Billing or invoicing is one of the most painstaking responsibilities of any firm, due to the complexity of the numbers and need for accuracy. As a marketer, you would expect fast and hassle-free payments from your clients. When correctly processed, a billing cycle can be exciting, as it represents the client’s appreciation and anticipation of delivery.
After all, an invoice is all about getting paid for your dedication and hard work. Regardless of the size and nature of your business, you need to prioritize your invoice processing system, ensuring fast and easy client billing.
Processing an invoice also involves substantial expenses. The average cost of generating a paper invoice ranges between $12 and $30, depending on whether it is a start-up or an established company. Every business firm strives to make the invoicing process simpler and less painful. Here are some tips for making your invoicing process an easy one.
1. Automate your billing process
Integrating automation features into your invoice can speed up the overall process, making payments faster. Time is money, and you need to focus on these automated invoices to bolster your productivity. This process can also save your clients time. Businesses can incorporate these automation features into their invoices:
- Establishing recurring schedules for billing, so that the recurring fees will be automatically charged.
- Automating the reminders for your overdue invoices, ensuring faster payments.
- Online processing of invoices, giving your customers the freedom to make payments in whichever method they are most comfortable.
- Developing invoices based on tracked billable time, your proposals, or a combination of the two.
- Issuing credit, sales, and prepayment invoices for your customers.
A number of companies are sending recurring invoices and automated payment reminders to their clients. This reduces the time-consuming process of identifying those in default and manually contacting them.
2. Use dedicated billing software
An effective trend among successful marketers is to use dedicated billing software. Integrate the tools you are currently using for billing into the software to unlock features that can simplify the invoicing process. It is possible to capture all the billable events of your business through this software. The following strategies can prove highly effective for managing invoices.
- Integrating invoices with popular payment gateways for shorter payment times.
- Integrating invoices with the necessary information process for real-time updates.
- Integrating the billing software with your pipeline management system to make the best use of every opportunity.
- Integrating your project management software with the billing software to ensure accurate and timely billing.
It is time to put away the spreadsheets that you have been using for so long. Cloud computing has ushered in a popular invoicing trend, making data accessible anywhere in the world. Consider investing in a cloud system for a valuable return.
3. Optimizing billing times
When you create your invoice plays a crucial role in making the payment process fast and easy. You need to optimize your billing time to streamline the process. According to research of more than 3m invoices, a large portion of businesses process their invoices as they come in. Although this is not a bad practice, it can prove to be inefficient. You can use any of the following strategies while processing your invoices:
- Start sending invoices on the weekends, if you are invoicing fortnightly or weekly.
- Start sending invoices at the beginning of the month, if you are invoicing on a monthly basis.
This policy will help you greatly improve the flow of your cash. You can calculate the timing of your invoices according to business volume and optimize the timing.
4. Connecting timesheets to invoices
Integrating your invoicing process with timesheets can enhance workplace productivity. The process is faster and simpler when employees enter the time when invoices are generated. This enables the business to have all the data in a single location, and they do not have to export anything. When the employees enter their time, the billing process becomes much easier. The process will benefit you in the following ways:
- Your employees will get all the necessary information in a single place, which will minimize downtime.
- They can use this tool at any time.
With industry competition always, you need to optimize your time. These strategies can help you leverage the productive output of your business.
5. Incorporating the right design in the invoice
A visually-appealing design in your invoice can eliminate confusion and ambiguity from the payment process. Your invoice should reflect your level of professionalism. This also encourages clients to pay their bills on time. A well-designed bill conveys your brand image to the client, indicating that you deserve to get paid when expected. You can hire a professional designer for this purpose.
The invoice should include certain key elements. These are:
- The logo of your brand
- The colors of your brand
- An itemized list of products
- Terms of payment
- Contact details
- Due date
- Invoice number
This will create a favorable impression on your customers and strengthen the business.
With any business, it is necessary to set payment terms, which will foster good, long-term customer relationships. These terms should clearly indicate the following:
- The frequency of payment
- Additional fee, if any, apart from your charges
- The time at which the project will be completed
- Methods in which you accept payment
- Timeframe in which the client has to pay the bills
- Penalties for delays in the payment process.
Customize your invoice with relevant design features, according to the nature of your business. Processing invoices take time, so make sure to integrate the right design process and avoid a loss of productivity. You need to make invoicing a priority for your business and optimize it, thereby enhancing the efficiency of your platform.