Commission reconciliation can be a beast. Especially if the data you receive isn’t what you expect!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since joining the utilities industry, it’s got to be this: energy suppliers have the opportunity to operate cohesively, but, in reality, tend to operate slightly differently from each other. These differences – in pricing, tariffs, non-energy costs, billing and other key services and functions – can often create confusion for end customers (not to mention brokers). However, these differences can play into the hands of experienced third party intermediaries who are well versed in the intricacies of dealing with a plethora of different suppliers. In other words – if something’s too complex for the end customer to fully understand, using a middle man is an easy sell.
On this theme – when we originally devised the commission forecasting module of our platform, we developed it based on an ideology that suppliers provide consistent, timely and up-to-date information to their TPIs. But of course, the supplier can only provide information if the consumer has submitted meter reads, if billing has been successful and if the data in the hands of both the broker and the supplier matches like-for-like.
As things stand, our software delves into every contract in its database to calculate the exact commission expectations from every meter, within every tender, for every customer – across the broker’s entire range of suppliers. And I still find it amazing to be able to export a report showing your entire month by month revenue forecast. But that’s the easy part. Fully reconciling this with statements received from suppliers (considering non-perfect data flowing back to the broker) can be a challenge. Just because you expect to receive monthly-in-arrears commission for October, doesn’t mean you’re actually going to receive it. Suppliers make mistakes – they’re human after all.
We recognise these challenges, and so as we head into the new year, we’re launching a range of features which will transform the way brokers deal with the influx of supplier consumption / commission statements. Instead of reconciling items manually or uploading data selectively, we’re introducing a function to upload an entire dataset across all suppliers, all meters and for any and all date ranges – in one go. In addition, we’re adding automatic processing and reconciliation of this data against expected consumption to a meter level and checks to make sure invoices have been raised and (most importantly) the commission has been received.
We’re dreaming about the day that the industry operates in a uniform fashion – but until then, we’re going to do everything we can to help smooth out the lumps.