Most consumers hate utility bills. Utility and energy paper invoices usually have many fields, tariffs, charges and look confusing. Around 60% of people state they have trouble understanding energy bills.
Yet, no one talks about the invoicing challenges of utility and energy companies. They are the ones forced to manage invoices, collect online payments, and constantly communicate with consumers. They need to follow strict deadlines and regulations to process utility payments on time. They also have to implement quality utility billing software that automatically generates legible and accurate bills for customers.
Therefore, to help utilities and energy companies out, we want to share billing optimization tips. Learn how to automate digital invoicing with a PDF rendering API and discover the benefits of this solution now.
Top Benefits of Automated Digital Invoicing for Utilities and Energy Companies
Digital invoicing is the core feature of utility billing software. The software generates custom documents based on consumers’ personal information, accounts payable, energy consumption, and other standard invoice data.
Today, digital invoicing is rapidly becoming a substitute for paper invoices. Even though people are still entitled to get their bills by mail, more and more consumers are willing to switch. In this case, the primary obligation of utilities and energy companies is to give customers a choice. Such trends speed up the adoption of electronic invoicing in the utility industry.
Besides, the transition quickly pays off as digital invoicing benefits utilities in many ways:
- Cost-effectiveness. Digital invoices are cheaper to deliver than paper documents you need to print and send through the USPS.
- Human error reduction. Since utility billing software is highly automated, the risk of mistakes is reduced. Digital invoicing services automatically fill out documents based on the latest consumer data entry.
- Optimized billing cycle. When people receive their bills electronically, they can arrange automated monthly payments in online banking. This provides utilities with a steady cash flow and increases the percentage of timely payments.
- Improved customer service. By implementing digital invoicing, utilities allow consumers to choose between online or offline communications. Besides, online invoices are usually more user-friendly than paper.
- Enhanced document management. Utility billing software automatically generates documents in digital format and records them to keep everything in order.
- Less load on employees. As employees don’t have to manage the invoicing process manually, they can focus on other critical tasks.
- Regulatory compliance. Digital invoicing is more convenient for record-keeping that utilities need to stay regulatory compliant.
This way, by adopting digital invoicing and utility billing software, utilities get prepared for comprehensive digital transformation. They optimize many business processes and considerably improve customer experience.
Why Use a PDF Rendering API with Utility Billing Software?
Before delving into why and how to connect a PDF rendering API to utility billing software, you need to know how digital invoicing works.
Web-based utility billing software only prepares invoices. It generates the documents in HTML and does many other things, like tariff calculation or document management. But it does not create invoices in PDF. Since the PDF format is a gold standard for billing, utilities must also implement HTML to PDF conversion.
Therefore, utility companies add HTML to PDF rendering to existing systems for full digital invoicing automation. It enables them to convert HTML content to PDF files in real-time. PDF renderers like Inkit can also automatically store the generated PDF documents in the cloud for record-keeping and archiving.
Without an automated PDF rendering API, utilities would have to upload batches of HTML documents for PDF conversion manually. This would take a lot of time and prevent the companies from profound digital transformation.
Note that some utilities develop the necessary functionality from scratch to upgrade their utility billing software with automated PDF rendering. Even though you can invest in custom rendering software development, it’s expensive and counterproductive. In most cases, a PDF rendering API is the best choice for digital invoices. Learn more reasons to choose API integration below.
Why utilities should choose PDF rendering API over custom rendering software development
Custom invoicing and accounting software takes time to develop. You will need to assemble a team of engineers and invest a considerable budget in designing, testing, deploying, and maintaining it.
Since most utility and energy companies don’t have in-house developers, creating a custom renderer is inefficient.
On the other hand, a PDF rendering API is quick and easy to integrate. You don’t need coding expertise to start using it. The vendors that provide HTML to PDF rendering as an API usually simplify the installation as much as possible. Hence, a copied and pasted code snippet is enough to get automated rendering functionality.
PDF rendering APIs save time and money. Utility and energy companies can include automated document conversion into their existing utility billing software without unnecessary hassle. They also don’t have to take care of software maintenance and updates in the future.
How to Connect a PDF Rendering API to Your Systems?
First of all, you need to find a vendor that provides a PDF rendering API. For utility and energy companies, we recommend focusing on paid options. Open-source PDF rendering APIs have fewer capabilities and won’t offer the necessary tech support. They may also have integration limitations preventing connection with your utility billing software (To learn more about the differences between paid and open-source converters, visit this page).
Once you’ve chosen the PDF rendering API, you will need to:
- Complete the registration (create a personal account, share an email address, etc.).
- Retrieve the PDF rendering API key and store it.
- Copy the API snippet and paste it into the necessary coding environment.
- Run the copied snippet to generate a PDF file from HTML.
After the PDF rendering API converts HTML, the PDF document is automatically displayed and stored in the system. You can deliver the file online for digital invoicing or print it to send the document by mail. This gives you the flexibility that is so important in utility billing since consumers should be able to switch between electronic and print billing on demand.
Besides, with multi-functional products like Inkit, you can complement automated document generation with document delivery. Inkit initiates printing and delivery of PDF documents in real-time based on triggers.
Inkit’s PDF Rendering API for Automated Digital Invoicing in Utility and Energy Companies
Inkit is a reach enablement platform (REP) with automated document rendering functionality available through an API. The PDF rendering API allows you to connect utility billing software with the Render product.
Inkit’s Render automatically accesses the necessary HTML in the system to convert it to PDF. Upon the competition, the PDF is stored in the cloud to be delivered online or offline. Since the conversion is trigger-based, the automation of digital invoicing is maximized.
Render is also suitable to generate bills, customer communications, purchase orders, and other documents used by large and small businesses. You can contact us with any questions about Inkit use cases or for a demo request.