There are many things that are more enjoyable than invoicing. Especially if you have to wrangle quote and task information and collate timesheet data. Luckily we’ve got the tips that can make invoicing a speedy, easy, and even fun process if you’ve got the right systems in place.
1. Ditch the manual process … get invoicing software
If you do nothing else, this one step could save you hours on admin. Just ask Richard Rowe, owner of Rotaret, a hydraulic engineering firm based in Victoria, Australia.
Richard started as a one-man operation and has grown his business well. But his clunky admin processes (mainly on spreadsheets) couldn’t keep up with Rotaret’s growth. “I was spending way too much time managing the business,” he admits.
So he implemented WorkflowMax project management software. Richard and his team save hours of admin time every day by using WorkflowMax’s quoting, job management, timesheets and invoicing features. Richard can now spend those hours with his family or on other tasks.
And Richard has noticed an additional bonus to automating Rotaret’s invoicing process: “When we go out and do a job, we can create an invoice and email it to the customer before we even leave their office, which means we get paid faster and improve our cash flow – key for any business owner.” Richard estimates that invoicing through WorkflowMax has improved the company’s cash flow by 10%.
2. Get your staff involved
This is actually a delegation tip that leads to time saving. If you’re finding invoices are stuck in a bottleneck in your company, it’s time to consider who is actually in charge of sending out the invoices.
As a business owner, you may feel that you’re the one who should be responsible for compiling invoices, but you’re so busy with other tasks that it’s hard to commit that time.
Instead of the job always falling to you, why not empower your staff to generate the invoices for their jobs? You’ll shorten the loop between the producer and administration, and help keep mistakes to a minimum.
Your team will appreciate having more responsibility, and if you use an invoice system like WorkflowMax, you’ll still be able to approve each invoice before it heads out the door.
3. Invoice electronically
With everyone on devices and computers these days, you want to deliver invoices in the way they’ll be actioned the quickest. So that’s not with a piece of paper you leave with a client at the end of a job. Or an invoice you send in the mail. You want to deliver your invoices online.
That way, the invoice arrives on the same device as your client’s accounting and banking system. And if you use Xero and WorkflowMax, you can set up an online payment option so your client can pay by credit card or direct debit. It’s an easier, more efficient process for both of you.
And if a client says they didn’t receive your online invoice, you simply resend it. And there will be no confusion over the total because there’s no handwriting to misinterpret!
4. Remind clients about unpaid invoices
The truth is that no matter how efficient your invoicing process is, late payments are always going to happen. Clients get busy, emails get forgotten, and sometimes your invoices fall through the cracks.
Which means eventually you’ll need to chase them up. With invoicing software, chasing unpaid invoices is as easy as running a report every month to see who hasn’t paid yet. Then you simply resend the invoice with a reminder message, or you can even set up automatic reminders. No one likes to hear they’ve dropped the ball so hopefully these reminders will get late clients to change their behaviour.
Being able to report on the metrics of unpaid invoices also helps you to notice patterns. For example, it might be the same clients who are late again and again. By discovering the pattern, you can introduce a late penalty if necessary, ask for payment up front before the work is done, or even let clients go if you decide they’re more trouble than they’re worth.
5. Use in-progress and recurring invoices
In-progress and recurring invoices are the standard in many industries. In-progress invoices break down your process into smaller steps. Instead of one giant monolith of an invoice at the end of the job, you can get paid as you complete tasks. This type of invoice is regularly used by businesses in the trade and construction industry. Recurring invoices are great if you do the same work for a client each month or you charge a monthly retainer like many creative agencies do.
Recurring and in-progress invoices help you manage cash flow month to month because you’ve got a much shorter time frame between performing the work and getting paid for it. And once you’ve got a system in place to create invoices, your whole invoicing process is easier.
6. Use invoicing templates
Different clients may ask for differing amounts of information on the invoices you send them. If you have invoicing software, it’s easy to give clients what they want because you can set up invoice templates.
From a basic job description and total, to a fully detailed breakdown of tasks and associated costs, defining which staff member undertook which stage, and extra descriptive notes, templates let you share the desired facts. Your template will also automatically add all your branding and formatting, making everything appear much more professional.
With WorkflowMax, you can duplicate, edit and reuse templates so you’ve got more time to focus on your job and less on admin.
7. Don’t put it off
While all of the above points will help you speed up the invoicing process, you still have to do the work – whether it’s compiling the invoice from spreadsheets or checking over a template in your invoice management system.
Put a recurring reminder in your calendar that invoicing time is 4pm on the last day of each month – and don’t let anyone book over that time. Or if you send invoices at the completion of each job, book out 15 minutes at the end of each day.
Speeding up your invoicing process will have a knock-on effect through your entire company. You’ll hopefully improve cash flow, reduce admin time, and no doubt feel less stressed because you don’t have that giant pile of paperwork to deal with! You’ll see that invoicing can even be fun! So what are you waiting for?