A major fear of any controller is that invoices will inadvertently not be issued to customers after products or services have been provided to them. A discussion of the issues causing missed billings and their resolution follows:
- Customer pick-ups. Customers may elect to pick up goods at the shipping dock or even at the front desk. If so, route all of them to the person at the shipping dock who normally provides shipping notifications to the billing staff, so that these pick-ups can be properly documented.
- Late timesheets. A small number of employees do not enter their time in the timekeeping system, so their hours are not billed. This group is readily identifiable, and so should be pursued relentlessly through an escalation process that may result in their being contacted by a senior-grade manager. An easier option is to have the timekeeping system automatically issue reminders, though this may not be sufficient for the most dilatory employees.
- Marketing samples. The marketing department may authorize the shipment of free samples to customers. If so, marketing should prepare a sales order for each of these samples, so the billing staff will be aware that these shipments are not to be billed.
- Non-traditional process flow. Rush orders may be walked through the shipping process by an expediter, who then forgets to submit the related paperwork to the billing department. This issue can be resolved by examining the shipping log for unexplained shipments, as well as proper training of the expediters.
- Shipping notification paperwork issues. The shipping notifications forwarded by the shipping department to the billing staff may be disorganized, folded, stuck together, and so forth. If so, prepare all invoices and then have a second person compare the invoices to the shipping notifications to ensure that every notification has been billed.
- Timekeeping adjustments. Employees may adjust their reported work hours after invoices have been submitted to customers. This issue can be mitigated by locking down timekeeping records once they are submitted, so that any subsequent changes must be forwarded to the billing department.