Remittance, quite simply, is the transfer of money by a customer for a certain product or a service used. Fundamentally, the concept seems quite simple and easy to understand. However, when one delves deeper, there are certain nuances that one would need to pay attention to. Especially, when a company or an organization is dealing with several sources of remittances.
When it comes to utilities in Australia, the process is quite simple. An invoice is generated from the utilities supplier with a due date mentioned on the invoice. Following this, the customer makes a payment based on the value to be paid on the invoice. In the case of SMEs or a Business-to-Business transaction, the process is slightly stilted.
Remittance process for SMEs
- An invoice is raised by the energy supplier (Infoveave client) for the consumption for the month.
- The invoice is generally a per facility invoice. For instance, a company could have multiple facilities within the same city. If a single business or an SME has three centers, there would be three invoices generated; one for each center.
- However, while there would be multiple invoices generated, the payment would come from a single source.
- After making the payment, the finance wing of the company would raise a Remittance Advice (proof that the payment has been made)
- The Remittance Advice is usually sent via email to the energy supplier as proof of payment made. The advice is sent either as a PDF, Excel Sheet or as an email with confirmation that the payment has been made.
The above-mentioned process would seem rather simple and straightforward. However, while dealing with hundreds and thousands of payments and on a daily basis, the process becomes rather monotonous.
The process was also prone to errors, especially due to the monotonous and boring nature of the work to be done by a human. And, with the AR/AP process to be done for several customers, the process done by a simulating agent would take several hours. However, with Infoveave’s RPA, here is how the process was automated.
- The bot is trained to scan the Invoice ID and Invoice Number for each invoice uploaded onto the system.
- The bot also had access to the Remittance Advice email sent which contained proof of payment made by the customer. The bot is trained to read files that are either HTML attachments, PDF files, or Excel files.
- The bot is trained to match the Remittance Advice to all the invoice IDs that have been cleared so that there is no discrepancy as to who has made the payment. This is especially effective when it comes to multiple invoices cleared by a single source.
- The RPA bot is then trained to enter the portal to verify the payment to make sure that the invoice amount reflects on the bank statements.
- Should there be any discrepancy at any stage of the process, the bot would flag the Invoice ID for any further verification. For instance, if the payee has forgotten to send the Remittance Advise following the payment, an automatic email is generated to the customer requesting the relevant document. The Infoveave RPA bot has been trained to do the same.
Following the deployment of the Infoveave Remittance RPA bot, the client was able to:
- Save previous time on processing each invoice and invoice ID.
- Verify payments using the Invoice ID, the portal, and the bank statement. A manual process would have seen two to three humans execute a task such as this.
- Reduce the need for a simulating agent
- Reduce human error
- Retain customers as a consequence of reducing human error.