Virtually every company in the US has access to email making online invoicing relevant to every client you deal with. Believe it or not, there are still a lot businesses that rely on snail-mail and paper checks to collect payment from their clients.
Doctors offices, law practices, and other professional services industries that rely on invoicing to get paid have options, but many business owners aren’t aware of the different avenues available to them. The biggest new avenue to online invoicing? Bringing it all online.
The benefits of bringing your invoicing online are endless, but above all, online invoicing saves you time. If you’re still mailing paper invoices and receiving checks back from your clients, think about the time it takes for each step of that transaction. You must create the invoice, print it, mail it, wait for it to arrive, your client has to mail back the check, and finally you have to go and deposit that check into your bank account and wait for the funds to clear. With online billing, you’re able to automatically generate an invoice and send it to your client with a click of a button. From there, the client can pay online – getting you your funds much faster!
Not only do you get paid faster, but with online billing, you’re able to free up your time (or your staff’s) for more important tasks. This might seem like a no-brainer, but with so much going on in the world of a business owner, it’s easy to fall into a routine. If something seems to be working, like printing invoices, you might not see a need to re-evaluate. However, when it comes to cash flow and the health of your business, taking a look at your billing process could have a huge impact.
Another major benefit of bringing your billing online is an improvement in organization. Think about all of the information associated with a payment – client information, billing history, services rendered – the list can go on and on! With an online billing system, you can keep track of all of this information in one simple platform. Customer data such as name, phone number, and billing address are saved safely and can be easily accessed whenever it is needed. You can also track the history of a certain client without needing filing cabinets or a complicated folder system.
That said, here are 3 tips for transitioning to an online billing process and making the most of this new technology for your business.
Schedule Invoices Ahead of Time
To ensure you get paid on time, it is always a good idea to find a payment solution that allows you to schedule payments ahead of time, especially for those clients that have a recurring billing schedule. If you have a retainer-style business, being able to schedule multiple invoices at once saves time and ensures your clients get proper notifications when payments are due.
By scheduling invoices ahead of time, you can be confident that payment is made promptly to your business. Think of how much time you’ll save setting a recurring schedule of 10 invoices all at once! As a business owner, your time is precious, which is why it’s important to save time on these smaller tasks. Invoicing is an essential part of your business, but it doesn’t have to be the biggest part of your day. Set-it-and-forget-it functionality is a key feature to look for when evaluating different online invoicing providers.
Maintain Accurate Customer Records
Keeping thorough and accurate records of customer information is a best practice for any business, especially for those that use invoices to collect payments. It is particularly important to make sure you’re storing and tokenizing your client’s preferred payment information so that recurring payments are easily paid. Keeping accurate customer records also means you can easily track outstanding invoices or make account updates without a hassle.
When shopping for an online billing provider, make sure you look for a software that makes it easy for you to update billing information, track payments made by individual clients, and use securely saved payment details to run recurring transactions. The last thing you want is for a recurring payment to not go through due to expired payment information. Plus, with today’s modern electronic security standards, it’s more of a risk to rely on manual data entry and analog storage methods to keep your sensitive information safe.
Don’t Bundle with Your Accounting Software
Although online invoicing and accounting softwares might sound related, it’s not always a good idea to combine these services with one provider. Bundled programs have convenient integrations, true, but they are typically more expensive than they should be. Even a 1% increase in fees from a merchant account through your invoicing software could mean significant dollars for your business.
In addition, bundled services often have below average customer service and support. More often than not, merchants call in with a payment processing issue and get bounced from department to department before someone can help them. Accepting payments is vital to your business, so having the confidence that your provider is a payments expert gives you some much needed peace of mind.
Next Steps with Online Billing
Whether you already use online billing for your business or you are looking for your first provider, take a look at the needs of your business and evaluate what matters most to you. Is it cost? Feature functionality? Ease of use? It might even be all three! At the end of the day, the most important tip is simply finding the best-fit provider for your business. Asking the right questions during sales calls, taking a deeper look at the features you want, and considering things like user experience and customer service are all easy ways to get the most complete picture of what your new invoicing software provider will be able to bring to the table.