If you run a small business, then you understand how important it is to get paid on time. In fact, it’s one of the most important aspects of running a business. After all, how can you pay for your expenses if you have a cash flow problem? That’s why invoices are so important.
Despite the importance of invoices, that doesn’t make them everyone’s favorite task. Invoices can be time-consuming and tedious. Based on the Intuit Small Business Survey in November 2011, “25 percent said that they spend as much as three to five hours each week invoicing and chasing down overdue payments.” And, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, clients are paying businesses at a slower rate.
In 2011, USA Today shared the findings from the National Federation of Independent Business, which discovered it is now taking more than 90 days to receive payment. Almost a year later The Wall Street Journal shared similar findings from the National Federation of Independent Business.
So, what can your agency do to be certain a client not only pays for the services rendered, but also pays on time?
We’ve come up with a list of 10 resources to that you should use when it’s time for your agency to bill clients.
Words of Advice Regarding Online Invoices
Before we get to the list of invoice resources, here are some tips to keep in mind prior to sending out invoices.
Use Invoice Software
When you use invoice software you can create invoices, send them out and keep track of when clients have paid you or not. There are some free services, as well as monthly subscriptions. We’ll share some top-notch invoice software options very shortly.
Establish Payment Policies
Before sending out invoices develop guidelines on how and when you want to get paid. For example, determine which payment modes you accept, when due dates are, how much you will charge for your services, and what you will do if a client doesn’t pay on time.
Set-Up Recurring Billing
To ensure that your client will not forget about paying you, set it up so that your client’s bank account or credit card is charged every month. Most invoice software allows you to input this information so that you receive payments automatically.
Send Electronic Invoices
To prevent clients misplacing your invoice or it getting lost in the mail, send them an invoice through email. It is unlikely they will lose it this way, of course paying you is a different matter. Another perk of sending an invoice via email is that it speeds up the payment process.
Don’t Forget to Include Your Contact Information and Invoice Number
There’s a good possibility that your invoice will be reviewed several times by several different people before it’s approved. By including your full name, address, email and phone number, you’ll make it easier for these people to identify who they are paying.
And, make sure you number all of your invoices so that it’s easy to keep track of all the invoices that you’ve sent out.
Keep Track of Payment History
Keep track of your payment history by creating a customer database. Not only will this help you keep track of payments received and those pending, they can also help you discover the payment patterns of your clients.
It also wouldn’t hurt to back these records up just in case. It’s always better safe than sorry.
With that advice in mind, lets look at 10 invoice resources.
Freshbooks has been around for about a decade and has earned a reputation for having extraordinary customer service. And there’s also the plethora of features that will save you time and headaches when billing your clients.
For starters, Freshbooks can receive payments from PayPal and 13 other gateways, which should help you get paid in no-time. Some of their awesome features include a customization feature to add a logo to your invoice, set-up of recurring invoices and auto payment, invoice views tracking, switch to different currencies, a client portal, late payment reminders, the ability to send invoices via email or snail mail, and a great blog with educational posts. And those are only some of the awesome features FreshBooks has to offer.