By: Rick Sung

Computer Network

Does anyone really enjoy paying bills? Pity a retailer’s accountants who receive thousands of invoices from service providers on a daily basis. Too often than not, one bill consists of information from multiple work orders which must be crosschecked and verified before being processed. Now, multiply the time it takes to complete this task by the number of stores in a retailer’s vast database. The results are overwhelming and can certainly not be achieved without the help of an extensive accounting team.

Processing payments is an important part of doing business, a critical element in establishing trust and building long-term relationships. But because it doesn’t produce revenue, senior management often may not prioritize this function in terms of allocating resources and staff. [bctt tweet=”Meanwhile, research has shown the average cost to process an invoice is between $25 and $35 per bill….it adds up.” username=”enternest”]

That’s why NEST has created a value-add service that consolidates the billings of multiple Independent Service Providers (ISPs) and their functions into one single invoice that our clients can easily download into their own systems. So, humbly, the following are the top five reasons why one should consider consolidating their invoices:

  1. You Save Time: The accounting staff must log, verify, and sign-off on each item on each invoice. Some organizations bill on different schedules, adding another layer of tracking. NEST, consolidates all of our transactions into one ZIP file that is easily downloadable into the retailer’s own payment system.
  2. You Save Money: Processing invoices is expensive. Multiply all of the activities mentioned above to process just one bill from one vendor by dozens or even hundreds of service providers, and the expense becomes quite significant. NEST takes care of the data collection and verification, a job made easier through the sophisticated technology we give our ISPs.
  3. Your bills are accurate. It’s a fact of life: People sometimes make mistakes. It could be a service provider making a simple typo and billing the wrong amount, or a mix-up of work orders between two different clients. The same is true on the client side; sometimes a mistaken duplicate could be missed. Through NEST’s sophisticated technology, many of these errors are automatically eliminated. Specialists on our accounting team provide quality control to check invoices for errors and to ensure that the work was done to satisfaction at agreed-upon pricing.
  4. You receive improved compliance and audit trails. With a consolidated invoice, always available on our Facilitate platform, our clients can access the data they need for compliance and audit purposes from literally anywhere. The service can even extend beyond billing: One nationwide retail client was struggling with different state tax codes – we mapped out all the codes and the client was able to use that table across the nation so they could check that they were billed properly.
  1. It helps strategic planning. NEST’s consolidated but detailed invoices give a true snapshot of what is being spent for services. This allows us to detect patterns, analyze expenditures and help our client’s better plan for the future. We can alert the client within moments if he or she is approaching a budget cap so they can make adjustments.

The consolidated billing process can be performed over an entire portfolio of stores. However, it’s equally effective for just one project, helping the client or the ISP see all of the services performed for that work. No project manager wants to analyze and process 300 separate invoices – working with one consolidated batch invoice speeds up processing and helps to report metrics back on the work. Data can be analyzed to see where even more savings can occur in the future and help forecast for future projects.

Consolidation is helping NEST as well. Being that we are 20,000 Independent Service Providers strong, we can aggregate our buying services for insurance, materials, etc., saving costs that we can then pass on to our customers. NEST is in the early stages of developing an awards program that will allow our clients to earn rewards and points to apply to enhancements to our technology.

Batching invoices into one easily read and understood document is a win all around – for the managers who want to understand their expenditures, the ISPs who seek efficiencies to maximize their profits, and for NEST so that we can be the best possible strategic partners for our clients.

What is your current process for managing work orders and invoicing? Is it working for you?

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