Automating paperless billing drastically improves efficiency, cost, and security for banks and financial organizations.
According to InsiderIntelligence, approximately 87% of millennials have switched to paperless payments in 2021. In hindsight, this highlights the importance of going paperless for banks and the urgency with which this change must diffuse.
Paperless banking, until recently, has been associated with paperless statements produced by banks. While this is partly true, it is only a small part of a larger ecosystem.
The paperless ecosystem encompasses all practices that can be automated and offered digitally to create more productive, environmentally friendly, and user-friendly service interactions and transactions.
Now, if you are a developer or a professional working in banking or other financial industries, switching to paperless banking isn’t something you can do in a few days.
But hopefully, by the end of this guide, you’ll have a better idea of how to automate paperless billing for banks and embrace paperless banking.
Here's what we'll cover:
- Paperless Billing: An Insight Into How It Works
- Paperless Billing: The Right Solution For Your Financial Institution?
- Steps to Consider When Automating Paperless Billing For Banks
Paperless Billing: An Insight Into How It Works
First, what is paperless billing exactly?
Paperless billing refers to the comprehensive and customer-intuitive shift from traditional print bills to the efficient and less clutter-intensive digital delivery system.
The ideal paperless billing system is heavily dependent on automated document generation.
Document generation automatically produces operations-critical documents like invoices, contracts, statements of accounts, financial reports, and more.
The automatic generation of these documents ensures that bankers and accountants don't need to manually compile and format these document types before processing and sending them.
As a result, it leads to the effective optimization of daily operational processes.
In other words, this saves a lot of manual hours and allows employees to focus on more productive work tasks.
Why is paperless billing important?
There are a few reasons to consider here.
- According to McKinsey, 59% of businesses going paperless achieved full ROI on their operations within 12 months. Meanwhile, 84% achieved payback in less than 18 months.
- AIIM market survey claims going paperless can improve staff productivity by nearly 30%. And lack of management leadership and individual preferences are the two main reasons why there is still so much paper in the workspace.
- And according to Randrmagonline, a typical employee spends around 30-40% of their time looking for information in filing cabinets. Meanwhile, 70%of businesses today would fail within the first three weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of paper records (e.g. fire or flood).
This is not to mention the benefits of saving time and money, based on workflow automation.
You can achieve digitized automation of these documents in-house by leveraging the use of automatic document generation tools to generate custom documents in real-time.
These software fill out various static templates with dynamic personalized information from relevant databases to generate custom documents on the go.
Here’s what those terms mean.
In the context of automated document generation, static information is data that doesn't change regardless of the customer dynamics.
These data are constant for each document template your bank offers, from customer to customer.
An example of static information is your institution's name and address in the document header section.
So, whenever you’re generating new documents, this information will be the same everywhere.
Dynamic information on the other hand is data that is unique to each customer.
This means that data changes on the document template depending on your customers' personalized information.
Dynamic info usually includes customers' information, their names, account numbers, social security numbers, etc.
Now that we covered how paperless billing and automated document generation work, let's explore the relevance and significance of this concept in detail for banks.
Example of how paperless billing works for banks
Let's consider a situation that requires any bank to draw up loan contracts for customers.
The bank has to tailor each of these contracts to every customer's need.
Rather than leveraging the traditional manual generation method, you can automatically draw up these contracts.
The customization will use the same template (static), while each personalized detail will be unique (dynamic).
Manually inputting and formatting these contracts takes time and effort, and then, there is the problem of human errors.
However, when you automate these processes, you can eliminate these issues, significantly boosting productivity in your bank.
Equipped with the right document generation solution, you can easily automate document rendering for multiple customers daily, and at lightning speed. Each document consists of static content that is unchanged, and dynamic content that is updated for each customer.
Read on for more practical examples of documents you could be automating as a bank or financial institution!
Paperless Billing: The Right Solution For Your Financial Institution?
The progressively complex service requirements of millennials and generation z individuals have ensured that banks and other financial institutions need to be on their toes to match their pace.
Purely paper-based frameworks can no longer match the demand for increasingly optimal service offerings required to cater to users and the intensifying regulatory and compliance guidelines.
This is where electronic document management systems (EDMS) come in.
It offers seamless productivity and efficiency at virtually no demerit, featuring innovation in operations through workflow optimization.
Here's a comprehensive run-through of how automated document generation will facilitate paperless switching for your bank or financial institution.
With the right document generation tool, whether it is a simple custom letter or a multi-page contract, your bank can easily automate the generation of custom documents in an instant.
In the case of user-specific documentation, the docs generation framework allows the system to automatically populate these unique data from your pre-existing databases.
Here, document generation facilitates the total digitization of your bank's framework, leaving less room for error.
Static templates and document assembly features enable intelligent assistance and optimized composition and delivery of accurate, as well as helpful reports inside and outside your institution.
Auto-generated forms that can be featured online and offline are available for the collation of required data.
The addition of paperless solutions affords professional and proprietary survey options that will facilitate sustained engagement with your customers and collect in-depth, actionable data.
The introduction of document generation solutions will enable your bank to easily collate signatures for contracts, payments, releases, and more, plus this can be done remotely.
Your bank or institution can exponentially increase efficiency and reduce redundancy through the elimination of repetitive signature requirements.
The data Routing and advanced data routing features that paperless banking affords will allow your banking system to speedily generate multiple documents from a single data feed.
The combination of multiple files is also possible by leveraging the advanced routing features of automated document generation tools.
Banking and financial documents you should be generating automatically
Now that we’ve explored how automated document generation works when it comes to paperless billing, here are some more examples of documents financial organizations can automate:
- Invoices and bills.
- Bank Statements
- Credit Reports
- Account opening, update, or closing forms
Other than the listed documents, additional documents you might want to automate are loan contract forms, payment notifications, and the different types of financial reports you use regularly.
Is paperless billing the right system for your financial organization?
Let’s take a look at what you should be considering when automating your documents and financial contracts.
Steps to Consider When Automating Paperless Billing For Banks
Before you embark on the journey to automate paperless billing for your bank, you need to know that there are a few requirements that your solution has to cater for.
These requirements represent the rule of thumb you have to comply with, to successfully complete your automation mission right the first time.
These requirements include;
- Interoperability of various systems.
- Compliant document management practices.
- Comprehensive security protocols.
Once you've made a mental note that emphasizes the importance of this rule of thumb, it's time to explore practical steps that you can follow to automate paperless billing for your bank.
These steps include:
- Creating a comprehensive assessment of your requirements and needs when it comes to paperless billing.
- Setting short and long-term goals.
- Defining process specifications and information in detail.
- Determining the course of action or strategy that’s right for your financial organization.
- Implementing and executing the above.
Now, let’s take a look at each step in detail.
Step 1. Comprehensive assessment
- How well do I understand the intricacies of the paperless billing system?
- Where exactly are the paper clutter nexus in my bank?
- How can I drive up value by leveraging digitization?
These are questions you might need to answer sufficiently. It is not enough to answer these questions, you also need to know why you are asking them and what your answer will translate to in real life.
We can provide a long list of a checklist you can tick to prepare you for automating paperless billing in your bank; however, this won't cut it.
Your bank is unique in its operational setup. There is an element of individuality that you need to sufficiently explore to tailor a solution that will match your bank's uniqueness.
This individuality is often overlooked. Moreover, going paperless isn't just a trendy concept that you want to mirror to stay relevant.
Always have it at the back of your mind that you are primarily evolving your systems to drive value to compete healthily and match customer expectations.
Step 2. Set short and long term goals
Now, you've completely understood how paper drives operationality in your bank, and you understand what your goal is - automation. You might want to set short and long-term goals for the transition.
The road to automation is not a one-step leap to success. You need to leverage your understanding of the paperless billing concept and your bank's individuality to set realistic goals (short- and long-term), and achievable objectives.
Some common goals include:
- Eliminate manual data entry to cut down on transcription error
- Improve customer experience by upgrading account opening/closure procedures
- Integrate payment gateways with billing systems for quicker process time, and improve visibility on the efficient and customer-centric means of customer management
- Deliver paperless statements to a stipulated percentage of the clientele base.
Step 3. Define processing specifications in detail
Completely mapping out your bank's entire organizational workflow might be your biggest challenge yet in your transition process.
In order to comprehensively define your processing parameters, you need to holistically analyze the volume and nature of statements, billing reports, and other financial documents your automated system will capture and process.
The importance of including front desk employees in the development of your automation strategy cannot be understated. They can provide you with situational insights into the nature of challenges they face with already existing paper processes.
Moreover, the involvement of these individuals in mapping out your system's functional requirements will ensure their compliance and ease organizational paradigm shift.
Essentially, this step requires you to clearly define your functional requirements and systems operation parameters.
Do well to avoid the compilation of irrelevant checklists, rather focus on improvements that will drive growth and ease customers to adapt seamlessly to change.
Step 4. Determine course of action and strategy
In the event that you have successfully defined the nominal requirements of your ideal automation system, what you want to do next is to strategize to achieve, realize and effect these changes in your framework.
There are a couple of different ways you can tackle your strategy.
You need to decide what you want to do and how you want to do it. This step needs you to determine the kind of document generation automation tool and electronic document and records management system(EDRMS) you want to work with.
Due to the complex demand structure of customers, you might want to consider balancing paper and digital, at least to begin with.
Keep in mind that your strategy has to have a defined entry and exit point (Start and End).
Your strategy must account for timelines, possible challenges and periodical milestones that will serve as a progress indicator.
Summarily, this step will require you to list out and develop a strategy that is leveraged on previously defined functionalities, a to-do list that aligns with your organization's individuality.
If you’re looking for more information on the strategy side, see our guide on changes to go paperless, which elaborates on:
- Adapting a management and initiative strategy.
- Cultivating a paperless environment.
- Creating a comprehensive file organization system.
- Adopting the right digitization software.
- Updating your company policy.
- And more.
Step 5. Implement and execute
Finally, once you have all the tools you require to automate paperless billing in your bank in place, then you have to execute your developed strategy.
The implementation of your strategies and plans is the most important part of the automation process.
A smooth and seamless implementation means that you get to enjoy the benefits that document automation offers your bank in the shortest time possible.
Benefits that include:
- Saving time and money.
- Streamlining business processes.
- Making your employees more productive.
- Enhanced customer data protection.
- Fewer errors.
- Industry-standard compliance.
- And more.
We generally recommend that you begin automation from the payment end.
The automation of these features is the easiest and fastest to achieve, with minimum impact with respect to cost and resources.
You can work your way down from the payments faculties. This will ensure that you don't spread your IT resources thin in a bid to speed up automation.
Do well to implement each phase of your automation plan meticulously and efficiently to ensure a seamless transition to automate paperless billing.
Hope this guide to automating paperless billing was helpful!
While there are countless benefits to automating your billing, transitioning to a paperless system can be overwhelming, especially when running a large financial organization.
Though, the benefits far outweigh the initial costs or inconveniences.
As you continue to grow, you’ll also see an increase in your organization’s productivity, a decrease in costs, and your company will thrive for years to come.
Now, if you’re looking to switch your financial organization to paperless billing, you’ll want to look into Inkit Render. Render is a document generation platform that simplifies your document automation with a simple API request.
Whether you need 10 confidential financial reports or 100,000 customer statements, you can automate your document generation based on templates, to create standardized documents for your firm.
See how Inkit Render helps financial services organizations for more info!