When you run a business and you are managing multiple projects at once, it can be difficult to keep up with your payments. Automation for businesses has been a focus for many startups and disruptors across all industries in the past few years.
Choosing the right provider is key when looking to automate your invoicing procedure. How many times have you forgotten to send an invoice? How often do you lose an invoice? Are you regularly overwhelmed with the task of keeping up with your accounts? Surely there must be a simpler way! Well, there is…
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In this article, we share how you can simplify your invoicing procedure for easy remote payments.
Use a Paperless System
Paperless invoicing is the future. It may seem surprising in today’s digital age, but many companies still print out invoices and post them to clients. This invoicing system is slow, time-consuming, and vulnerable to human error, resulting in lost invoices and late payments.
Advancements in technology offer even the smallest companies across a range of industries greater efficiency when sending an invoice. “Working in the education and training sector our qualified engineers send their invoices to the customer after a job or project is complete,” explains Skills Training Group. “This is where paperless invoicing creates efficiencies for our industry, for both the payer and payee, to enforce a streamlined invoicing process that carries out and receives payments on time with the ability to automate follow-ups in their system, with no need for a printer onsite.”
Moving your accounts onto a paperless invoicing software is one of the easiest ways to optimise your invoicing. With online invoicing software, you can quickly and easily create professional invoices for your clients from your mobile, desktop, or laptop with great flexibility and efficiency.
Companies that use paperless invoicing software also have the ability to keep track of payments in real-time and access historic transactions remotely – this saves countless hours of having to sift through folders of invoicing documents. Implementing a paperless system could not be more convenient.
Allow for Multiple Payment Options
“Small businesses that accept four or more payment options bring in 7x more annual revenue than those that accept fewer than four payment options.” – Cision
In today’s world, everyone has their preference when it comes to making payments. Some people like to pay by credit card or cheque, while others prefer bank transfers or online systems such as PayPal.
To offer online payments, simply provide a link on your emailed invoice to an online payment service of your choice that your client can pay upon receipt of your invoice. Multiple options make payments easy and more convenient for your customers.
Avoid Human Error
Invoice errors can be a huge turnoff for your clients, causing confusion and even mistrust. When it comes to handling payments, your clients want to know you manage your accounts with accuracy and professionalism. But despite even the best of efforts, mistakes do happen. In fact, a report from the Institute of Finance and Management discovered that around 3.6% of invoices include errors.
To avoid invoicing errors, employ invoicing software that automatically compiles your costs, creates detailed quotes, tracks billable time, and generates this information into an error-free invoice. Invoicing software greatly reduces the chance for human error, saving you time and money, and serving your clients in a professional manner.
The other benefit that many (particularly smaller) companies benefit from when implementing an invoicing software into their business is they can reduce labor expenditures, meaning they don’t need to hire someone to specifically manage their invoicing and payment process which frees up your capital to invest in other parts of your business and allows you to focus on the macro including growing your business, marketing and bringing in revenue.
Automate Your Payment Processes
Automation features can simplify your invoicing procedure significantly, saving both you and your client’s valuable time. “Billing automation is an often-overlooked element of a complete digital transformation.” says Daniella Ingrao from Fusebill. “Unfortunately, many business leaders don’t think about enhancing their billing process until pain points have already appeared. But to maintain a healthy cash flow, and keep your business operating at its highest level of efficiency, automated billing is a vital evolution.”
We recommend you partnering your payment process with an invoicing tool that offers the below features:
- Set up recurring fees
- Automate payment due reminders
- Process invoices online
- Create invoices from quotes or tracked billable time
- Issue sales, prepayment, or credit invoices
An automated payment process means no more lost invoices, no more time wasted chasing late payments. Often businesses will have other commitments such as purchasing materials or paying their employees wages before they can invoice for the services they provide. With many companies not having the luxury of a large cash reserve or “buffer” late payments can often have a detrimental impact on a company’s cash flow.
Manually creating invoices every month is a real time inefficiency. You want your invoices to look professional, branded to reflect your business and fit for purpose ensuring it’s simply for your customers to make the payment without too much hassle or confusion. Take a look at Invoice Berry’s Free Invoice Template – editable invoice templates that come in a variety of formats so you can immediately download, personalise, and send your invoice quickly.
When you automate your processes, you allow for greater flexibility and improved cash flow. If you haven’t automated your payment processes, why not? It’s time to get started now.
Provide All Relevant Information on Invoices
Whether you are sending five invoices or hundreds every month, you want to make sure you include all the relevant information.
Many companies will return an invoice if it is missing essential information such as the date, payment due date, VAT amount, and payment details. This includes:
- The date of issue
- Your business name and address
- Your contact information
- Your client’s name and contact information
- The invoice number (this can be used for referencing)
- The amount payable and itemised payments explaining what each of the charges are for
- Details of VAT
- Your payment details
- The payment terms and conditions
Always Number Your Invoices
“An invoice number is simply a way to uniquely mark an invoice to help keep track of your business transactions. Consecutive or sequential invoice numbers help to ensure that each invoice is unique and each business transaction can be clearly and comprehensively organized and referenced – for accounting reasons as well as customer support.” – IONOS.
Numbering your invoices is one of the most important elements of the invoicing process, allowing you to keep track of all your bills for tax and accounting purposes. Numbering your invoices also provides a good reference point when chasing late payments or discrepancies from clients.
Each invoice should be assigned a unique invoice number so that you can keep track of it at every stage of the payment process. Numbering your invoices also provides an important resource if you are audited for any reason, helping you track down the necessary files with ease.
The amount due is undoubtedly the most important number on the invoice tab, followed closely by the invoice number. The invoice number you choose to assign to your customer invoices is a unique identifier so be sure to not overcomplicate and create a practical invoice numbering system, ensuring there won’t be duplicates further down the line.
Send Payment Reminders
Many small business owners are uncomfortable at the thought of sending payment reminders to clients. However, sometimes clients need a reminder that your invoice is still unpaid – particularly if they are a large organisation – as they may have forgotten all about it whilst managing other priority projects and tasks in their day-to-day life.
Addressing the issue with a formal (often scary!) letter as soon as the payment is overdue is often not necessary. Send a friendly email to remind them of the payment terms and to ask when they intend on balancing the outstanding amount. Your customer will appreciate the friendly nudge rather than a passive aggressive email requesting they pay the amount within 24 hours. Be mindful when sending friendly reminders that your relationship with the customer remains positive, as nine times out of ten it’s most likely an innocent mistake.
Payment reminders can also be automated to go out if you haven’t been paid after a certain period of time. This saves you the time-consuming administrative task of sending out payment reminders manually. They are often one of the simplest ways of getting paid quickly.
Simplifying your invoicing procedure for easier payments doesn’t have to be complicated. Why not take a few minutes to review your invoicing processes now and consider which of our points would help simplify things further? InvoiceBerry simplifies invoices and expense tracking, helping you save time and money. Create your first invoice in less than 60 seconds.
By making a few adjustments or moving to an online invoicing system, you could save hours of your time.
Daniel Groves achieved a 1st class honors degree in Business Economics. Daniel has collaborated with a number of online publications with the aim to further develop his knowledge and share his experience with like-minded entrepreneurs, business owners and growth strategists.