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KEY POINTS

  • Implemented a system that can raise invoices much earlier than older methods
  • Able to handle at least a million euros per month in terms of transaction value
  • Data integrity and speed of reconciliation significantly improved: processes that could take until day 17 of month now done on average day 4 or 5
  • System easy to configure; email updates generated automatically on activities
  • Multiple country system files now treated as one
  • Internal managers able to make approvals much more quickly
  • Scalability of solution supports future business expansion
  • Debtor management streamlined
  • Staff are less frustrated with invoicing activity
  • Customer satisfaction has improved

ORGANISATION

Kelkoo is a leading European online price comparison service, founded in France in 1999. Operating in over 10 countries. It allows customers to find information on the products they want to purchase, including price and seller information.

CHALLENGES

The solution needed to fully integrate with Infor SunSystems, as well as its internal front of house system. It also had to be customised to meet the client’s very specific and demanding process needs.

OBJECTIVE

To implement a solution that would streamline complex billing procedures and help the team reconcile complex international transactions.

SOLUTION

Contract & Service Billing (CSB) from Professional Advantage was recommended to Kelkoo by business partner, Sapphire. CSB provides the necessary link to Infor SunSystems and other systems, simplifying international client invoicing needs.

 

Successful ecommerce site Kelkoo is one of the biggest and most trusted price comparison companies in the world. With nearly 63 million offers across 10 countries, its software acts to sift and compare thousands of offers from top brands to help its users get the best deals in shopping, travel, insurance and more.

100% Web based, Kelkoo works with top tier brands such as Amazon, eBay, PC World and Sainsburys; key to its business model is the sharing of links and Web traffic with these firms. To maintain its success and envied place in the market, efficient tracking of its business is at the heart of what it does – and this is reflected in invoicing best practice. As Billing Manager Sonal Shah explains, “We are now operating over 10 countries and so have a growing volume of transactions.”

Kelkoo’s primarily manual billing process had become inefficient and too complex. It was straining to cope with its business rules, e.g. the need to apply a specific discount if a third party agent had been involved in a transaction, and at dealing with needed calculations. “A lot of our matches are based on cost per click,” confirms Shah. “We also have commissions, so if a user clicks on a company and then buys a product, we get the commission from that sale and we bill them for the commission.”

Meanwhile, the firm’s finance team was struggling to complete invoicing on time; it would often not be until the second half of the month before its thousands of invoices were properly checked. Other challenges the team faced included the fact that credit cards were managed through a separate process, and data needed to be worked on in spreadsheet and paper form before it could be input into, Infor SunSystems. Clearly, a new, more efficient solution was needed to help the company maintain its healthy expansion.

Contract & Service Billing (CSB): “Much Smoother And Faster”

Kelkoo’s need for an up-to-date and flexible system that would eliminate errors and time spent inputting or double-keying data was complicated by the fact that any solution had to be able to integrate seamlessly with its Infor SunSystems finance platform.

Having investigated the market and on advice from Sapphire, Shah’s team made the strategic choice to go with the Contract & Service Billing (CBS) tool from Professional Advantage. This ‘out of the box’ integration with Infor SunSystems was the best means to ensure implementation went smoothly, with time spent getting focused on configuring functionality to meet the needs of the organisation, rather than on building computer interfaces.

This was the right allocation of resources, as Kelkoo’s invoice formats are language specific, meaning there is a different invoice format for each of the nine countries it operates in. Plus, variations in its billing requirements also had to be properly catered for, while Professional Advantage needed to spend time getting the new billing system working seamlessly with Kelkoo’s front of house billing system.

The hard work was worth it, however. The system, which went live in 2010, is rated a great success by Shah and her team, which reports that the target of reduced administrative time investigating and correcting errors and omissions has been met, while overall the billing process now runs “much smoother and faster.”

Process Improvements

The main benefits in the first phase of usage of the Professional Advantage system have been the marked reduction in the number of credit notes and much faster billing, says Kelkoo. The finance team members also appreciate the ease with which things can be changed, if necessary, in the systems’ workflow – citing Sapphire’s support and responsiveness as making this even easier.

Instead of the confused picture of multiple spreadsheets and over-complex systems, the new billing process is much simpler: one import file is taken from the internal system which is then fed to CSB, which works out all the necessary calculations based on set parameters such as cost per click or different costs for different item types. The output is a ‘held invoice’ in CSB. Also available is a special account manager report which oversees all system invoices and is emailed to the various account managers, who then review bills before final approval.

“Previously, we had recurrent issues with the account managers closest to the activity, who might say, ‘Oh no, we can’t send them that invoice because something is outstanding,’ and that information was not always known by the Accounts Receivable team,” says Shah. “Now, though, they can say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to specific invoices. And once that’s been released in CSB, Accounts Receivable can now just send out the invoice, post it to Infor SunSystems and produce a document e-mailed automatically to the customer.”

Perhaps the biggest benefit to the Kelkoo finance team is that the days of reconciliation being pushed out to the last two weeks of every month are, thankfully, long gone.

“We are now completing the billing process by the 4th or 5th day of the month instead of the 16th or 17th,” confirms Shah – great news for clients and Kelkoo partners alike.