How To Keep Tabs On Your Contract Reconciliations
If you’ve ever entered into a flexible energy contract, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the concept of reconciliations – the periodic process of suppliers recalculating your charges to take into account their latest data.
In this article we take a look at how Captrics’ unique software takes the pain out of the invoice reconciliation process and provides customers with peace of mind over their charges.
What Is Reconciliation And Why Is It Needed?
It is often the case that suppliers initially use estimated quantities or tariffs when invoicing customers. This is done for various reasons; it helps customers manage cashflow, reduces payment risk to suppliers and enables more accurate charging in instances where final tariffs are only published retrospectively and aren’t available at the time of first invoice creation.
Typically, the process is for suppliers to issue monthly estimated charges that are later reconciled to actuals once all of the required data is available.
Electricity non-commodity costs are often handled in this way, especially for those customers who chose to enter into ‘pass through’ type contracts.
When Should I Expect Reconciliations To Take Place?
Suppliers will perform reconciliations at different times throughout the year for different charge types. It can vary depending on the time of publication of tariffs and the suppliers’ invoicing schedule.
In some cases, like for UK electricity, tariff data can be revised over months or even years via multiple Settlement Runs. In which case, suppliers are faced with the choice of either undertaking multiple reconciliations or choosing a ‘line-in-the-sand’ cut-off point when they believe the tariff accuracy should be sufficiently high to negate the need for further reconciliations.
You can get a guide as to when to expect reconciliations by asking your supplier. They will normally have a set timetable that they will try to adhere to for each charge type.
Suppliers can also issue adhoc reconciliations. These can be triggered for various reasons such as rectification of metering issues, significant re-calculations of tariffs caused by industry disputes or the correction of invoicing errors.
How Does Captrics Handle Reconciliations?
Reconciliations are automatically processed and validated by the Captrics software. Here’s how we do it…
3) Reconciliation Components Capture
- Reconciliation invoices are received containing the reconciliation details.
- Reconciliations typically consist of either:
- Multiple invoice lines with credit(s) for the previous estimates and revised charge(s) or;
- A single invoice line with the net of the credit for the estimates and the revised charge.
- The reconciliation invoice is automatically uploaded to the Captrics portal along with all of the reconciliation invoice lines.
- The details are automatically captured and categorised as either credits or revised charges.
4) Estimate Crediting
- The next step is for the software to perform a sophisticated search of the invoicing history in order to map the credits to the estimate charges found in previous invoices.
- If a match is found, the credited charge is flagged as such, providing transparency to users.
- If a match isn't found, an error message is generated and the issue is flagged to stakeholders.
5) Validation of Revised Charges
- The new charges are validated using Captrics' powerful Rules Engine.
- Tariffs are checked against the latest industry or contractual rates.
- Quantities are calculated using data sourced directly from the meter operators or client and adjusted with the latest available industry scaling factors.
- Any issues are recorded and flagged for the attention of stakeholders.
6) Historic Analysis
- In addition to the automated processing of reconciliations, the Captrics portal offers users the ability to perform adhoc historic analysis.
- No matter what reconciliation method or schedule is employed by your suppliers, the software can perform an analysis of your charges using the very latest meter data and industry tariffs.
- This enables users to ensure that all their charges are accurate; no overpayments have been made and no any underpayments flagged so you won't receive any nasty. unexpected supplier claw backs.
What Benefits Does This Provide?
The benefits are simple:
- Time Savings – Get rid of the multitude of spreadsheets and PDF files and let our software do the work for you. Our reconciliation check process is instantaneous.
- Accuracy – Utilise the power of our Rules Engine to ensure the integrity of your checks and the accuracy of your charges.
- Proactive Approach – Don’t wait for suppliers to spot their errors, with our solution you can be aware of potential claw backs and accrue for them before the suppliers know themselves!
- Complete Transparency – No more head scratching with accounting for credits of re-bills and re-bills of reconciliations. We’ve got it all covered.
- Flexibility – The Captrics portal can be used to improve the administration of any contract type for any product. If you have a specific use case, please get in touch to see how we can help.