Ah, invoicing. As business owners, we should love it. It is our means of getting money in the bank.
And yet, the actual act of sending out and keeping track of invoices can leave you frustrated. It seems to be a never-ending chore, and it’s not like your clients pay any attention to the invoices, anyway. You constantly have to follow up on late or misplaced invoices.
Could the reason you find invoicing so frustrating be that your current system isn’t working? With a cloud-based electronic invoicing system – like that offered as part of the WorkflowMax job management system – most of the work is done for you, from generating the invoice to filling in the info, adding up the total, and sending it out to the right person.
If you’re not using a cloud-based invoicing system, is it perhaps time you considered it? Are you making any of these seven common invoicing mistakes?
1. DON'T use a badly-designed invoice
Creating an invoice template might seem easy, but you'd be surprised how many people miss off vital information, or make the invoice so unreadable that the client isn't certain what they are looking at.
Ensure you include all the relevant information – the client's details, your details, an itemised list of your services, a total, the date, your invoice number, and your payment information. Use a format that is simple and easy-to-read.
For more tips on creating simple, beautiful and functional invoices, check out our articles 7 Tips To Make Invoicing Fun & Get You Paid Faster, and 25 Beautiful Designer Invoices You'll Love.
2. DON'T make it hard for clients to pay you
How do you accept payment? What are your payment terms? Can the client pay online? Do they have to mail a check? Do they have to spin around three times and say a magical incantation?
Make it as easy as possible for your client to send you your money. Accept direct deposits into your bank account, and write your account number on your invoice. Include an address if they want to send a check.
If possible, you can also accept payment gateways like Paypal – this allows clients to pay by credit card and makes life easier for overseas clients.
3. DON'T forget a backup system
You sent your invoice, but the client didn't receive it. But you wrote the invoice out on some scrap paper, and didn't save a copy, so now you've got no record of exactly what it said and what amount you billed for.
You kept a hard copy of every invoice you sent in a filing cabinet in your office. Sadly, your building was targeted by arsonists, and all your files were destroyed. Now you have no backups of anything, and your accounts are suffering.
Many businesses are scared of cloud-based software, but it is one of the easiest and simplest ways of protecting your data against loss. Information is stored “in the cloud” in a secure environment (usually more secure than a local server) and you can access it anywhere in the world, from any device, at any time. If your local files are destroyed you can be back up and running in minutes from your cloud-based files.
Still scared about investing in cloud-based workflow and invoice management software? Check out our article 5 Cloud Computing Myths – BUSTED.
4. DON'T have only one employee who understands the system
You hate invoicing, so you delegate the responsibility to a responsible staff member, and everything runs smoothly. But your responsible staff member gets sick and needs to take a few months off – what do you do? Neither you, nor any other staff member understands your invoicing system, and you've got clients who needed their bills yesterday.
It's important that you have a system that anyone in the office can learn, so that if the staff member in charge of invoicing gets sick, you can still send invoices. This is why a cloud-based system is so useful – it can be accessed by any person, on any machine, from anywhere in the world.
5. DON'T mess up the currency
If you're like me, you have clients in multiple countries, which means converting your fee into different currencies. And it's important to ensure that you get this conversion correct – miss a few digits or a decimal point, and you could be cutting yourself seriously short.
6. DON'T send an invoice to the wrong person
Have you ever accidentally sent Client A Client B's invoice? Isn't that awkward, especially if you've given Client B a discount? Sending the wrong invoice makes you look disorganised and unprofessional (never mind the fact that you probably are a bit disorganised, if you're sending out the wrong invoices). Having an automated invoicing system prevents this mistake from happening, as each invoice is tied to a particular client.
7. DON'T forget to send your invoice
Lastly, one of the worst mistakes any business owner could make is to forget to send out your invoice. How will you get paid for the hard work you've done, if you don't actually invoice the client?
This is why it's important to have a solid system in place to make invoicing as easy as possible. WorkflowMax offers one such system - invoicing tools are an important part of our workflow management system. And with our new Work-in-Progress ledger, invoicing just got easier and more intuitive. Check out one of our FREE WIP Ledger Webinars to learn all about the new features.