Billing is an essential part of any business, whether you run a retail online store or offer marketing services. To get paid, you need to issue invoices and collect revenue based on them.
Traditional billing processes involve a lot of repetitive manual work, which can also lead to multiple mistakes caused by human error. As your business expands, the workload only grows. That’s when it’s time to introduce billing system software into your business processes.
Today, such systems are widely used in all industries, including but not limited to healthcare, tourism and hospitality, retail, manufacturing, finance, and the legal industry.
In this article, we would like to explain what this type of solution offers to its users and share some practical tips on how to build custom billing software that will be fully tailored to the needs of your company.
Understanding billing software
A billing management system is a type of software that offers businesses a range of tools for tracking and operating their billing and payment processes. The key goal of implementing such tools is to automate repetitive tasks, such as creating invoices and sending them out, managing customer accounts, and collecting incoming payments. As a result, the entire billing-related routine can be significantly streamlined, while employees will have the possibility to concentrate on more creative and complex tasks.
There are two kinds of such software:
- ready-made solutions (either universal or industry-specific);
- custom billing software.
The first option allows businesses to start using such tools with basic functionality significantly faster. However, billing software development services can be viewed as a guarantee that you will receive tools that fully reflect your business’s specificity and, as a result, demonstrate higher efficiency. There is great freedom in adjusting all standard functions to the needs of each organization and adding any required tools, making this second option a popular choice among companies of different types and sizes.
Benefits of custom billing software
- Automation. Repetitive tasks related to creating and sending invoices, as well as receiving payments, can be fully automated.
- Resource optimization. As a lot of billing tasks will be performed by your software, you can optimize your staff and labor costs.
- Accuracy. Thanks to the introduction of enterprise billing software, you will minimize the risk of human mistakes.
- Efficiency. With the help of a billing management system, your employees won’t have to spend precious time on routine tasks.
- Data security. While building your own custom billing software, you can introduce powerful security measures that will ensure excellent protection of your sensitive data from different types of external attacks.
- Flexibility. When you have your custom solution, you can always enrich it with any tools your need or integrate any necessary services.
Key features and requirements
When developing your own software, you can build any features you need. However, we have prepared a list of features that are traditionally offered in solutions of this type.
- Invoice generation. First of all, your automatic billing system should have the functionality to create invoices in various formats. It is necessary to ensure the possibility of creating new invoices fully from scratch or based on the previous ones to speed up the process.
- Invoice delivery. Billing software solutions should be able to automatically send invoices to customers and partners via different channels like email or SMS.
- Payment processing. This feature will allow your customers to pay you directly by following a link that will be attached to the invoice. It will make the payment process easier for customers, and you will get money faster.
- Reporting. It will be a good idea to develop analytics and reporting tools. In such a case, your enterprise billing system will analyze your billing and payment data and create customizable reports. You can also ensure an option to export these reports in different formats.
- Tax and revenue calculation. Thanks to this functionality of your company billing software, you can avoid using external tools for calculating your revenue and identifying the tax amount that should be paid.
What are the modern billing software requirements?
- Recurring billing. It is important to enable the possibility of charging your customers at predefined intervals (e.g. once a month or once a year) for the products or services they receive from you regularly.
- Subscription management. Your software should also have the necessary tools for managing, updating, editing, adding, and deleting various subscription plans with different billing frequencies.
- Customer notifications. Implementing a billing management system should be a win-win for both you and your regular customers and subscribers. It should help people better plan their financial transactions, manage their subscriptions, and track their payments. For example, your billing system should notify customers of upcoming subscription or credit card expirations, send warnings if your company has updated subscription plans, or remind them of the need to repeat failed payments.
Technologies for billing software development
The exact tech stack that will be used in invoice software development always depends on a wide range of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, the desired functionality, required integrations, the skills and expertise of the development team that you will work with, software compatibility with different platforms, your requirements for scalability, and others.
Below you can find a list of the most commonly used technologies and tools used for creating billing system software.
- Programming languages: Java, Python, C++, PHP, Swift
- Databases: MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB
- Runtime environment: Node.js, VMware, VirtualBox,
- Frameworks: Angular
- Cloud platform: AWS, Azure, Google Cloud
Any customer billing system deals with huge volumes of sensitive information, including banking details. Given this, the security of data should be taken as the top priority. One of the steps to achieving high data protection is writing bug-free code and eliminating any software vulnerabilities. That’s why the role of testing in billing software development should not be underestimated.
Testing and Quality Assurance
In modern software development practices, there are different types of automated and manual tests that are appropriate for various software products.
We always combine different kinds of testing. As a rule, all new features are tested manually, and the process is properly documented for further automation. The entire software is tested in accordance with the QA pyramid principles.
Unit testing is conducted to ensure that isolated code units work fully as expected. Then, we proceed to integration testing, which aims to check the interaction of each code unit with other units and external components.
The next level is end-to-end testing, which covers the entire software product. Our team’s task at this stage is to simulate real-world cases from the end-users’ perspective to see how the solution behaves in different situations.
After all the changes are introduced, and the tests have demonstrated that everything works as it is supposed to, it’s time to make your app available to users.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that the work of developers on the app has come to an end. It is required to regularly monitor the performance of the solution to detect any vulnerabilities and address them timely. Moreover, for the smooth functioning of your system and its compatibility with newer versions of hardware platforms and integrated third-party apps, regular updates are required.
Data security and compliance
When planning to launch custom billing software, it is important to consider compliance with regulations in the chosen jurisdictions. The most common regulations are GDPR and PCI DSS, which focus on reliable data protection and implementation of robust security measures.
GDPR, a regulation introduced in the EU, covers questions related to processing personally identifiable information. PCI DSS is more specific, introduced to increase control over cardholder data and reduce credit card fraud.
It is also necessary to check which regulations apply in regions where the billing system will be available and carefully study the requirements introduced.
Integration and scalability
While custom billing software is often delivered and implemented as stand-alone apps, it should be efficiently integrated into the entire enterprise IT environment. Integrating a billing management system with other business software products will guarantee continuous interaction and reliable data exchange. As a result, it will be possible to avoid data and task duplication, optimize business processes, and organize the work of the company’s employees more efficiently.
Let’s have a look at a couple of examples.
- Integration with a customer relationship management (CRM) system: With this integration, users will be able to manage and view customer data and billing information in a centralized platform. Additionally, it will be possible to generate and send invoices based on customer-specific data.
- Integration with accounting software: This will centralize all billing and accounting processes, eliminating the need to add the same data twice. Both systems will automatically share the required information. All details indicated in invoices and all information regarding financial transactions will be immediately added to accounting records.
The scalability of your enterprise billing software is another aspect that you should think about beforehand. You need to make your system scalable and flexible enough so that it can efficiently deal with the continuously increasing number of transactions and invoices. This will be a logical consequence of the growth of your customer base.
Design and user experience
One of the goals of implementing billing system software is to facilitate a series of tasks for employees and streamline many processes. That’s why it’s worth focusing on the user-friendliness of your solution. When a person opens such a system, everything should be intuitively clear. A well-designed interface will not only reduce the time needed to complete tasks but also minimize the risk of human errors.
Considerations and best practices in billing software development
- Mobile responsiveness: With the modern lifestyle, remote and hybrid work models, many job tasks need to be performed on the go. That’s why it is important to make your software fully functional and visually attractive on different devices with varying screen sizes.
- Multi-platform compatibility: It is recommended to make it possible to use your customer billing system on a wide range of devices and operating systems. This will ensure the required convenience for all potential software users.
- Efficient user interface: Try to keep the interface as simple as possible, add common visual elements, and use typography to create a hierarchy and increase the clarity of the entire functionality.
Today, there are many ready-made billing solutions that are widely used by companies in numerous industries. Among the most well-known solutions of this type, we can name NetSuite, Zoho Invoice, Square Invoices, QuickBooks, and Recurly.
In our portfolio, we also have a row of successfully built and implemented custom billing software products. One of them was an autonomous invoicing and billing web platform built for a startup.
The solution is intended for businesses that need to create and send invoices for the services they provide, as well as for those businesses that need to pay invoices for services they have received. The goals of its implementation are to automate the invoicing and billing process, prevent fraud, and eliminate B2B payment errors.
The key thing that sets this solution apart from its competitors in the market is the ability to issue invoices in different currencies and pay invoices received from companies based in both the American and European regions.
The project has several integrations, such as Dwolla (for verifying the business identity of users), Payrock (for managing card payments and obtaining transaction information from bank accounts), Plaid (for linking financial data), and others.
Our team needed 7 months to deliver an MVP of this platform that fully met the client’s requirements. Currently, the first real users are testing the platform, and we are collecting their opinions to enhance the solution and enrich it with the most valuable features.
You can read more about this case here.
The popularity of billing management systems is increasing. New ready-made solutions are regularly introduced to the market, and many companies turn to custom development services when they want a product fully tailored to their needs.
However, the introduction of billing system software cannot be viewed as the latest innovation. The first tools of this kind were built several decades ago. Today, we can observe how these solutions are being modernized under the influence of the latest tech trends.
The future of billing systems may be greatly affected by the new possibilities that AI can open up to users. Although many solutions are already enriched with automation features, AI is expected to take automation to a completely new level. A traditional enterprise billing system can be expanded with pattern recognition and predictive analysis tools. As a result, such software will be able to monitor transactions, detect suspicious behavior, and help prevent fraud schemes.
Another way to lower the risks of data breaches and fraud is to increase the transparency of transactions through blockchain. Nowadays, thanks to all the ensured benefits, the tendency to rely on blockchain networks for building automated billing software is gaining momentum.
If you are also interested in professional billing software development services, our team is always at your disposal. We will carefully listen to all your thoughts and do our best to offer the most efficient solution. Just contact us to schedule a consultation!
By Itexus Team