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​​Effective Invoice Management for Deliveries and Carriers

ShippyPro_Blog_Invoice Management for Deliveries

Does invoicing give you a headache? Managing invoices for deliveries is an unavoidable monthly, quarterly or yearly hassle. Delivery invoice management is a key part of the logistics process that might be overlooked when starting your e-commerce business. 

Paying your drivers the right amount on time is important for several reasons. Maintaining a good and professional relationship with carriers increases the chance of efficient deliveries which improves customer satisfaction and trust. However, managing multiple drivers, delivery routes, carriers, businesses, etc can make things a little complicated when it comes to preparing accurate and timely invoices. 

What is a delivery invoice?

When you work in e-commerce, you will work directly with a number of players in your supply chain including warehouses, fulfilment centres, delivery drivers and carriers. All of these people and businesses need to be paid — these are called your ‘overheads,’ or outgoing expenses. 

Most of the time the companies you do business with will issue you with an invoice for their services — a document outlining the work that has been completed on your behalf and how much you need to pay. Invoices are very important because they help you keep track of your expenses, pay your bills on time and manage cash flow.

Why is effective delivery invoice management important?

Delayed, forgotten or incorrect invoices can have a major impact on your operations. Effective invoice management is key to making sure everyone is paid on time for the work they perform, helping you avoid any awkward or difficult situations with important parts of your supply chain. Failure to do so could put strain on your business and have a knock-on effect that impacts your customers and bottom line.

Effective delivery invoice management is important in maintaining a positive relationship with each step in your supply chain. Accurate invoicing helps reduce the likelihood of errors in billing, which could lead to disputes with customers. Furthermore, streamlining the process helps you keep on top of your cash flow and ensures compliance with local and international financial regulations and tax laws.

By optimising delivery invoice management you can increase productivity by automating this manual and time-consuming task, which can in turn provide accurate and up-to-date information on outstanding invoices, and enable you to better forecast cash flow and make informed financial decisions. 

Why is it important to review delivery invoices?

For effective delivery invoice management you need to review all the invoices you receive. It can be difficult and time consuming to compare the expected costs to what you end up being billed for. It’s important to check for a number of added or hidden costs. Here are some of the most common issues you may encounter. 

Hidden charges in contract agreements

When you sign a contract with a carrier, it’s important you make sure the contract works for you and there aren’t any hidden costs which you’ll end up having to pay for when billed. An example of these are delivery fuel costs, unforeseen tariffs, inspection fees, sales taxes, etc. Make sure you only pay what was agreed when you signed the contract. 

Rural or limited traffic areas

Your carrier may charge you for delivery to inconvenient or rural areas. If this is the case you need to make sure that these routes are included in your initial agreement or find a service that can deliver to these areas with minimal cost and hassle.

Other costs

Other costs can include weight restrictions, taxable minimums, processing fees, manual labour costs or late payments can all have an impact on your expected expenses. As a result you might end up in disputes with your carrier services so it’s key to know exactly what you’re billed for from the very beginning of your partnership. 

Understanding delivery invoices

So you know how important it is to pay your carriers accurately and on time, and the issues involved with ensuring accurate invoices, where should you begin? Invoices need to have a number of important pieces of information to process, and forgetting any one of these could result in a lot of back and forth between you and the carriers.

When you receive an invoice you will need to check all the information is correct and accounted for. Each invoice needs to include:

  • Your business name and contact details
  • The carriers name / business & contact details
  • A unique invoice number (usually based on how many invoices you have sent before)
  • Date the invoice is issued
  • Date payment is due
  • List of services provided with detailed descriptions and costs for each
  • The total payment at the end of the invoice
  • Any terms and conditions
  • Bank account or way to pay the invoice

You should already have an agreed-upon idea of what kind of services you’re paying for, so the next step is to review each invoice before you pay it for any hidden costs. This can be time consuming, so many e-commerce businesses may use an automated invoice tracking and analysis tool to take over some of the legwork. 

Delivery invoice management solutions: ShippyPro Invoice Analysis

Warning: Please, note that our Carrier Invoice Analysis tool is currently under maintenance and could work in unexpected ways. Please, reach out to our Support team if you need any assistance.

There are a number of solutions to combat the challenges of effective invoice management. One of the first things you can do is to use an automated invoice analysis tool which takes the manual labour out of invoice management. ShippyPro’s Invoice Analysis is a great place to start.

e-commerce invoice management can be straightforward with the right technology. ShippyPro’s Invoice Analysis management tool includes a number of features that allow you to track, organise and review your delivery invoices and gain insights into all charged fees. You will clearly be able to see your financial gains and losses through a colour-coded graph, and therefore have a comprehensive overview of outgoing expenses. 

Currently the Invoice Analysis Tool is compatible with the following carriers:

  • Asendia
  • Bartolini / BRT
  • DHL Express
  • Fedex
  • GLS Italy
  • Nexive
  • Poste Italiane
  • SDA
  • Spring / Spring XBS
  • TNT Italy
  • UPS
  • MyDHL

Once you have uploaded the invoice to the tool (note: all invoices must be uploaded as a .CVS or XLS/XLSX file) merchants can immediately identify any surcharges that the carrier has billed and keep track of how much you owe and how much is owed to you. 

The tool also allows you to see the estimated weight of your shipments, the weight measured by the carrier parcels' dimensions, and even the departure date and the delivery date of the shipment. 

If you identify any hidden costs or incorrect tariffs you can add notes directly in the tool for the carrier in just one click. You can then download the annotated Excel sheet and send it to your carrier requesting for a refund. 

Benefits of Invoice Analysis tools for delivery invoice management

Using tools such as ShippyPro Invoice Analysis has a number of benefits for growing e-commerce businesses. They help quickly identify any hidden charges or discrepancies in invoice data, which helps you communicate complaints and seek clarification directly with the carrier. Furthermore, you can start to implement strategies to optimise delivery costs based on the invoice data you have gathered. 

Most importantly, delivery invoice management tools streamline operations and help you save time. By automating invoice management you don’t have to spend hours carefully combing through all the invoices you receive. The tool will instantly show you if there are any discrepancies. This will allow your e-commerce business to focus more on core activities and growth. Lastly, using automation tools will improve financial accuracy and reduce stress associated with invoice management.

Effective delivery invoice management is a key part of your e-commerce accounting strategy. Accurate and timely payments let you stay in control of your cash flow and reduce the chance of disputes related to pricing, shipping or missing items. This saves you time and resources and improves the relationship with your customers.

Emily Browne

Emily Browne is a writer for ShippyPro who blends her passion for writing with an interest in all things e-commerce. Emily strives to make complex topics more digestible, proving that the world of logistics isn't as confusing as it sometimes feels! Her expertise in supply chain management, coupled with a knack for storytelling, helps readers navigate the complex world of e-commerce and shipping.