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For electricity, other energy providers, and telecoms operators, the Global Billing Association (GBA) is conducting a series of 2005 Initiatives looking at ways to achieve best practice efficiencies and customer service benefits across their billing, revenue management and collections operations. 

From the payments perspective, one of the greatest challenges to a utility’s cash flow is that it can take anywhere up to 90 days to present bills and collect receivables. Reasons for this range from bill delivery delays and the need for reminder procedures on the billing side, to manual invoice reconciliation, a slow approval cycle and inefficient payment channels on the part of payers.

In the telecoms world, the average number of days between billing cut and distribution of invoices is four days, and around 27% of invoices remain outstanding ten days after the normal credit terms for the line of business. How does your operation compare? For one of its 2005 Billing Initiatives, the GBA will be focusing on payments, and specifically areas for improvement in the payment process, researching such industry Key Performance Indicators as:

• Levels of bill disputes by customer segment
• Levels of bill queries relating to payment disputes
• Average days sales outstanding (DSO)
• Range and use of payment types by customer segment
• Collections reporting visibility time
• Levels of accounts payable disputes
• Levels of manual reconciliations.

The 2005 GBA Payments Initiative leader is Steve Wright, Director of Global Marketing at CheckFree.

The GBA believes that benchmarking exercises play a key role in improving business process efficiency,and is extending its expertise to include cross-industry reference data. Knowing where you stand within your own community is useful – understanding how other industries address similar issues as yours can make a huge difference.

Alex Leslie
Executive Director, GBA
Delivering knowledge and networking to the billing community, world-wide.