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< Back to news 03 January, 2009

Cutting edge technology slashes administration time and costs for SME`s

easy odering and hassle-free monthly billing

Owners and managers of SMEs know only too well how time consuming invoicing and keeping on top of accounts can be, leaving less time to spend on the most important area of all: customer service.

To combat this, beacon, the leading purchasing specialist for the UK hospitality industry, has teamed up with Avance Group, a business process outsourcing and technology specialist, to help make life easier for its members.

Avance have developed a Central Billing System, which has proved a great success and enormous benefit to beacon members since the launch in 2004. There are over 130 suppliers on the beacon system selling to more than 2,000 members. The system works by passing on all purhcasing information to a central system, which consolidates invoices and payments, reconciles them with vendor ledgers and most importantly, provides a single monthly statement to members. It is thought that around 45,000 monthly bills are simplified because of this technology, saving members hundreds of hours of administration. Even better, as beacon continues to promote good environmental practices, so growing number of beacon members are being migrated to an e-bill system which includes the ability to view all of their billing information on line, via

Consolidated statements are also a hige help. The suppliers send invoice details to Avance via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), spreadshetts or copy invoices. Avance the import the information into a website and manage any queries as well as checking values and chasing suppliers with nil returns. Consolidated statements are then sent to members and any queries received back are dealt with by Avance`s central billing team and any disputes referred to the relevant supplier. Direct debits are then generated and payments are received from members in order to provide consolidated payments to suppliers.

Avance are currently developing their already successful Dispute Management System (DMS) to fit beacon processes. The DMS provides reporting which presents a better understanding of the causes of disputes, helping a more targeted response to resolution. The outputs are the real winner as this steers better practoices and therefore results in a significant reduction in both the number and value of disputes.

Diane Webster, Head of Sales & Marketing at beacon, comments: "beacon is keen to keep up-to-date and move with the constant changes and improvements in technology in order to give the very best service to its members.

"Our members benefit enormously from Avance`s services and have found the time they save in their day can be put to better use making their customers happier, as poopsed to suffling through a pile of invoices."

She added: "It is important to us at beacon that we provide our members with everything they need to help run their business as smoothly as possible on a daily basis."