Invoicing is a vital part of business, but the payment process can be a challenge. If you don’t get paid, you won’t be a success. Spend too long creating or chasing up invoices and you’re wasting valuable time.
The goal must surely to be paid in full and in good time. Further to that, we should be looking to streamline the invoicing procedure, with as little time spent as possible on achieving the maximum result. So how can this be achieved?
While it seems almost inevitable that many invoices will be settled late – the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) puts the figure at one third among its members – companies cannot simply blame their clients’ sloppiness.
“There are many aspects to getting paid on time – from the quality of the invoices (and compliance with the customers’ processes) through to cumbersome and often cost constrained credit control,” says financial services expert Jim Muir. “It’s rather too simple to assume that it’s payer naughtiness that’s the main problem. There are a variety of reasons, ranging from sloppy delivery of the invoice (although electronic delivery has helped) and the delivery notes through to abuse of the ‘trade credit’ system by cash-constrained customers.”
Push the envelope
Traditionally, invoices are printed, put in an envelope and mailed to the customer at the end of each billing period. Many companies still do business this way, but it’s inefficient. Between putting an invoice together and sending it out to customers – assuming it doesn’t get lost in the post – it takes time.
Other problems with this method include the need to create and reuse templates for different customers and enter their billing information twice: once in accounts and once in each invoice. Also, keeping track of bills and payments can be time-consuming – whether they are just saved on a desktop or in some long-forgotten sub-folder. Even sending your invoices by email won’t reduce the workload by much, as they may still have to be found by a search.
Software can take care of many of these tedious tasks associated with invoicing and keep information organised and secure. Proper invoicing and invoicing software can remove some of the hassle out of payments and help you get the financial compensation you deserve for your hard work.
Firstly, software can help to keep accurate records of completed work – including keeping track of the time and materials expended on a client’s project. Time-tracking software is an effective way to streamline the billing process, allowing a business to focus on the more important aspects of building a functioning company. Time-tracking software has become an integral tool in ensuring time spent at work is as productive and fulfilling as possible. For example, the market-leading software that has been developed and refined by TallyPro over the years offers a comprehensive time-recording system, accurately recording and costing time, expenses and billings against clients and projects. With such advances in technology, being able to remotely track time – from a browser, smartphone or desktop – easily through a quick set-up and submission process can earn significant rewards on an individual and organisational basis.
Effective software can also keep track of set deadlines. It can provide prior notice of these and ensure that deadlines are met and completed. In every organisation, there are many tasks to be completed on time and by using project billing software, these tasks can always kept in the forefront of the responsible employee’s mind through scheduled notifications and reminders. High-grade project billing software will facilitate scheduling invoices automatically at specific dates and times – without lifting a finger.
Another issue that causes stress from invoicing is the need to constantly check bank accounts to see when – or if – a payment is made. Market-leading invoice technology offers automatic tracking through which the payment status can be viewed to find out which invoices have been paid, as well as which ones are due or past due.
Keep it simple
The more au fait you are with invoicing and invoicing software, the easier it will be to issue prompt invoices. This will help you to be paid faster, make it easier to resolve payment discrepancies, help you maintain records of services rendered and financial transactions and help you keep track of late payments and clients who have defaulted. Creating and issuing invoices may seem complicated, but with the help of online software, such as that offered by TallyPro, this perceived complication can be removed completely.