Everyone talks to you about image and marketing errors to avoid and client relationship boo-boos to steer clear of. But there is little or no guidance on professional invoicing practices. However, this little slip of paper says plenty about you and your brand and does have a fair amount of power in strengthening or weakening your client relationships (and also your cash flow!).
If you look at 5 or 6 (or as few as 3) invoices, do they look exactly the same, or does the font and formatting and spacing and logo placement differ on each invoice?
If your answer was not “they look exactly the same” then you are displaying a lack of professionalism through your invoices. Take a page out of e-commerce veterans like Amazon. All the invoices you receive always look the same right? Bring this level of consistency into your invoicing process to polish up your image.
Including charges that were not previously discussed
It is possible for your client to request you carry out tasks that are outside of the scope of work that you have agreed upon. However, have a discussion about corresponding pricing because simply slipping a new charge into an invoice could be seen as a sly move and could damage your relationship with your client.
Procrastination in invoicing not only comes across as unprofessional but could also affect your cash flow reserves if it is a recurring habit that becomes a common practice. Plus, you will not be able to avoid the next error on this list if you are tardy with invoicing.
Delayed follow-up on unpaid invoices
Use politeness when you communicate but have no shame in following up on what is owed to you. Many businesses are afraid of rubbing clients the wrong way and might therefore tolerate late payments, but this affects your cash flow.
Failing to offer/ mention payment options
Don’t wait for your client to ask (or remember). Mention the various payment options – with relevant details for the transfer – on every sales invoice
Using jargon and ambiguous language
If you intend to have your invoice settled quickly, avoid using words, phrases, terms, or acronyms that are not commonplace outside your industry or organization.
Being ambiguous might also look suspicious to some clients.
Allowing invoices to get lost in transit
Just because you deliver services to a certain individual at your client’s office, it does not automatically mean you should send invoices to them. Ensure invoices are going directly to the correct department.
Not backing up invoices to cloud
If you are using bookkeeping software, this is a given, but if you use traditional accounting methods, be sure to back up your sales invoices to the cloud to avoid any issues during an audit.
Forgetting incentives to encourage on-time payment
Many companies fail to get payments on time repeatedly and are unable to fix the issue. However, use the old credit card company trick. People will pay on time if it affects their bottom line. Small penalties for delayed payment and small incentives for on-time payment sound like fair terms.
Wasting capital on a paper-based system
From printing ink cartridges to frequent servicing of printers (that are also energy hoggers that notch up your electricity bills), post or courier charges, and so on, you are spending unnecessarily if you are still using a paper-based invoicing system. You’re also killing trees with no good reason because you can invoice digitally and securely today at a fraction of the cost if you have bookkeeping software.
Wasting time on an email-based system
When you use an email-based system you have tracking problems and follow-up problems. You might also face some challenges with regard to consistency. And yes, if you get locked out of your email (or cross your storage space allowance) you might find yourself in hot water without a ready reference of what invoice was sent when.
Bookkeeping software can assure you of consistency in the appearance of your invoices and you will even be alerted when your client opens invoices and again when your client pays them off. It is also easy to track down (or generate) copies of prior invoices.
Businesses can solve not just these, but all of their sales invoicing mistakes using bookkeeping software. The in-app chat also lets you explain charges to your client or keeps the door open for your client to ask you for clarification. You are alerted when invoices become overdue and can therefore also remind your client. There are no excuses for the wrong department not receiving your invoice as all relevant parties are given dashboard access. Get a free trial now to experience more professional sales invoicing at your fingertips: https://dext.com/us/business-owners/sales-invoices.