Processing rebates can be a complex and time-consuming challenge for any business, but it must be performed with care. Your team can’t afford to cut corners when it comes to your rebates, but with so many responsibilities to stay on top of, it can be tough to develop an efficient and sustainable process for managing them.
Companies seeking support for their rebate needs may have considered implementing rebate processing services to streamline this complex process, but some managers have doubts about its necessity. However, if you’ve faced any of the challenges we’ll explore in this blog, rebate processing services may be able to help you more than you know.
Do You Struggle With These Common Rebate Processing Challenges?
Inefficient rebate management processes
Rebate management is no leisurely walk in the park. Managing accruals, aligning (and realigning) your data, drawing up reports, triple-checking records, keeping track of claims and payments – these are time-consuming responsibilities that require caution and efficiency in equal measure.
When it comes to making the most of your team’s valuable time, there’s no room for repetitive, redundant or obsolete tasks. Rebate processing services can trim the fat from your rebate processes, automating many of your most time-consuming (and time-sensitive) responsibilities.
Communication errors and delays
When it comes to working with your trading partners, clear and punctual communication is critical to maintaining a successful, lasting relationship. Any ambiguity or confusion in your rebate deals can create serious cracks in their foundations.
However, utilising rebate processing companies can streamline communications with your team and trading partners by eliminating redundancy, maintaining operational alignment and promoting data transparency.
Keeping track of payment or claim deadlines
Every contract is unique, and the more distinct rebate deals you manage, the more deadlines you’ll need to keep a close eye on. When money is expected to change hands, no one wants to miss a payment or claim. Your team’s ability to maintain trust in your trading relationships depends on your reliability and punctuality in this regard.
Implementing rebate processing services can ensure that you never miss a payment or an opportunity to claim again. This means that you always get the most out of your rebate deals; plus, supporting on-time claims and payments helps avoid friction, disputes and conflict with your trading partners.
Trouble managing accruals
Accruals are one of the trickiest parts of the rebate management process. In basic terms, an accrual is a recorded expectation of income at a later date – a sort of “educated guess” that is nevertheless necessary for financial reporting.
The difficulty of accruals stems from their fickle and ambiguous nature. Deals can require multiple accruals and value agreements throughout their lifespan, and accruals regularly must be reversed once the cash is actually in hand. Tiered incentives and “strung” deals (wherein calculations build on previous calculations) present their own unique challenges.
Without extensive reporting and forecasting capabilities, your accruals can be way off the mark. Fortunately, some rebate processing services have advanced features designed to bring greater accuracy to these critical financial estimates.
Lack of transparency and alignment
Rebates can get complicated, and with so many details and datapoints to keep track of, it’s important to ensure that everyone – from your finance team to your supply chain partners – stays on the same page.
To support data transparency and alignment between teams and trading partners, some rebate processing companies feature a centralized deal repository, where all relevant parties can view up-to-date rebate data and contract details. This must-have feature simplifies communication, prevents confusion and – in the unfortunate event that it should arise – aids in efficient conflict resolution.
Calculation mistakes and balance sheet errors
Keeping your balance sheet error-free is essential to informing your strategic decisions and avoiding trouble at month- or year-end (or, worse, in the event of an audit). If you’re lucky, your team can spend a few hours combing through data and reports to find, correct and account for errors. If you aren’t, then it’s already too late to fix the problem.
Some manual rebate processing tools – such as spreadsheets – can be quite unforgiving of simple mistakes, where a misplaced click or keystroke can send your team down a data rabbit hole searching for the culprit (often weeks or even months after the error was made). However, automated rebate processing solutions can help you sidestep trouble by preventing human error in the first place and flagging any discrepancies that aren’t adding up.
Let’s face it: when it comes to complex calculations, humans are rarely as quick and reliable as computers. Skilled teams spend valuable time every week performing high-level calculations by hand that an automated system could perform in an instant.
Employing a dedicated software solution – especially an automated rebate management system such as Enable – can save your team time every week while providing results you can trust. Plus, with a comprehensive and integrated system, there’s no risk of “translation errors” in uploading your data.
Choosing Rebate Processing Services for Your Needs
Every business is unique, with differing needs and levels of capability. When evaluating your choices for rebate processing services, it can be difficult to find a service that meets your team’s distinct needs. If you’re looking to step-up your rebate management game, you want a system that can save your team time, expand their capabilities, prevent problems and mistakes, maintain alignment and streamline your processes.
We recommend choosing a comprehensive and integrated rebate management solution that keeps your team in the driver’s seat but automates most of the tedious and time-consuming responsibilities of rebate management. With the support of an automated system such as Enable's rebate processing services your team can spend more time actually managing your rebates instead of keeping up with them.