Identify literature regarding the impact of municipal billing systems on revenue collection.
Billing processes play a critical role in revenue for a number of public sector organisations, including municipalities. In the delivery of public services, for example, billing drives cash flow and is the key source of information for customers using these services. This helpdesk report shows that in many countries, reforming billing processes, coupled with strengthening collection processes, has improved revenue collection. Most of the evidence about the role of billing in revenue collection comes from the water sector.
Some experts argue that billing systems based on consumption are more likely to be paid by individual users. In the water sector, this could take the form of universal adoption of water metering or spot-billing. Other measures to improve revenue collection include computerising customer databases and billing systems. Eliminating human handling from all billing processes has been seen to prevent fraud and billing errors, and some advocate pre-payment as a means of increasing collections.
A number of case studies illustrate the improvement of revenues through better billing and collection processes; most of these are from the water sector. The case studies presented in this helpdesk report are from Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, India, Kenya, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Thailand and Uganda.
Rao, S. Impact of municipal billing systems on revenue collection (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2012) 9 pp.