Streamlining Monthly Billing Reports for a Singapore Energy Company: A .NET-Based Solution
Efficient and accurate billing processes are crucial to the financial health of a business. In the case of a Singapore energy company, the finance department faced challenges in producing timely monthly billing reports for major corporate clients. With data spread across multiple servers and sub-system databases, the in-house IT department struggled to keep up with the demand for report generation. In this article, we discuss the design and implementation of a .NET-based report system that streamlined the billing process and saved significant time and effort.
Note: information shared here are high level technical knowledge, no confidential data or workflow are shared.
During our discussions with the in-house IT manager and finance users, we identified several challenges:
- Numerous data sources: The energy usage data was stored across more than 20 servers and 40+ sub-system databases.
- Complex data retrieval: Each billing party required data from different databases, with some needing to merge data from multiple sources.
- Variable query logic: The logic for querying data varied on a month-to-month basis.
- Customizable discount logic: Clients received special discounts on a case-by-case basis, adding complexity to the billing process.
The Solution: A .NET-based Windows Desktop Application
To address these challenges, we designed a Windows Desktop Application with the following features:
Target User Change: Instead of targeting the finance team, we shifted the focus to the in-house IT team, who had a better understanding of the data sources and query logic.
Centralized Database: We created a central database to house all corporate client data, related business logic, and key settings. This included connection values, report names, dynamic query parameters, Excel sheet names, column and row indexes.
Timer Scheduler: We implemented a timer scheduler to execute pre-defined jobs, automating the report generation process and reducing manual intervention.
Excel Templates: We generated the final reports using Excel templates, ensuring a consistent format and easy access for the finance team.
Results and Benefits
By implementing this .NET-based solution, we achieved the following benefits:
Time Savings: The automated report generation process saved the in-house IT team up to 90% of the time previously spent on manual report generation.
Improved Collaboration: The streamlined process facilitated better communication between the in-house IT and finance teams, who could now focus on reviewing and updating query logic each month.
Consistency and Accuracy: The use of Excel templates ensured a consistent format and improved the accuracy of the final billing reports.
The implementation of this .NET-based report system demonstrates the power of custom software solutions in addressing unique business challenges. By automating the report generation process, centralizing data storage, and improving collaboration between the IT and finance teams, we successfully streamlined the monthly billing process for the energy company, ultimately improving their financial operations and client satisfaction.