Invoices are a necessary evil. It’s what your agency needs to get paid!
As your agency’s financial manager, ownership of this monthly responsibility falls to you. Commonly, this assignment breaks down into a variety of smaller tasks, including:
- Tracking down everyone’s hours.
- Keeping track of variable hourly rates.
- Recording job expenses.
Compiling all of these numbers together at the end of each project can be a tedious task. This is particularly true if a technology system that connects timesheets and job costs for key invoice insights is not part of your invoice management process.
Consider the following tips for simple, tech-savvy and collaborative invoice processes that make this ongoing task that much easier.
1. Assign and Keep a Catalog of Hourly Rates
The American Institute for Graphic Arts suggests the following as standard hourly rate options for your agency to consider as you calculate project costs:
- Different rates for each staff member
- Different rates for each role on the team
- A different rate for each task
Assigning project costs at the end of the month can be difficult if you are unsure of which rates should be associated to which person or project assignment.
Select one of the pay systems noted above or create your own based on what works best for your agency. Create a formal record of agency-wide pay rate allocations based on your selection and make these insights available agency-wide at quick reference.
If you use a time tracking tool, make sure these hourly rates are preloaded and associated with an individual’s time automatically. This will save you the headache of applying these rates and adding up project costs later on.
2. Technology to Record and Mark Up Job Expenses
As part of most client projects, your agency, and in turn the client, will incur some expenses, whether it be printing, gas/mileage, postage or outside vendors.
Capturing and marking up these costs is important to project profitability, which is why having a tool to not only capture these costs, but automatically add in the agreed upon mark-up is essential.
When looking for a job expense tool, some key features to ask for include:
- A portal through which you can access to all of your expenses at a glance.
- Integration directly with client project portals and time tracking for easy reporting.
- Reports that show estimated costs against quoted numbers and actual costs for instant knowledge on each project’s projected profitability.
- Accounting software integration for tracking outstanding expense balances.
3. Make Invoice Development Collaborative
Don’t put the burden of invoice management for the entire agency on yourself.
Instead have individual account managers take ownership of ensuring time sheet and expense information is collected and uploaded for their teams. Put the onus of invoice development and initial review on their shoulders.
As the one directly managing the client work, the account manager will have more insight into:
- Team member responsibilities and activities.
- How much time activities took and whether that time aligns with recorded timesheets.
- What expenses were incurred that may have been overlooked.
- If any project scope changes occurred that requires adjusting the initial estimate.
In passing the responsibility of client invoicing off to account managers, you likely improve billing accuracy while freeing up your time to work on higher-level responsibilities.
Create Systems for Easy Invoice Management
Utilize technology and process to simplify invoice development and distribution. By doing so, you can save yourself time while potentially improving the overall accuracy of invoices.
For more information on what a technology with these capabilities would look like, check out WorkflowMax’s features section.
How has your team increased efficiencies with invoice management? Share your tips in our comments section below.