; TOP BILLING: Automation and Integration Can Pay Dividends for Utility Billing
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TOP BILLING: Automation and Integration Can Pay Dividends for Utility Billing

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Over the decade, utility usage data gathering and transmission became faster and more reliable, as hard-wiring gave way to wireless technology. Wireless technology enabled utility-billing service providers to provide much more reliable service, and the elimination of proprietary software made it easier for multifamily companies to switch utility billing providers. A number of multifamily managers are adopting integrated utility management solutions that automate the utility billing process. Integrated utility billing services and technologies combine automation, paperless processing, and resident self-service technology. By leveraging integrates utility data with resident data in the property management system, the resulting automation provides an early warning for potentially costly abnormalities, such as spikes in usage, leaks or broken meters. Convergent billing isn't new to the multifamily marketplace, but integration into one platform of property operations, accounting and utility management, is.

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									     Automation and Integration Can Pay Dividends for Utility Billing
  by Joel R. Nelson, Yardi Systems
                                                                            Top
AS reCentlY AS 10 YeArS AGO, hArD-                             economic environment, multifamily property managers
wIreD BUIlDInGS AnD DOS-DePenDent                              want to maximize efficiency and minimize technology
COMPUterS rePreSenteD StAte-Of-                                vendors, software and IT costs. Many are considering the
the-Art UtIlItY BIllInG teChnOlOGY                             benefits that might be gained from full-business solutions
fOr MUltIfAMIlY PrOPertIeS. Data collection                    that consolidate multiple business functions into a core
was slow, the wiring was vulnerable to inadvertent slicing,    property management and accounting platform with little
and proprietary utility-billing software made it difficult     or no interfacing.
for clients to change their billing service provider.            In recent years, the multifamily industry’s march toward
   Over the subsequent decade, utility usage data gather-      complete, single-platform integration has encompassed
ing and transmission became faster and more reliable, as       processes such as rent payments and check processing,
hard-wiring gave way to wireless technology. Wireless          invoice processing, supply and services procurement.
technology enabled utility-billing service providers to        Now, utility billing is being integrated, as property man-
provide much more reliable service, and the elimination        agers facing increasing cash flow and bottom-line pres-
of proprietary software made it easier for multifam-           sures seek new ways to maximize recovery of their utility
ily companies to switch utility billing providers. But the     costs.
technology evolution wasn’t complete. Billing service
companies still had to create utility tracking files and       CentrAlIzInG YOUr SYSteM
                 send them to their clients, who filled in     A number of multifamily managers are adopting inte-
                    the resident information and returned      grated utility management solutions that automate the
                      them. This involved time-consuming       utility billing process. Automated utility billing processes
                      manual processing of invoices, cost      encompass all elements of utility billing management—
                      allocation calculations, and resident    invoice processi
								
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