Your job is not to create invoices — but if you aren’t using an automated invoicing tool, it probably feels like creating invoices is the most energy-intensive task required by your trade. Every minute you aren’t paid by your clients, your business is losing money. Therefore, you need an e-invoicing tool that will smash data to get hard-earned dollars in your business savings account as quickly as possible.
Or, if you want, you can keep wasting precious time on invoicing in the following ways:
Using Snail Mail to Send Invoices
For decades, the only way to get your invoice in your client’s hands was to fold it into an envelope, drop it in a mailbox and hope that it reaches the right person in a timely manner. Even today, it is common include your mailing address and your recipient’s mailing address on invoices, as though this information is critical to getting paid.
Yet, in the Digital Age, there is no reason you should wait several business days for your clients to receive your invoice through the mail. The mail boasts no benefits over email; it is obviously slower, but it is certainly no more secure than email. You can ask your contact for the email address of the person responsible for paying invoices at their organization, and if you are clear about your email’s content in the subject line, your invoice should be in the process of being paid by the end of the day.
Handling Physical Paper Invoices
Physical paper invoices are slow for reasons beyond merely that they must be sent through traditional mail services. To make a physical paper invoice, you need to acquire a printer and paper; you need to wait for the printer to produce the invoice; you need to make a copy of the invoice to save for your records, and you need to develop a system for tracking which invoices have been sent, which have been paid and which clients have become delinquent. Worse, paper invoices are easier to lose, either in the mail or on your client’s disorganized desk, so you might need to perform this process twice or more before getting paid.
Digital invoices are again the best possible solution. Digital invoicing management tools make it easier to create, send and organize invoices, so you are not wasting time manually messing with paper. Invoice systems are able to pull pertinent information directly from your digital invoices and share smash data with other tools you might use for tracking your income and expenses, making every business process much simpler.
Making Mistakes on Invoices
When you are crafting every new invoice from scratch, you are bound to make mistakes — and mistakes will cost you time and money. Every invoice needs to include information your clients need to disperse payment, and you should check and double-check that this information is accurate. Some examples of critical information include:
- “Invoice.” The word “invoice” should be clearly displayed, so your recipient isn’t confused about the purpose of the document.
- Your name and contact info. You should make it easy for your client to get back in touch if they have questions about the invoice.
- Recipient’s name. You should include the name of the company as well as the professional responsible for accepting and releasing your payment.
- A description of your services. You should break down your services and prices to make it clear how you reached the final sum. You never want to surprise your client with your costs.
- The total amount owed. This should be larger than other numbers on your invoice, so clients aren’t confused about the amount they must pay.
Some clients ignore invoices that contain mistakes, while others will force you to send a new invoice with the wrong information corrected. In either case, you are wasting valuable time, so it is worth a few seconds to proofread your invoices before sending them.
Requesting Management Approval
Some organizations have so much bureaucracy built into their processes that it takes several layers of approval for any task to get done. Unfortunately, invoice payments often require approval from management, which means if you send your invoice to someone in accounts payable without this power, you could be delaying your payment. You should ask your contact for the contact information of the manager responsible for approving your invoice, so you can send your invoice to that person directly.
Time is money, so if you are making the above invoicing mistakes, you are costing yourself an unknowable amount of cash. The right invoicing techniques will keep your payments flowing, so you need to consider your tools and strategies for invoicing today.