection and periodic security audits. Remember, the right billing system safeguards both your business and reputation.
5. Be mindful of pricing
You should also consider your budget when picking billing software. Choosing the most affordable solution may seem appealing, but getting value for money is more important. Often, the cheapest solution may not be the best option or may not provide the functionality you need, leading to additional costs if you need to add features or switch systems.
As you evaluate billing systems, balancing cost with features is the key to finding the right fit. Make sure your financial projections include all costs, but also consider the value billing software can generate for you in shortening payment times and saving you administrative work. Sometimes, a slightly higher upfront investment to get the features you need yields significant long-term rewards.
MYOB’s in-built billing system
MYOB is a business management platform with an in-built billing system. Whether you just have a few customers or have complex billing needs, you can choose the plan and additional functionality that’s right for you.
Create and send compliant invoices from any device with MYOB. Cut your time spent on invoicing admin, reduce customer queries, have an audit trail for tax purposes and most importantly, get paid quicker with MYOB.
At MYOB, we have you covered.