Do you know that behind every successful business is an efficient invoice processing system? Yes, that’s right. Unfortunately, majority of business owners are more concerned about branding and marketing which explains why they pay very little attention if at all to invoicing. Almost always, this gets placed in the backburner. What they don’t realize is that efficient and accurate invoicing is one of the key elements to a successful business. How do you streamline your invoice processing? Here are a few tips on how to achieve an effective invoice processing system.
First, you must set rules and ensure that you stick to it.
When operating a business, it is important that you set billing terms to ensure that you get paid on time and to preserve and maintain harmonious professional relationships with your customers. You have to make a decision whether you’d like to bill by product or by hour. Decide how you are going to get paid and the repercussions if they don’t pay on time. Present these terms to your clients before signing any contracts so they’ll know what to expect. Remember that every business requires cashflow to survive and one way of doing that is to make sure you get compensated on time.
Second, know who your clients are.
This is a no-brainer, before you make transactions with customers get to know them first. Getting to know the people who you will be dealing with will give you an assurance that you’ll get paid on time and that you’re working with credible people who won’t run away from their bills. A lot of business owners fail to do background checks because they are too confident that they won’t get scammed and swindled. Almost always they end up in regret. Know your clients and be firm with your rules regarding how you’ll get paid whether through check or electronically and how long you are going to receive the money. Spare yourself from future headaches by establishing billing rules and filtering your clients.
Third, make your billing days consistent.
Your clients are going to anticipate your next billing and to keep them expecting you must set a billing schedule where you’ll send an invoice on the same day every month. This is a smart way of making sure they notice and prioritize paying you.
Fourth, make your invoices clear and accurate.
When you creating invoices make sure that everything that’s written on it are clear and accurate. All the necessary information must be present and it should be readable. Indicate the word “INVOICE” at the topmost portion of the document so your clients will know what the document is all about with just one look. In your invoice make sure you include details about your company, a tracking number and the name of your client. Itemize the products or services, the quantity and unit price of each. Also include discounts if there are any and taxes and the total amount you will be collecting from them. When your invoice is written clearly and accurately, you’ll have a high chance of getting paid.
Fifth, utilize the paper trail.
Keeping a paper trail is very important so you can use it for future reference. You don’t know what the future holds so it’s best to keep all records of transactions. Record all interactions you have with your client so that when the need arises in cases of legal disputes, you’ll have evidence to prove your case.
This invoice processing system should be implanted in your business. If you haven’t done this before now is the best time to do it. This will keep you on top of things and so you can avoid the stress that comes with delayed payments.