When it comes to payment, you don’t want there to be any awkwardness. The more you can do to improve your invoicing process the better. Whether your company works with individual clients or other businesses, ideally you want to streamline the invoicing process and make it as clear and easy for everyone involved. The smartest way to do this is by investing in invoicing software or apps, and they will take care of a lot of the work for you. Once you start to scale your business, you can also outsource your invoice processing. For now, here are ten smart ways to improve your invoicing process.
Invest in invoicing software
Consider investing in the best invoicing software for small businesses. These will all include automated features making it a lot easier for you to bill your clients and have them pay on time. You’ll also have a record on the cloud of all the billing information automatically. Using invoicing software or apps is also much more secure for both parties and will give your clients confidence. For small businesses, it’s much easier to let technology take care of this one.
Open a business account
What you can do, however, is open a business account. Whether you use an app or take email invoices, you should use a business account for all transactions. It’s much safer to keep your personal and company assets separate, and this will protect you legally as well. A business account will also give you more credibility and make a better impression on your clients.
Build a good relationship with clients
Whether you’re dealing with B2B invoicing or providing a service to individuals you need to build a good relationship with your clients. Mutual trust is vital and you need to treat your clients with respect and professionalism at all times. This isn’t a backup for a signed agreement, however, but the better your client relationship is, the more likely the invoicing process will go smoothly.
Write effective terms
In order to successfully invoice a customer, you need to learn how to write invoice terms. Invoicing software will have features that will help you do this, but you need to come to an agreement and ensure your client has understood. Ideally, you should clearly outline any hidden charges such as late payment or cancellation fees. Be sure that your client has agreed on your rate, and whether this is to be paid hourly, daily, or weekly, etc, and clearly define any deadlines.
Invoice at the right time
Believe it or not, some business experts say there is a best time to invoice clients. It can depend on the type of service your business offers, however. If you offer a quote before the work starts this encourages your client to trust you, but you could end up underestimating costs. Some companies invoice at each milestone in more long-term projects. It’s probably better to invoice at the beginning of the week to get them paid on time, or at the end of the month to help your client keep track of payments.
Share data with clients on the cloud
You should try to keep your clients in the loop especially if you’re offering more long-term services or projects. If you need to share any files or information you can try using project management or freelancing apps. Here are some of the best apps to share files securely for small businesses. If you use the cloud, you can grant access to whoever you like at any time from anywhere.
Almost all decent invoicing software will allow you to automate reminders. This is especially important if you’re dealing with several clients. You might even forget about the deadline for payments and clients commonly do. Set up automated reminders on your invoicing software as soon as you agree on the terms. You can then choose a date further in the future for the reminders to go out automatically.
Late payment charges
There are many reasons why you should charge late payment fees. It’s your livelihood at the end of the day and you don’t want to lose profits. Charging late payment fees or cancellation fees will motivate your clients to pay you on time. You need to be careful here to clearly point out that they will be charged for late payments. As long as you are transparent about all prices and possible extra fees from the beginning, the customer will more likely be happy. Even if they do complain about late payment charges, you will have written records of your exchange to back it up.
Multiple payment options
You could consider offering multiple payment options. This might be advantageous if you run an eCommerce, for instance. Multiple payment gateways allow shoppers to use their favorite payment method, whether it be credit card, Paypal, or ACH payments from their smartphone. If you have the means to do this, it could improve the customer experience on your website. Offering multiple payment options also makes your business appear more legitimate and creates trust in consumers.
Outsource invoice processing
There are several reasons to outsource invoice processing. You might have started out managing your own payments and finances but now you want to scale your business. The more your business grows, the more clients you will have, and this can only mean more invoices. If you outsource to invoice processing services they’ll have the resources and the capacity to cope with this rise in demand.
Outsourcing also saves you time and money. You will save on the overheads, salary, sick pay, and all the other costs of hiring an in-house team. You’ll also be able to increase productivity and spend more time focusing on growing your business.
If you improve your invoicing process, you’ll develop a better relationship with clients creating good word of mouth. The more quickly and efficiently you do things the better. Open a business account and let the latest in invoicing tools and technology do the work for you.
Running a business is hard work. Many entrepreneurs or small business owners find themselves wearing many hats. They spend so much time working in their business they never get the opportunity to work on their business.
Using automation intelligently can not only improve your business processes, but it also frees people up to work on core business priorities. A study in the UK showed that business owners spend up to a third of their time on business admin.
Automation can be used in most areas of a business, but here are a few of the main ones that will make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.
HR & Payroll Systems
Even businesses with only a few employees have a number of legal and financial obligations to their employees. There are a number of great cloud hr systems coming onto the market which can run your day to day recruitment, HR and payroll services. These are cloud-based so won’t need to invest in any IT or data storage systems.
They’ll save you time, money and make sure that you stay legally compliant. Employees can update their personal details, access policies, request holiday or communicate feedback all directly through an online platform.
Running payroll through one of these systems can save your money on accountants and still let your remain compliant with the government tax systems and online banking facilities.
An efficient, well-organised team can do wonders. Rather than relying on emails and handwritten scribbles, why not run all of your tasks and projects through specialist software like Asana or Trello.
These programmes both have free versions that you can use to set up recurring tasks to keep your team and your business on track. The amount of time saved on unnecessary meetings or emails will transform your business.
A great deal of your marketing funnel can be automated through software such as Hubspot or Zoho. Once you’ve set up your campaign materials, you can rely on your software to push prospective clients through your marketing funnel without the need to manually trigger actions every step of the way.
Content, email and even social media content curation can all be automated in line with your campaign goals.
A well-designed chatbot on your website can drive enquiries through without you needing to speak to people.
The good news for small businesses is that you don’t need huge huge budgets to begin automating your business. Most of the larger software companies offer a freemium model, allowing you to access a range of features for free in the hopes that once you expand, you’ll move directly to the paid version.
Automating processes in our business can save you time, money and allow you to spend your precious time on actually running your business.
Increased productivity leads to better margins and an improved bottom line. Not adopting an agile approach to your business can lose you that competitive edge if your competitors do embrace automation.
Author - Chris
Author, Editor, Creator of this website.