Invoicing is a tedious, yet necessary, function of a business. You’ll create an invoice, send it -- either through snail mail or electronically -- and until you receive payment, there isn’t a way to tell whether or not the other party received it.
With a plethora of technology at our fingertips, it seems backward to allow some of the simplest functions in business to slow workflow. We adjust to common obstacles and develop work-around processes that further impede productivity. Instead, we should go directly to the source of these pain points and solve them.
Here are some ways to make invoicing less painful:
1. Make it cloud-based.
One of the biggest document management system problems is filing and keeping track of records. Both paper-based and electronic systems have their individual storage and collaboration challenges.
If you use paper invoices, you’ll have enormous piles of paper to sift through when looking up old records, not to mention high paper costs. If you prefer to store invoice records electronically, you may have to scan and upload all invoices into your system. Even then, does the invoicing software allow you to access records from anywhere?
A cloud-based invoicing platform makes sending and storing invoices convenient, with access to your folder from virtually anywhere. A reliable storage system like this minimizes the risk of losing invoices.
A cloud-based smart document solution also allows clients to comment directly on invoices if they have any questions or concerns. Billing can quickly collaborate with sales to make changes, all in the same platform, from any Internet-enabled device.
2. Use analytics to track when invoices are opened and read.
When you send clients invoices, there’s often no way to tell when they receive, open, or read them. Then a follow-up call to a client may reveal there’s a error on the invoice, which is why they haven’t paid it. The billing department needs better insight into what keeps clients from paying on time.
Implement smart document analytics into your invoicing system. Create smart invoices that inform you when the client opens and sees the invoice. Then you can better time a quick follow-up call to ask if they have any questions or concerns with the invoice.
3. Reduce steps required to pay.
A cumbersome payment process can dramatically slow invoice processing. Turn multiple payment steps into one by placing credit card processing right into the electronic invoice document. Use invoice documents that integrate with tools like PayPal and Stripe.
Automated payment processing also reduces steps on the back-end, allowing transactions to occur immediately with all payment information in one place. This saves time in processing and entering payment data.
4. Keep a content library.
A content library with templates can reduce the time it takes to build invoices. With templates and pre-built content blocks, you won’t have to start from scratch every time you create a new proposal. Instead of using old documents as templates and overwriting them, put together a fresh proposal in minutes to reduce errors.
5. Integrate your contacts’ information with your invoicing platform.
One of the most tedious parts of building an invoice is entering repeat data -- the company name, address, and other contact information that doesn’t change on a regular basis. Instead of entering this data every time, use an invoice builder with a tokens feature, as shown below.
Tokens pull client information from a contacts list to auto-fill in the appropriate places to save you time when creating and addressing invoices.
There are numerous tools to help make common, frustrating business processes less painful. Keep an eye out for the new features and integrations released every few weeks, like PandaDoc’s integration with Harvest, for example. Don’t live with painful processes -- implement a smart document solution so you can perform better with ease.
What are some of your worst invoicing problems? Is there a tech solution available to solve them?