When performing the task manually, it can be easy to make mistakes which leads to delayed payments and upsets in business relationships.
Follow this guide to improve your business cash flow and develop reliability when it comes to invoicing for your business.
There are two main types of invoicing available to businesses. These are:
- Before payment (accounts receivable or payable)
- After payment (receipts and copies of transactions for record-keeping)
This is a common approach for many companies. These invoices detail the services or products which were provided and the amount they cost.
It is essentially a request for payment within a period and needs to be completed by the relevant people before the deadline.
Manually creating before-payment invoices can create issues when it comes to consistency and efficiency. By automating you can:
- Automatically invoice clients;
- Register invoices for your accounting department to see outstanding payments;
- Receive reminders when payments are due.
All of these processes help to improve productivity so if you use them before payment invoicing, you can benefit greatly from automation.
This process acts as a receipt for a client. It acknowledges that payment has been made and provides proof for bookkeeping purposes.
A common area for these forms of invoices is online stores where you receive a receipt once you have purchased an item.
For small and growing businesses, creating manual after payment invoices whenever something is purchased from your web store is time-consuming and costly.
Here you can automate: customers receiving copies of their invoices; making exact copies of invoices automatically for record-keeping and creating invoices instantly to accelerate the payment process.
Let’s for a moment consider a hypothetical new business start-up.
The imaginary owners want to create a great external customer service experience, so they look at articles on how to start a contact center. They manage invoice payments manually for the first year of their company’s existence as there aren’t too many to manage, but suddenly they begin to grow exponentially due to the success of using vanity phone numbers in a marketing campaign.
They are now stuck. Their company is wasting precious time and money creating invoices that have errors. Their clients are getting confused and feel misguided and relationships are fracturing. The company chooses to switch to automated payment systems but loses money during the transitional period.
If the company had switched to automatic invoice processing before their sudden growth, they would be able to scale up payments and keep up with demand so consider doing this immediately.
What is automated Invoicing?
Automated invoicing is the process of making a historically manual job automated through computer systems and software.
The aim is to make an arduous and error-filled practice straightforward, efficient, and accurate. When you have your processes set up, scheduling payments, sending receipts, and creating invoices will be simple and means cash flow remains uninterrupted.
It is important to recognize that the options for businesses are wide. However, some companies strive to make the process of moving from manual to automated invoicing as seamless and trouble-free as possible.
One example of these companies that provide brilliant software is Paytabs. They have video tutorials available to those just getting started and have great customer communication channels to make sure your needs are met continuously.
So why move to automated invoicing?
- You reduce your costs vastly. Paying employees to manually create invoices is expensive, especially when they make a mistake and have to go through the process again to make sure it’s right. Furthermore, an automated service is trustworthy, so senior officers and managers won’t need to review every payment before it’s sent.
- It reduces errors. Automation means you don’t need to worry about human error. When people make mistakes it can upset clients and fracture relationships, much like having out of stock products, with important vendors or clients. Ditching manual means you won’t have to worry, as the software is created to serve a specific purpose.
- Faster turnaround times. For all businesses, making your invoices automatic means you can make payments quickly and it minimizes the amount of admin. When money moves quickly and reliably, companies are happier.
- Employees have the time to focus on higher-impact jobs. Without the need to process invoices, they can be asked to perform jobs that are more valuable to your company such as performing affiliate program monitoring.
What does it involve?
With all the software available to businesses nowadays it’s clear that automation is the way to go to improve efficiency and reduce costs. More people than ever are involved with creating new software, IoT app development, and websites. So where do you start?
Create Your Forms
The first thing you need to do is decide on the program which suits your business approach and requirements.
It is important to consider the needs of your company and the information required to process payments properly. Modern software allows you to use digital signatures, or provide simple drop-down menus with lists of clients or services to make payments even smoother.
Once you have made this decision, you need to use pre-built templates or create your invoicing form. Creating a form provides clarity to users and uniformity across all of your payments. This is often instantaneous, meaning you can use the forms straight away.
In the past altering forms manually would be challenging but modern solutions mean you don’t need to be a coding expert to make complex processes a reality. The automation and control you can exert, when it comes to creating your forms through appropriate software, is often very user-friendly and truly customizable.
Consider Your Approval Workflow
Regardless of your payment process, more valuable invoices need to be sent to senior officers or company presidents for approval. Again, these processes are easily managed when it comes to software.
Imagine that your company requires that all invoices over $10,000 are sent to the senior officer before processing.
Modern software can be employed to ensure that this process happens every single time without error.
This means that managers are only seeing the payments which they are required to under company policy thus saving time and improving efficiency.
It is important to consider how integration between your new and old systems will look. It is key that your payment records are kept up-to-date for bookkeeping. For example, when it comes to reviewing company profits or gathering information regarding a payment discrepancy in the future.
This is where considering how you are going to ensure a seamless transition between manual and automated systems is vital.
Much automated software comes with the ability to integrate with current financial management systems.
Generally, companies are likely to use an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system for their finances, and manually entering order numbers into databases is time-consuming and costly. Find software that fulfills this process automatically and works well with the methods you currently employ.
Whilst the initial set up of an automated invoicing software comes with difficulties, over longer periods you will find that the time previously spent on completing invoices, can be used for other important parts of your business. Use a time management tool to reap the benefits of spare moments.
Using a new piece of software can come as a challenge to many companies. Your staff must be trained to use new programs. You should have an approach laid out in your IT strategy to help employees manage and understand new systems.
The ultimate aim is to make the payment process easier and making sure everyone understands produces fluidity in sharing information and issues.
Use and Review
Having an initial testing phase is important so make sure you do that immediately.
However, after some time using the new invoicing software, your company must be reflective in regards to its effectiveness.
Asking companies who have processed payments through your new approach for feedback can further develop your use of the systems.
Gaps and difficulties can be challenging to overcome when filling out invoices manually. However, using automated software means you can quickly customize and change your invoicing forms and process to adhere to changing needs, so listen to feedback from clients and employees.
For those who process a few invoices per quarter, or those doing hundreds a day, switching to automation contributes to great efficiency and reduces costs swiftly. When used correctly, it can alter the way your business operates and free up time for employees.It is important when considering moving to automation, that you find software that is effective for your business. To save time, don’t scour the internet, start with PayTabs, take a look at the great services they offer, and watch a few videos. You may find that they provide exactly what you need clearly.
Jessica Day – Senior Director, Marketing Strategy, Dialpad
Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business hosted IP PBX communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Here is her LinkedIn. She has also written content for Pretty Links and Kanbanize.