Daily Checks & the Billing Procedure

Note: This article is written based on the Smile 6 billing system.

This newsletter provides a template, a suggested framework of common steps, upon which you can build your own regular billing procedure.

The billing procedure documented here is accompanied by a regular checklist that should be actioned as required in support of the billing procedure and in particular on the billing day.

In the future we will develop a guide that provides a deeper explanation of the summary provided here.

Regular Billing System Checklist

(For larger customers, this would be done daily)

In most cases, aim to process the items in this check list regularly, aiming to keep the lists clear

  1. Dispatch Queues (Inomial > Billing > Dispatch)

Note, the “Incomplete Dispatch” dashboard tile, is a quick way to see a count of the dispatch entries queued awaiting for dispatch.

  1. Check the Open Invoices Report (Analytics > Open Invoices)

Make sure you don’t have charges that should be billed that have ended up forgotten on a draft invoice.

  1. Check for Deferred Invoice Items (Analytics > Billing > Deferred Invoice Items)

Deferred invoice items will be included in the invoices created during the next billing run.  Check these are as you expect.

  1. Attention Payments (Dashboard). Action any issues as required.
  2. Incomplete Payments (Dashboard). Ensure payment processing is up to date.
  3. Payments (Inomial > Billing > Payments)

(Depends on set up re. frequency and payment providers)

Check that payment processing is up to date.  Customers expect balances on invoices to correctly reflect payments made prior to the invoice date.

  1. Check for Unallocated credits (Inomial > Billing > Unallocated Credits). Check that all credits are allocated where this is possible.
  2. Daily Connection Report (Analytics > Daily Connection Report)

Use this report to confirm usage patterns are as expected.  It may help to alert you to problems with a supplier feed.

  1. CDR processing (Inomial > Import CDRs (View Errors)). Many errors can be addressed before the bill run.  For example, you may have CDRs for a subscription you have yet to set up.  Use this report to keep on top of these issues during the month.

Billing Procedure

  1. Complete the Regular check list (above) first
  2. Process the Billing: (Inomial > Billing > Generate Invoices)
  3. Approvals

Before approving invoices, use Analytics (Inomial > Analytics) reports to get an overview of the draft invoices awaiting approval.  Search for reports with these words in the title:

  • “Unapprove”
  • “Billing Review”

They will give a guide to the billing that has been processed so that you can validate that it is within expectations before you approve the new draft invoices.

In Inomial > Billing > Invoice Approval and QA, check minimum invoices and max invoices, spot check some different customers (checking within the different price ranges in the approvals often shows groups of customers on the same plan).

If corrections are needed cancel the affected approvals (or all approvals), fix and then re-process the billing. Once satisfied that the invoices awaiting approval are correct, approve the invoices.

Note: on approval account balances will be updated, which means they will be visible to customers, e.g. via a customer portal.

Other reports which are balance or invoice (approved) based, can then be used.  The report “All Sales, By Month” is a key report typical of this.  Note, its data is usually refreshed only overnight.  If you wish to check these types of reports before proceeding further, run the overnight data refresh process first: Inomial > Analytics > Refresh fact tables …  For most customers it will typically take 5-10 minutes to complete.  It depends on the size of your system.

If you have additional reports that you wish to review to validate the monthly processing, run these now before you move to the next steps of closing the reporting period and dispatching to your customers.

  1. Close the reporting period. You may run any other management reporting that would normally be required of you now or after the next step (Dispatch).
  2. Dispatch (Inomial > Billing > Dispatch). Dispatch the invoices.  Note, this is commonly the point where you are committing the invoices to your Customers – it is the last step in the process.  You can’t “undispatch” so it’s essential that all checks and validation has been completed prior to dispatching.