Paying utility bills can be expensive and time-consuming. By the time the bill is printed and prepared to be sent via mail, received, and then processed by the accounts payable department, companies often have a few days before it is due. If you’re feeling this pain, you’re not alone – automation of the Utility Bill Payment process can alleviate this problem, but is it worth the bother?
What are the seven signs your utility bill payment should be automated?
1. Your last Accounts Payable report showed you overpaid your utility bills
With hundreds (sometimes thousands) of invoices coming in every month, missing a discount for paying an electric bill on time or accidentally paying a water bill twice certainly adds up. Between lost pay-on-time discounts, late fees, and duplicate payments, your company could be losing hundreds to thousands of dollars each month.
2. You’ve calculated your actual cost to process an invoice, and it’s high
After receiving an invoice, the time it takes to process the information to pay the bill takes up your employee’s time, not to mention if you have to mail payments back. According to Concur, the average cost of processing an invoice is $12.90 for small businesses, going up to $40 for companies with a complex process.
Lowering this cost means more money in your department’s pockets and more time for your employees.
If you have more than 100 utility sites, it’s recommended that you should be considering outsourcing your utility bill payments.
3. Employee morale is dropping
Can automation really help with that? Yes, it can. Manual processes are exhausting and can lead to employee burnout. Automation gives your team the chance to put their energy into activities that will yield a higher return on investment or up-skilling in other areas of increased responsibility. Spending more time on these activities can advance their careers and your bottom line.
4. Your business is growing, and it’s growing fast
A growing business usually results in a resource-stretched Accounts Payable department. Automating the utility bill payment process with the right provider early on will mean your processes can scale along with the company’s growth. For the forward-thinking Accounts Payable department, this will result in more control over the increased workload and not having to resource the tasks by hiring new team members.
5. You spent considerable time tracking invoices down
Dealing with hundreds or thousands of invoices a month can be a handful. When you are processing such large numbers, tracking down missing invoices can be a nightmare. Utility bill management automation allows you to check in on the progress of your bills quickly. Suppose the solution you use is powered by Robotic powered technology and has additional validation checks built-in. In that case, it will also alert if anything irregular happens, an invoice is not received, or a bill is significantly higher than usual, etc.
6. You engage and pay a third party for utility spend reports
If you’re like most Accounts Payable departments, you are not recording the usage and consumption data from your utility bill during your invoice processing. Recording this, especially from your utility bills, can paint a bigger picture and provide important insights regarding how your company is tracking its sustainability goals.
7. Your company isn’t disaster-proof
Automation can help in disasters like COVID or a fire strike in your office. This may sound like a silly reason to automate, but it does happen. For example, what would happen if a tornado, flood, or fire damaged your office space? On top of dealing with the disaster, you now have to worry about how you’ll conduct energy audits when half of your files have disappeared. Automation means information is stored securely on a server offsite, and it is backed up on a secure cloud-based server.
Find out how cost-effective automating your Utility Bill Management can be by downloading our guide on The Untapped Power of RPA.