As dealers diversify into new technology and service segments, automated solutions provide greater efficiencies.
At first blush, one might not think of GreatAmerica Financial Services as a solutions company. It’s a leasing company, right? Right. But it’s much more than that, thanks largely to the various billing solutions the company offers its dealer partners to help them be more efficient when invoicing their customers.
The finance company’s front-end capabilities include integrations with quoting tools and CRM solutions to help customers remain in the applications they work with daily so they don’t have to use a separate app to interact with GreatAmerica. The company also has back-end capabilities to create efficiencies and reduce dealers’ administrative burdens with solutions such as 1nVOICE® and Pass-Through Automation.
The Simplicity of 1nVOICE®
As revenues from traditional print technology decline, more dealers are looking to add new products and services to fill that gap. The more offerings a dealer adds, the more complex invoicing becomes. But, as many dealers who partner with GreatAmerica have found, it doesn’t have to be that way.
GreatAmerica describes 1nVOICE® as a complete systematic process that works with the dealer’s technology solutions to offer a simplified process for billing. Note that 1nVOICE® isn’t just about the presentation of the invoice. Rather, it’s a systematic process that combines numerous components, including technology integrations, to ensure the proper invoice is created and sent to the dealer’s customers.
Here’s how it works: GreatAmerica Financial Services generates invoices that include the payment due to GreatAmerica and the related charges the dealer’s customer would typically pay directly to the dealer. This results in one invoice with all pertinent charges. Once the payment is collected, GreatAmerica remits the dealer portion to the dealer and auto-posts the money directly to the open receivable through its technology integrations.
“Ideally, 95 plus percent of the time, the dealer will not need to touch anything after they’ve set up that charge in their system,” explained Mitch Leahy, VP and managing director, sales, GreatAmerica Financial Services. “Our goal is to make it easier to transmit information to us by leveraging the platforms and technology we’ve built. Hopefully, that makes our customers look good to their end-user customers while creating efficiencies.”
1nVOICE® has made a difference for dealers who work with GreatAmerica, particularly those who have added adjacent products and services. When a dealer adds a new line of business, it adds complexity for customers, particularly if they are sent multiple invoices. That is counterproductive for a dealer that positions itself as a single provider of office technology solutions. 1nVOICE® solves that problem, making it easier to do business with that dealer because all technology and services used by the customer can be included in a single invoice. This can also simplify periodic account reviews with the customer because the single invoice can serve as an outline of all goods and services provided to them.
This tool can also help a dealer close a sale. For example, when 1nVOICE® is used with the GreatAmerica Hardware as a Rental® (HaaR®) financing approach, a dealer can more confidently discuss payments for hardware offered under a subscription-based model. This solution makes it easier for customers to say yes when they can see what their monthly payment is versus the hardware price of a cash purchase.
“Our Hardware as a Rental® (HaaR®) approach has been around for 10 years and is picking up steam as the channel actively looks to diversify,” noted Leahy. “Regardless of how the dealer is selling, what technologies they’re selling (IT or MFPs), or whether they go to market on a bundled or non-bundled contract, we are able match their go to market. The things that we’re able to do from a documentation and integration standpoint make everything fit within the dealer’s sales process, the applications they’re using, and within their workflow.”
Pass-Through Automation, developed by GreatAmerica Financial Services in collaboration with ECI Software Solutions, is another solution that simplifies billing for GreatAmerica dealers. This integration is unique to GreatAmerica Financial Services and is a key step in the 1nVOICE® process. According to GreatAmerica, it is more than the pass-through of the service and supply charges or bundled payment. It enables dealers to automate the inclusion of miscellaneous charges on customer invoices, in addition to traditional base maintenance and meter billing.
Those charges might include variable supply freight fees and service charges on a single invoice. By streamlining the billing process, GreatAmerica can add charges from the dealer’s e-automate system and display them on the customer’s invoice. This creates comprehensive invoicing and reconciliation and a fully automated billing process.
GreatAmerica continues to build upon its rich history of billing bundled contracts and variable overages. “We recognized there was about a 20% additional service charge that was being billed and collected separately for service and or supplies, whether it be one-off charges or recurring supply charges,” said Leahy. “That allowed us to explore more deeply how we can also incorporate those charges, place on a single invoice, and bill the customer base maintenance with variable meters following the same sort of automated auto cash posting on the backend. This reduces a dealer’s administrative burden while increasing their customer’s satisfaction.”
Added Leahy, “From day one through the end of the contract’s life, we take the burden of billing the end-user directly off our customer’s plate. This means there is no need for our customers to send end-users another invoice, as we can auto-post charges owed to them back to their system.”
GreatAmerica Financial Services works with some 16 application/integration partners—companies such as e-automate, SalesChain, Salesforce, AgentDealer, and Sherpa CRM by White Cup, to name a few. “We have a comprehensive catalog of APIs and an amazing team for onboarding,” noted Leahy. “These partnerships and integrations allow dealers to diversify into IT, VoIP, and physical security without the burden of invoicing separately.”
This new process also allows GreatAmerica to engage with new software partners that dealers are using. “There’s been a mutual benefit for both of us,” said Leahy.
A side benefit of Pass-Through Automation is that it allows dealers to use fewer resources. “If you talk to any number of our customers who’ve worked with us and leveraged our integration capabilities, they will say that is the case,” said Leahy.
The Future Looks Bright
Six months after the rollout of Pass-Through Automation, Leahy and his team at GreatAmerica are pleased with how things are going. “We see this as a differentiator,” he noted.
When asked where he would like 1nVOICE® and Pass-Through Automation to be a year from now, Leahy optimistically predicted, “There will be a larger number of our dealers’ end-users benefiting from a single invoice solution, and a larger percentage of our customers taking advantage of the pass-through automation piece.”
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