How Banks Can Centralize Global Pricing and Billing Operations

By Arun Gokul S L
Principal Architect,
SunTec Business Solutions
Multinational corporations are significant sources of revenue for corporate banks. However, managing their pricing, billing, and invoicing across regions can be challenging. Global organizations need their banks to be able to manage these different functions across regions, while also handling their overall global financial business. Managing large global corporate accounts across multiple regions can be a complex proposition for banks, and if not managed efficiently, it can result in escalating costs. From security to risk management and compliance, banks need a centralized billing and invoicing platform capable of centralizing the management of such large and complex accounts.

Banks must be able to handle large multinational accounts at two levels:

  • First at a global level, uniformly across all regions.
  • And second, at a local or regional level, taking into consideration, the region-specific rules, and requirements. This is because every country has varying regulations that need to be adhered to.
    • Taxation-related requirements are a good example of regional regulations with varying tax structures from country to country.
    • Billing and invoicing rules also vary across the globe and corporates may need their banks to manage these at a regional level to comply with local regulations.
    • Then there are the nuances of currency exchange, region-specific holidays, managing invoicing operations across a wide range of currencies etc.

Banks need to be able to consider global as well as country-specific rules when it comes to billing and invoicing operations for multinational organizations.

Separate teams, fragmented region-specific infrastructure, and siloed procurement and licensing processes can result in escalating management and resource costs for the bank as well as errors and lapses in operations, and compliance. A robust enterprise billing and invoicing platform is crucial as it can centralize operations and product management. It can remove siloed software and hardware to create a single unified infrastructure ecosystem that can be managed and scaled up easily and efficiently. Banks must consider investing in an enterprise billing system that can ensure unified infrastructure and centralized operation management for the business to run smoothly, and profitably without compliance or processing errors.

Any billing and invoicing platform being considered for global billing operations must offer some critical functions and features:

Multi-level and Multi-region Billing and Invoicing: It should be able to manage rules for the global entity as well as those pertaining to the local entity or subsidiary. Using this platform, the bank must be able to set the rules for a certain region so that any country within the region can follow the same set of rules. For example, the invoice and taxation rules for the Middle East will be different from those in Africa or Europe and the bank could set these different rules for each region, so they apply to most countries in the Middle East, Africa or European Union.

Banks must also be able to easily add more regions to be managed if required. It must be able to handle pricing and invoicing rules for the global entity while at the same time accommodating regional variations, and currency variations. It must be able to set and manage relationships and hierarchies between the global entity and its local subsidiaries. Above all, the bank must be able to leverage the platform to centralize product management and operations for all regions to ensure an error-free, efficient, and effective invoice management process.

Customer Hierarchy: The billing and invoicing platform deployed by the bank must be able to represent global hierarchies in the client organization. It must allow the bank to define the ‘n’ level of client hierarchy and provide a single-pane view of hierarchies across the global and regional entities.

Organization Hierarchy: Banks must be able to set the ‘n’ level hierarchy for regions based on how banks want differential pricing and billing rules across those locations. For example, the hierarchy can be set as:
Regional’ (like Europe, APAC, North America and the Middle East);
‘Zone’ (like North India, etc.).

Banks must be able to associate offers with differentiated pricing rules for each region and define billing/ debiting and custom rules for each level in the hierarchy.

Service and Product Hierarchy: Most banks have multiple products aligned with different business lines and they may offer special products in certain regions, depending on local opportunities and market requirements. A billing and invoicing platform for global billing and invoicing must provide a unified view of the entire product portfolio offered across geographies. It must also be able to restrict the accessibility of services across regions, i.e., the bank must be able to offer some services in specific regions only. For example, SEPA payments are common in Europe and the bank must be able to restrict this payment option for the client’s subsidiaries in other regions. Only subsidiaries across Europe will be able to process data or even view details pertaining to SEPA payments.

Offer Management: A robust global pricing and revenue management system must be able to help define offers and pricelists for each country. These can be standard mass-market offers as well as hyper-personalized ones for high-value customers. Standard offers can be set for each region but most clients with a global presence prefer to define a single offer globally instead of defining country-specific price lists. But the platform must allow the bank to define pricing rules based on customer, account, or transaction attributes. For example, a company may choose a single offer for its global business. But pricing rules may differ based on currency variations and depending on the country where the operations take place.

Data Level Security: Given the heightened risk landscape most businesses operate, the platform must ensure intrinsic data security for each country along with controlled or restricted access to country-specific data by users. Data-level security measures within the platform can help control user access to data from across regions.

Deployment / Job Execution: The platform must also allow an independent end-of-day batch processing (for pricing, billing, and invoicing) for each country. And it must allow the bank to simultaneously execute jobs for multiple countries to reduce the wastage of time and resources. The platform allows the deployment of the software in one go rather than having separate instances for each country.

Multinational organizations are valuable customers for corporate banks and require a high level of service. Given the complexities involved, it is imperative for corporate banks to invest in robust and advanced billing and invoicing systems and revenue management platforms that can seamlessly manage the multi-region billing and invoicing processes for these large organizations.

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