12–14. Compress Billing Activities

When trying to achieve a fast close, many organizations find that the most intractable problem is how to get billings done sooner. Most other closing tasks can be shortened to a few minutes, but the problem with invoicing is that so much is shipped (or services billed) at month-end that the process becomes clogged and delays the closing. Here are five alternatives for improving the speed of the month-end invoicing process:

  1. Double up on invoicing labor. Have twice as many people work on the month-end invoices. If this requires the use of less-trained staff, then have them do the easy invoices and reserve the complex invoices for the regular staff. This can be a problem if the accounting software has licenses for only a smaller number of concurrent users.

  2. See attached. If fully extended billing information comes from a separate system and must be retyped into the billing software, then just put “see attached” on the invoice, along with the grand total, and then staple the detail to the invoice.

  3. Roll-forward error corrections. If the underlying detail used to create an invoice contains an error, then try to roll it forward into the next month’s invoice, or just issue a separate invoice in a few days, after the close is completed. The attitude should be that the first draft of an invoice will also be the last draft of that invoice.

  4. Cut and paste. If the billing information from another system can be dumped into an Excel or flat file, then cut and paste ...

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