Considering adding an automated recurring billing system to your process? It’s the missing ingredient in many IT services businesses but can bring a lot of value by saving time and reducing errors. The tool is a must for MSPs, and even at a cursory glance, you’ll come across a variety of solutions that offer tasks, from generating invoices, accepting credit cards and ACH payments, as well as other essential tasks.
There are hundreds of online billing portals MSPs can use that claim to have recurring billing. However, if you look closely at the available options, one vital piece is missing: the automation, rendering the software’s purpose ineffective.
How can a recurring billing software lack automation? Well, most software that offers recurring billing doesn’t integrate with the PSA/CRM and accounting tools MSPs use.
Why is integrating with your tools important? MSPs, as well as other IT services providers, typically sign support agreements with their clients that last 12 months or longer. Those documents define the relationship, the services to be delivered, remedies for non-compliance, and perhaps most importantly for providers, the frequency and amount of the recurring payments. MSP billing is typically a monthly activity, which means most firms are sending out hundreds of invoices each year and making a similar number of transactions.
Overlapping processes breed chaos. The more clients MSPs support, the more difficult it is for their team to control its billing methods, accounts receivables, cash flow, and customer satisfaction levels. Invoices get overlooked, and bank deposits dwindle. If you’re using a recurring billing software that can’t adjust amounts based on the service agreement it’s going to create a significant amount of extra work on your team.
If your company struggles with any of those issues, it’s time to implement an MSP billing solution that automates the payment process. These systems empower your clients and minimize the manual steps and problems associated with collections. In addition to making fewer (if any) stressful collection calls, your employees won’t waste hours every month manually adjusting invoices.
Automated recurring billing solutions work behind the scenes transferring information and accepting collections each month without your team having to do anything. These systems are both seamless and effortless, offloading some of the most demanding yet critical tasks from MSP business owner’s responsibilities.
From invoice to bank deposit
Most MSP billing solutions claim to be fully automated, but even the most popular platforms require a customer to open an email message and click on a link before they can make a monthly payment. That might not seem like a big deal, but what if they never receive the message, the attachment gets switched or altered, or your client fails to notice or open the email? How much of a delay will that cause in the billing and collections process? Will your MSP ever get paid for that invoice?
A billing system that requires your customer to take some manual action can NOT be considered fully automated. Most MSP clients with recurring monthly obligations want simplicity. They prefer to input all their account details at the beginning of an annual agreement and not have to think about other processes until the contract comes up for renewal. An automated recurring billing system can fulfill that objective faithfully for customers and the MSP.
Each invoice posts on the client’s portal and the payment processes on the appropriate date. No fuss, and most importantly, no stressful billing problems for the customer or the MSP.
Prompt payments strengthen cash flow
A billing solution that is not fully automated also does not guarantee that the MSP will get paid on time every month. Why would anyone invest in a system that sends out an invoice at a prescribed time? Without process automation that directly impacts cash flow, its value is negligible.
Those solutions give your customers an opportunity to forget or delay their payments each month, which puts the MSP in an awkward position, essentially turning various team members into collections agents. How many of your employees would enjoy calling or emailing clients to discuss a long overdue invoice?
Without a proactive payment feature, MSP billing systems are no better than snail mail. Just print out each invoice, slap it in an envelope with a stamp, and save some money.
Simplify account management
Another feature that many of the so-called “automated” billing solutions leave out is the ability of the system to update contract information on its own. Many MSP customers end up adding or altering services and other deliverables at the midway (or other points) of their agreements due to expansion, contraction, and other business activities. Those fluctuations can significantly affect their monthly invoice and the billing process.
Most autopay solutions force an MSP to start from scratch and input a new agreement. MSP businesses with numerous clients can spend a lot of time and energy, updating billing information in those types of systems. Fortunately, you have other options.
Adopt an MSP billing solution that automatically updates agreements to reflect adjusted services and payments. For example, ConnectBooster doesn’t require you or your clients to intervene in any of those processes ̶ it changes the information in real-time with no human interaction.
Integration is the key to MSP billing
There is one final point to consider when an MSP is shopping for automated recurring billing software; a fully automated solution should connect seamlessly with other financial and service-oriented systems. Changes to contracts should reconcile automatically with whatever CRM, PSA, or accounting software your company uses.
No MSP should require its employees to manually enter clients’ credit, account, and other billing information across multiple applications. Technology is a more cost-effective option.
A truly automated MSP billing program integrates with the systems IT services professionals use to manage their operations. Those links help save time and money by automatically transferring relevant invoice and payment-related data to the appropriate place in each tool.
That “One Thing” can help grow your MSP
A completely automated monthly recurring billing process is the new Channel standard. Every MSP should be leveraging technology to streamline operations and improve its bottom line. Automating MSP billing methodologies, from contract changes and invoice generation to payment processing, addresses both objectives.
Technology has a way of fixing problems for your clients, so why not leverage those innovations to improve our internal processes? Collections present the perfect opportunity. MSP billing processes are repetitive and can be tiring and tedious for the employees charged with creating, managing, and accepting payment for each invoice.
No one has that much time to waste (especially an MSP). And billing certainly doesn’t need to be complicated. Most importantly, you deserve to receive on-time payments for the services your firm delivers each month.
Automated MSP billing is the answer. Solutions like ConnectBooster combine efficiency with best-in-breed collections technologies to make your job easier and customers happier.
It’s the perfect win-win option.
See what true billing automation would look like in your business.