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How Power Factors Achieved a 94% Reduction in Revenue Booking Time Using ZoneBilling

“If somebody has a complex business, a business they think won't fit in the box, I know Zone would be able to help them achieve those goals easily." – Sandro De Ciccio, VP Controller at Power Factors

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7 min read

Power Factors, a global leader in renewable energy software solutions, was grappling with a complex and inefficient billing process. The firm looked toward building a scalable and efficient billing solution available in NetSuite to manage its financial operations spanning thousands of data points. Their partnership with Zone led to an impressive 94% reduction in revenue booking time, transforming the company's financial operations. 

The Challenge: Multiple customer sites, manual data tracking, and unsustainable invoicing processing times

Due to the nature of its business, Power Factors faced a major challenge in managing its billing processes across various entities and customers all over the world. The team had to deal with a large number of data points for each customer, as each physical site where its software was installed represented a potential billing unit.

“Although we have more than 600 customers, we don't have 600 data points. It's tens of thousands of data points.” - Sandro De Ciccio, VP, Controller at Power Factors

This meant Power Factors had to track and invoice thousands of sites, each with different contract terms, implementation dates, and billing cycles. The manual billing process would sometimes take up to three weeks each month, tying up resources and leading to missed opportunities or overlooked invoicing errors.

Power Factors relied heavily on manual processes and Excel spreadsheets to keep track of the data needed to generate invoices. Moreover, the team had to handle different systems, formats, and workflows for each of the companies it acquired, adding to the complexity of its billing operations. This proved to be time-consuming, error-prone, and unsustainable, especially as the company grew and expanded its customer base. 

After being acquired by Vista Equity Partners in 2021, Power Factors resolved to automate and streamline its billing processes across its various entities and customers, and bring different systems they had into one. They needed a solution that could automate and simplify billing processes, while also accommodating its unique business requirements and customer expectations.

"We had our resources tied up in doing billing manually… it wasn't sustainable for the business to continue doing the invoicing this way. We’d rather have people do more productive work." – Sandro De Ciccio, VP Controller at Power Factors

The Solution: A scalable billing platform that handles complex billing scenarios across a global customer base

Power Factors found ZoneBilling to be the ideal solution for their complex billing scenarios, as it offered seamless integration and customization within NetSuite. ZoneBilling enabled them to track and bill on a site-level basis, handling thousands of data points daily with precision and efficiency—something that other systems could not handle.

“We chose Zone because of the level of customization that we knew we would have to do. And we felt that ZoneBilling would be able to handle that customization with a higher degree of flexibility than maybe a more rigid tool.” – Sandro De Ciccio, VP Controller at Power Factors

The critical factor in Sandro's decision to implement ZoneBilling was the need for a scalable solution that could accommodate the diverse transactions within their global business. With acquisitions bringing new business dimensions, ZoneBilling's adaptability became crucial. 

The implementation of ZoneBilling not only addressed the immediate need for accurate and efficient invoicing but also uncovered hidden revenue streams. By consolidating information in Salesforce and leveraging ZoneBIlling’s capabilities, previously overlooked contracts and system errors were brought to light. This not only minimized the risk of missed billing opportunities but also provided a holistic view of the company's financial landscape.

"We needed something flexible... We needed to track and bill on the site level."  – Sandro De Ciccio, VP Controller at Power Factors

In terms of product features, Sandro appreciated the holistic view provided by the Create Transaction Suitelet feature. This feature streamlines their invoicing process, ensuring a meticulous review of all pending invoices, and provides a clear connection between charges and revenue, emphasizing the importance of accurate revenue recognition.

The implementation journey resulted in streamlined processes, minimized risks, and enhanced visibility into their global financial and business operations.

The Results: Improved revenue tracking and reporting, faster invoicing, and streamlined audit compliance with ZoneBilling

Transforming their financial operations with ZoneBilling, Power Factors witnessed an impressive reduction in invoice error rates and significant time savings. The time taken for revenue booking plummeted from an eight-hour day to only 30 minutes, resulting in a 94% efficiency gain.

Another significant gain from implementing ZoneBilling was the unique visibility into their site-based revenue, something they could never do before. This granular level of tracking improved their ability to manage the billing process accurately.

“Now we're able to track revenue. At a site level, which we've never been able to do in the past. It was always at a customer level. Now we can go down to the granular level and say this is the revenue of this specific site.”  – Sandro De Ciccio, VP Controller at Power Factors

After implementing ZoneBilling, Sandro and his team saw significant improvements in their revenue recognition, data quality, audit readiness, reporting, and revenue management. Some of the key results they achieved:

Faster revenue recognition: In the past, revenue recognition used to consume Sandro’s entire day, with data input, fixing errors, and a lengthy manual approach. Now, it's a breeze – Sandro runs the script, performs a quick review, and addresses any issues in about 30 minutes.

Cleaner data and reporting: With ZoneBilling, Sandro has a clear and reliable view of his revenue data. He can easily see the revenue for each site and customer, and how it has changed over time, preventing any errors or inconsistencies. He can also pull up detailed reports to explain any fluctuations and share them with internal and external stakeholders.

More efficient invoicing: Power Factor's invoicing workflow has been drastically changed for the better - the three-week process it used to take the team to issue invoices is now eliminated. Sandro gets into the system every morning, identifies which invoices should go out on that day, and sends them exactly when they're due - this simple routine naturally speeds up their cash collection process.

Simplified revenue management: ZoneBilling eliminated the need for Sandro to use his complex and unsustainable Excel workbook, which he calls “the spaceship”. He is now able to manage his revenue operations directly in NetSuite with ZoneBilling, without having to switch between multiple tools and systems.

Easier audit compliance: The team is now more confident and prepared for the audit process. Sandro no longer has to worry about manual errors, inconsistencies, or missed opportunities, and he can easily demonstrate the linkage and accuracy of transactions. With ZoneBilling, not only did the team streamline their audit workflow, but also strengthened control measures and compliance standards.

“Even after 12 months of using ZoneBilling, I am still surprised every day by the level of visibility that the reporting capabilities give me, whether it’s a saved search or something else.” – Sandro De Ciccio, VP Controller at Power Factors

The Conclusion

Power Factors' partnership with ZoneBilling dramatically transformed their billing process from a time-consuming practice to an efficient, automated operation. As Power Factors continues to grow and expand in new markets, ZoneBilling offers scalability that’s ready to adapt to their evolving business needs—an overall solution offering cleaner data, faster invoicing, and better cash flow.

“If somebody has a complex business, a business they think won't fit in the box, I know Zone would be able to help them achieve those goals easily." – Sandro De Ciccio, VP Controller at Power Factors

Join 1500+ businesses that trust ZoneBilling to handle their complex billing challenges. Book a free demo today and find out how ZoneBilling can meet your specific business needs.

About Power Factors

Power Factors is a leading provider of software solutions for the renewable energy industry. Their platform helps investors, developers, owners, and operators optimize the performance and profitability of their assets. Over the past few years, Power Factors has expanded its capabilities and reach through multiple acquisitions and partnerships. In 2021, Power Factors was acquired by Vista Equity Partners, which led them. Today, it serves more than 600 customers across 30 countries, with over 260 gigawatts of managed renewable assets.

Industry: Renewable Energy Software

Company size: 500-1000 employees

Website: www.powerfactors.com

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