The days of manually completing invoices to mail to customers are long gone. With the right invoicing software, businesses of all sizes can track a purchase from the estimate phase to the day it’s finally marked “paid in full.” Automated invoicing software saves time, provides a digital paper trail, and prevents errors that can cost a business hundreds or thousands of dollars in lost payments. For small businesses, technology tools can speed up the payment process while also making a professional impression on customers. Your accounting process should provide a natural flow between estimates, billing, payment tracking, and accounting for tax purposes to avoid hiccups.
Here are a few tips to help make your invoicing process run as smoothly as possible:
- To make sure you receive payment as promptly as possible, don’t leave anything off. Your company’s contact information, including mailing address, e-mail address, web URL, and all pertinent payment details should be included. Leaving anything off could give customers an opening to delay payment while they request more information. Of course with an automated invoicing software tool, like Concur, you can input your company's information once, and it will be include on all your invoices.
- Include information about late-payment fees on the invoice. Knowing ten percent will be added to payments made after the due date will convince the majority of your customers to pay promptly. In the early days, you may feel leery about scaring customers off with this practice, but after working with several chronic late-payers for a while, you’ll probably change your mind.
- Consider mobile devices for field workers. If your business provides products or services to customers throughout a regional area, arming your workers with a mobile device that connects to your automated invoicing software can speed up the process of getting paid. Before leaving the customer’s location, your workers can mark the job or delivery as complete, sending it automatically to billing for payment.
- Allow for vendor/supplier interaction. One of the best tips for small businesses is that the right software can automate the process of keeping your vendors and suppliers informed of the status of orders and payments. This prevents time-consuming phone calls and gives your business an edge over the competition.
- Make it easy for customers to pay. When your invoice arrives, the recipient will likely be busy with his or her other daily tasks. If possible, provide one-click-to-pay options to make payment as effortless as possible. Accepting a wide variety of payment types will also improve turnaround time. This means not only taking credit cards and checks, but also options like PayPal.
- Devise a procedure for addressing non-payments. Despite your best efforts, there will always be customers who pay late, if they pay at all. Come up with a timeline for sending payment reminders and if a late notice doesn’t generate payment, contact the customer directly to determine if there might be a problem. If a customer is a consistent late-payer, a business may choose to cut ties rather than waste limited resources chasing down payment.
Thanks to automation, managing invoices and payments is easier than ever. But even with automation, businesses will still deal with payment issues. By putting policies in place at the outset, a small business can stay on top of invoicing.
Looking for ways to make your invoicing more manageable or more tips for small business, Concur can help.