4 Easy Steps to Creating a Billing Schedule

Organize and Optimize

Creating a billing schedule is an essential part of managing your business's cash flow and ensuring consistent revenue streams. A billing schedule outlines the dates and amounts at which your customers will be billed for products or services they've purchased. In this article, we will discuss what a billing schedule is, including a product called NetSuite, and how to create a schedule. We will also explore the benefits of billing schedules and answer some frequently asked questions about this tool.

What is a Billing Schedule?

A billing schedule is a plan that determines when invoices will be issued and when payments are due. It outlines specific billing periods and includes recurring billing dates for ongoing services, the issue date for invoices, payment due dates and may even specify payment methods.

This organized approach to billing enables businesses to forecast revenue, manage accounts receivable efficiently, and improve their overall financial planning. When structured properly, a billing schedule minimizes the administrative burden of billing processes, prevents billing errors and enhances customer satisfaction with clear, consistent communication about their financial obligations.

What is NetSuite's Billing Schedule?

NetSuite offers a robust billing schedule system as part of its cloud-based business management suite, which is widely used for its accounting, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and e-commerce capabilities. NetSuite's billing schedule allows businesses to automate their billing processes tailored to their specific business needs, such as subscriptions, maintenance agreements or project-based billing.

With NetSuite, you can set up customizable billing schedules that automatically generate invoices according to the predefined intervals, handling both one-time and recurring transactions. NetSuite supports different billing methods, including fixed, milestone and time and materials. The system also provides real-time insights into billing and financial activities, enabling users to monitor pending invoices and cash flow effectively.

4 Easy Steps to Creating a Billing Schedule

1. Analyze Your Billing Needs

Before setting up a billing schedule, you must analyze and understand your current billing needs. Consider the types of services or products you offer, the frequency of billing required and the preferences of your customers. Identify the intervals for billing - whether monthly, bi-monthly or annually – and decide what model works best for both your business operations and customers.

2. Establish Payment Terms

Define clear payment terms, which specify when the payment is due after the invoice is issued. Common terms include net 30, net 60 or net 90 days – indicating that the payment is due 30, 60 or 90 days post-invoice date, respectively. Also, decide on late payment penalties or early payment incentives to encourage timely payments and consider including them in your billing schedule to enforce your payment terms.

3. Set Up Automated Invoicing

Leverage technology to automate your billing schedule. This can dramatically reduce the time and effort spent generating and sending invoices. Platforms like NetSuite allow for the configuration of recurring invoices that comply with your schedule, thus ensuring consistent billing without manual intervention. Automation can also help in reducing errors and ensuring no invoices are missed or sent late.

4. Monitor and Update

Although a billing schedule is set up to be automated, it still requires regular monitoring to ensure that everything is operating as it should. Occasionally review your billing schedule to make changes for new clients, discontinued services or updated payment terms. By staying on top of your billing schedule, you can quickly address any issues or adapt to changes in your business model.

5 Benefits of Billing Schedules

1. Improved Cash Flow Management

With a billing schedule, you can predict when you'll receive payments, making it easier to manage cash flow and plan for business expenses.

2. Time and Resource Efficiency

Automating your billing process saves time and reduces the resources required for manual invoicing. Instead of spending hours on administrative work, you and your staff can focus on growing the business.

3. Reduced Errors

Automation minimizes human error, ensuring more accurate billing. It also decreases the likelihood of missed or delayed invoices that could affect your relationship with clients.

4. Enhanced Client Relationships

Clients appreciate clear and consistent billing practices. A schedule informs clients when to expect charges and can include reminders, helping avoid confusion and building trust.

5. Better Financial Planning and Reporting

A schedule aids in forecasting your receivables more accurately, allowing for better financial planning. This clarity assists in creating more effective budgeting and reporting strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions about Billing Schedules

Q: What’s the difference between a billing schedule and a payment schedule?

A: A billing schedule is when the service provider plans to issue an invoice; a payment schedule refers to when the client plans to make payments.

Q: How often should I review my billing schedule?

A: Review your billing schedule at least quarterly to ensure it aligns with any changes in your business services or client contracts.

Q: What should I do if a client fails to pay according to the billing schedule?

A: First, communicate with the client to understand the reason for the delay. Consider if your schedule or terms need adjustment and ensure you have a clear late payment policy that can be enacted if necessary.

Q: Can billing schedules handle varying amounts of billing?

A: Yes, most billing schedule systems can handle variable billing amounts if set up correctly, accommodating things like overage charges or usage-based billing.

Q: How can a business shift from a traditional billing approach to a billing schedule?

A: Start by documenting all current billing procedures, then analyze and map out how those fit into a more structured billing schedule, making adjustments where necessary. Implementing a system like NetSuite can be very helpful in this transition.

Streamlining Your Finances

Implementing a billing schedule can streamline your business's financial operations, strengthen customer relationships and provide a solid foundation for growth. NetSuite's billing schedule functionality offers a customizable, robust platform that can assist your business in achieving these benefits. This tool keeps financial records organized and helps maintain a clear line of communication with clients about expected payment dates.