What is Complex Billing?

Complex Billing refers to the billing and charging in businesses and domains that require handling more complex rating and charging scenarios, including usage billing or consumption billing, recurring billing, more complex pricing models and additional functional use cases such as flexible invoicing, dunning and collection of bills etc.

EarnBill’s Complex Billing Features

EarnBill is a feature rich Billing and Revenue Management system that supports a host of complex billing features. Some of the most important complex billing features are listed and explained here for a quick reference:

Usage Billing or Consumption Billing

benefits of iot billing

The usage billing or consumption billing refers to tracking, measuring and charging of consumption or usage of a particular service used by the consumer, then rating the service according to the usage price and then billing those charges to the consumer in the periodic invoice.

This usage billing is an important feature for companies offering measurable and consumable service. It could be consumption of utilities such as gas, electricity or water, OR services such as internet, mobile data, mobile calls, fixed line calls, VoIP calls or data streaming.

EarnBill offers 2 important features for consumption billing, namely Billing Mediation which is a feature used for charging postpaid usage, whereas Online Charging System or OCS which is used for charging of prepaid usage.

Recurring Billing or Subscription Billing

The recurring billing or subscription billing is required by products or services that require recurring fees to be paid by the consumer of the service to the provider of the service in order to cover for the provider’s operational expenses to keep offering such a product or service.

It does not involve just one time fees paid by the consumer but a periodic fee is paid at a predetermined, agreed interval. Most typically such recurring billing periods are monthly, quarterly or annual.

 

benefits of iot billing

EarnBill’s recurring billing feature provides a great deal of flexibility to support different recurring plans, frequencies and billing periods at an organisation level as well as at the customer account level.

It also supports monthly anniversary billing which is a very common requirement now-a-days for companies who bill monthly for their services.

In the monthly anniversary billing, typically the user is billed on the first day he or she starts using the service and then that day is defined as the billing day for that customer account and an invoice is sent to him or her on the monthly anniversary of the same billing day.

Product Catalogue

benefits of iot billing

EarnBill provides a comprehensive product catalogue feature that allows to set up various product categories, products that represent various charges such as fees, penalties, discounts, adjustments and more.

It also allows companies to offer various schemes or bundled offerings by setting up the plans with their bundles in the system.

Pricing Strategies

0 – 10 GBEarnBill offers more than a dozen different pricing strategies that are required in complex billing and usage billing scenarios. Apart from the metered usage billing and rate card based billing in telecom mediation, there is tiered pricing, teaser pricing and peak hour pricing.

There is time of day pricing which is gaining importance in various domains. Let us look at some in-demand complex pricing strategies that are supported by EarnBill:

benefits of iot billing

 

    • Burstable Billing or 95th Percentile Charging

In this pricing strategy, the requirement is to provide a pricing strategy that can use 95th Percentile charging method (which is also known as Burstable Billing).

In this method of charging, it is expected that the usage representing the top 5% peak load is removed from the calculation and the rest of the usage is charged as per the defined rate.

This method of charging is popular with leased line services and broadband based internet services.

 

    • Tiered Pricing

In this pricing strategy, there are usage tiers defined for varying rates. You could either increase or decrease the rates if the usage crosses the tiers and moves up into the next tier. Whether you increase or decrease the price for the next tier solely depends on your business strategy.

The final amount charged for the usage is the cumulative sum of calculation for each slab. For example, if you define 4 tiers for internet usage as follows:

Plan Price
0 – 10 GB  $1/GB
10 GB – 20 GB  $1.25/GB
20 GB – 50 GB  $1.5/GB
Above 50 GB $2/GB

Let us say, a particular user utilises 55 GB for the given billing month, then the tiered pricing calculation will be as follows:

Charges for the month = (5×2) + (30×1.5) + (10×1.25) + (10×1) = 10 + 45 + 12.5 + 10 = $77.50.

 

    • Peak Off-Peak Pricing

This pricing strategy deals with services, utilities and goods that may have spikes in demands based on season or time of the year etc. In this pricing strategy, the prices increase during the peak seasons and reduce quite a bit (much below the average) during the off-peak seasons.

 

    • Time of Day Pricing

The time of day pricing strategy allows to set up different prices for different times in the day. The EarnBill time of day pricing strategy allows the user to define various time slabs during which different metered rates can be specified.

When the usage consumption is charged through billing mediation or through Online Charging System (OCS), the charging system looks at the time of day when the usage is being rated, and accordingly applies the pricing from different rate slabs.

Account Management

Complex Billing

EarnBill allows configuring customer contact details in a flexible manner. The companies can configure account types such as individuals, businesses, corporate, students, foreigners and more. For each account type, the system allows to capture different contact information.

For example, the address fields for individuals can be configured with basic fields such as address 1, address 2, city, state, country and postal code. In a corporate account, you can define contact information for primary and secondary contacts, a billing address and a shipping address etc.

EarnBill also allows configuring different payment methods for different account types. Similarly, different billing cycles, invoice templates, due date periods can be configured at the account type level.

Account Hierarchy

EarnBill allows defining complex account hierarchies depicting hierarchies that can exist in organisations (or B2B clients). Every customer account can have n-level sub accounts under them and ability to bill the sub accounts individually or apply their charges to the predefined parent account.

benefits of iot billing

Order Management

benefits of iot billing

Besides handling basic features of order management such as allowing to define different order periods, order statuses, start and end dates, pro rata charges etc, EarnBill order management allows more advanced features such as order level discounts, charging bundles and linking to various provisioning events such as service activation and deactivation etc.

Asset Management

This feature helps manage an organisation’s assets or inventory. The assets could be any tangible goods, equipment, network cables or instruments, routers, phones that are bundled with the plans, OR the assets could be intangible inventory of mobile numbers, toll free numbers, fixed line numbers, VoIP numbers etc.

These assets, whether tangible or intangible, are bundled with the service and need to be tracked for their statuses and availability. EarnBill provides maintenance, easy upload of assets data, tracking and status management of assets. It provides convenient inventory reconciliation reports to track your physical stock getting used against the sales.

benefits of iot billing

Smart Discounts

benefits of iot billing

EarnBill provides the ability to provide discounts in simple ways at the time of service order generation. The discounts could be one time or period based. A company could offer a  monthly discount on a monthly plan and keep an end date for the discount after 2 months, 3 months or 6 months depending on the initial discount period.

Flexible Invoices

EarnBill allows companies to design their own invoice templates through its invoice template generator feature (ITG). It also provides an easy mechanism to build and use complex, customised invoice templates.

The invoice can have different sections like account summary, service summary, billing adjustments, invoice lines and call itemisation.

benefits of iot billing

A company could add or remove sections in the invoice template as per their design and easily build HTML templates that could be used for email delivery of these invoices.

This allows companies to brand their invoices and invoice emails to meet their branding and marketing requirements through customer communication.

Billing Process

benefits of iot billing

EarnBill provides an automated end-to-end billing process that allows capturing of all charges, plan fees, penalties, cancellations, usage charges and taxes in an automated manner into the system and then using its recurring billing function to generate and send invoices to customers.

This automation greatly benefits your billing and finance departments and reduces your billing issues to a great extent.

Dunning and Collection

EarnBill provides an automated end-to-end billing process that allows capturing of all charges, plan fees, penalties, cancellations, usage charges and taxes in an automated manner into the system and then using its recurring billing function to generate and send invoices to customers.

This automation greatly benefits your billing and finance departments and reduces your billing issues to a great extent.

benefits of iot billing

Accounting Hand-off

benefits of iot billing

EarnBill can generate an easy-to-use accounting hand-off which can be tailor-made to match your accounting system’s requirements.

This ensures that all revenue data is posted into the accounting system in an automated manner and without any delays. This keeps the company’s financial data recording and reporting in good health.

Financial Reporting

EarnBill provides out-of-the-box reports that meet the most commonly expected reports from a Billing and Revenue Management System. However, its real flexibility lies in providing customised reports to meet the needs of the finance department with ease.

benefits of iot billing

Company Hierarchy

benefits of iot billing

EarnBill supports multi-tenancy which allows companies to decentralise their revenue tracking amongst their different departments, subsidiaries or different product offerings.

The revenue coming from each department / subsidiary / product stream can be tracked, billed and collected under different sub companies that are part of the company hierarchy. The root company can see the revenue coming from all sub entities just like a head office would do.

Wholesaler – Retailer Function

The Wholesaler – retailer function in EarnBill allows companies to set up their resellers as sub companies, providing a complete visibility into the reseller’s business.

Businesses can bring on board their resellers into the EarnBill platform, give them automation in capturing and processing data and make it a standardised process to onboard and bill the end customers.

benefits of iot billing

Agent Commissioning

benefits of iot billing

If the reseller model is not suitable and the business needs to maintain agents who got the end customer accounts, then the agent commissioning module from EarnBill suffices the need.

This module tracks the agents’ commissions based on configurable parameters and provides commission reports which help easy tracking and settlements.

 

 

Technical Features required for Complex Billing Implementation

Integration with EarnBill is very convenient and easy. There is good documentation for the API. The APIs are designed in a way that they are easy to understand and easy to use. It takes minimal development cycles to integrate with EarnBill and start achieving results.

The EarnBill system has been designed and developed to ensure high availability in its deployment architecture. The system can also scale to meet huge loads coming from transactions (web based or API based) or from high volumes of UDRs (Usage Data Records) or CDRs (Call Data Records).

EarnBill’s technical architecture and design allows customisation to the system more easily. It uses a plugin based architecture which allows the customisation to be done in plugins and avoids any impact on the core functions of the system.

EarnBill’s complex billing features make it one of the most flexible yet robust billing and revenue management systems. This is the BRM system to know more about if one is looking for a complex billing implementation.

For more information about EarnBill’s existing implementations, please refer to our Case Studies Page.