scotts client reader

Automated billing brilliance: Using a PMS for billing automation and payment collection

Manually processing invoices is costly (average £12 per invoice), time-consuming (average 14.6 days processing time) and error-prone (40% of invoices contain errors) - but thanks to billing automation, it’s no longer necessary. 

By slashing data entry and processing costs, eliminating human errors, and ensuring timely payments, billing automation not only streamlines your invoicing operations. It also provides better oversight and management of your revenue flow too. 

But, what does automated billing brilliance look like in the innovative living industry? Here’s how to automate billing with res:harmonics property management system (PMS).

Automatic invoice posting and sending

Instead of spending hours manually creating, amending, sending and chasing invoices (not to mention updating your finance system), res:harmonics includes automated posting and automated email functions that will do it all for you. 

Take auto-posting, for instance. The PMS checks the status of all your bookings on a daily basis, picks up every invoice that’s due (i.e. in the next five days) and uses this data to produce invoices automatically. The PMS then follows a pre-set email schedule to send the invoice with your preferred email template to the chosen recipient. For example, CEO-level guests are unlikely to pay for their stay themselves, so the property management system will automatically send the invoice email to their company’s finance team instead. 

For reminder emails, choose different dates (i.e. one day after the due date and again one week later) and templates (i.e. ‘your payment is due’ and ‘your payment is late’) for each booking type. You can also cc the reminder email to another contact (i.e. the company’s finance team), alerting them of any overdue invoices. 

Billing frequency per booking type

Not every guest pays the same way, so how do you manage different demographics, like students paying at the start of each semester, or a coliving guest paying a bi-monthly membership? 

With res:harmonics PMS, you can pre-set a suitable billing frequency for every booking type and stay length. Typically for short-stays, you can ask for an advanced single payment before a guest arrives, using the automated email and online pay portal functionalities. For long-stay bookings, invoice for the first month’s rent (and upfront deposit if required) after the guest has passed your verification process, or Know-Your-Customer (KYC) checks, and set up a recurring monthly billing process. For corporate stays, add specific payment terms to the company profile on the PMS (i.e. a single payment for all invoices goes through every 30 days). 

Differentiating billing frequency according to booking types enables you to easily accommodate different lengths of stay, better manage your cash flow, and offer payment terms suited to each guest’s preferences. 

Synced payment collection

Even if you only receive digital payments, it still takes a long time to manually update your booking system and produce a client receipt. But not with billing automation. 

Whether it’s a short or long-stay, when a one-off guest makes a booking, res:harmonics PMS automatically generates an invoice for their stay and sends an email to the guest with a payment portal (i.e. Stripe). When a payment is made, the PMS automatically updates the booking status and generates a receipt. As the payments portal syncs with the PMS, you can easily oversee all completed and outstanding payments via the management dashboard without needing to input any data yourself. 

For regular customers or corporate clients who stay with you on multiple occasions every month, set up a monthly direct debit to take payments. Simply use the automated email function to ask these customers for direct debit permission, and take payment directly to reduce unnecessary back-and-forth. 

In-stay extras

Imagine the scenario: a short-stay guest books an apartment, makes an online payment, and then breaks the TV during their stay. 

Adding chargeable items or maintenance bills to invoices mid-stay used to involve manual data input, but with res:harmonics PMS, in-stay extras generate invoices automatically. In the instance of accidental breakage, the guest will raise a maintenance request using the guest portal with details of the issue. The PMS will automatically alert the operations team and assign specific tasks. After resolving the issue, list the materials or labour time used on the PMS ‘work orders’ feature (which includes a preset list of items, such as wires or pipes). If the breakage was the guest’s fault, the PMS automatically generates and sends an ad-hoc invoice to them. Meanwhile, invoices are sent to the landlord for wear and tear issues. 

As another example, if a guest requests to rent a hairdryer on the guest portal, the PMS adds that charge to the next invoice or sends a separate invoice to the guest. 

Automate your way

With res:harmonics PMS, automate as much of your billing process as you want (i.e. some operators prefer to semi-automate billing by sending all invoices manually in bulk) to free up your finance team’s time and capacity. 

For example, by automating its financial processes with res:harmonics, Sweden-based serviced apartment operator EasyFlat not only eliminated human error, but it also saved on hiring an assistant CFO. Now that’s automated billing brilliance. 

Download the Ultimate Guide to Long-Stay Bookings to learn how property management software supports long-stays.

‍Request a demo to speak to someone at res:harmonics about how our software can automate and scale up your innovative living business.

Don't miss these stories:

Join over 10,000 serviced apartments around the world who trust res:harmonics to run their business.

Request a demo