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When it comes to efficient invoicing, every business or individual should exert professionalism at every turn. After all, there is nothing more serious or important in business as payment.

At the same time, the process of invoicing is also an opportunity to create structure and organization within a business.

From tracking and time sheets to inventory and sales, invoicing software is capable of simplifying many aspects of a business and condensing this information into one system.

With this in mind, attention to detail is always important but establishing a clear process is often key to the efficiency of finances within a business. Here are some of the most useful tips for creating the perfect invoice and system for a small business.

Create Perfect Invoice

As already mentioned, the invoice itself should be professional and accurate, but simplification is key to establishing the perfect invoicing system.

In this sense, there are several software applications which create such invoices and then store the information in an electronic filing system. As you might expect, this system is fully automated, easy to manage and customizable.

Furthermore, this system will often feature a range of functions which cater to expense tracking, inventory, sales figures and even taxes. In short, the prospect of having a seamless system and specific place for this information is extremely beneficial for the growth of a small business.

While many invoicing software options are rather expensive, there are some invoicing systems such as 12th Door which is extremely efficient and entirely free.

Establish a Clear Process

When you set out to establish a set process for invoicing, you are committing to saving a significant amount of time.

For example, if a customer is unsure with regard to the content of an invoice, they may seek clarification or further guidance, and this is time-consuming at the very least.

Also, the invoice should consist of a very clear process which outlines a secure and easy payment process.

It may seem unnecessary, but while Paypal and credit card are the most common methods of payment, the invoice should clearly state that these methods are fully supported.

However, there should also be a general process which outlines the entire system to internal members of the business.

After all, this information is not merely for receiving payment and needs to be stored in such a way that you can easily access previous records at any time.

Highlight the Due Date

In the same way that payment options need to be identified, there should be a precise due date on every invoice.

Setting a due date is the perfect way to establish a process which can encourage the best practice and habits about payments from customers. In case you might be asking yourself, failing to set a due date is likely to discourage customers from prioritizing this payment.

It must also be said that setting this guideline from the outset is a perfectly reasonable approach to a contract of any kind.

On the contrary, setting these guidelines in the event of a non-payment can appear as a threat or warning to customers which is never beneficial for a long-term relationship.

Implement Recurring invoices

Producing a recurring invoice is another way to foster a positive and healthy relationship with regular customers. Overall, this will ensure that invoices are expected as opposed to being intrusive while the timely manner of this aspect creates routine within the invoicing system.

As a rule, recurring invoices are also likely to result in recurring payments, and this is certainly one of the most reassuring signs for a small business.

In some cases, the time frame for these invoices can be monthly or weekly, but the reasoning for recurring invoices is always the same in a sense that they seek to establish a healthy pattern of payments from customers.

Use Simple Language

As always, you should never assume the level of understanding for which a customer might have regarding a payment process. While we stress professionalism, due dates and an outline for payment methods, this information should be clear and courteous at all times.

Needless to say, you should never forget to thank customers and show genuine appreciation for their presence. Invoicing is the perfect opportunity to express this gratitude, and this is something which should never be taken for granted.

At the same time, the use of simple and straightforward language is important when communicating with customers. While demonstrating intelligence may seem relevant, the purpose of an invoice is to outline the process and encourage a simple outcome – prompt payment.

Take Advantage of Automation

Automation is arguably the most popular way to approach invoicing for small businesses. Invoicing software can provide specific programs and invoicing templates. Also an option to create a customizable invoice for customers.

For this reason, you can spend time to create the perfect invoice or existing templates are often applicable to almost any business.

Although this is merely one feature of this powerful software, for this automation extends to outsourcing many more aspects of the process. Instead of chasing up payments with customers, these attractive templates are automatically issued on a regular basis.

In the event of non-payment, the software will also issue a reminder to customers while the business owner has little more to do than wait for confirmation.  

As a final step in this process, receipts are automatically generated to complete this highly efficient invoicing system.

While finding new customers is always necessary for growth, efficient invoicing is equally as important for the organization and profitability of a small business.

Similarly, freelancers and small businesses can find a wide a range of tools within this software to streamline the process and transition to a superior invoicing system.

SMALL BUSINESS GUIDE: Create an accurate invoice

How you create your invoices and what kind of content they have on them, can say a lot about you as a professional. That is why when drafting your invoices you need to think about the accurate content you put it, the design and the professional attitude behind them.

Here are our tips on what you need to have in mind when you construct your invoices:

Leave the best impression – with your invoices you send a message about your business. So when your clients receive that invoice can which more information about what you do. So if it’s not-well designed or it does not give the specific indication about your business, often can leave a bad impression on you as a professional.

Keep the number correct – the invoice is a request for payment so you need to be super careful while adding the correct amount of payment. So track your hours and product sales accurately, send the correct amount for payment and keep the same timing while sending the invoice – good time management can take you a long way.

Keep sending invoices regularly – it’s the most important part of your business. As if you not getting paid it’s bad for your cash flow and you won’t have a business by the end of the day.

Select a delivery method – some companies tend you have paper invoices, either prefer online documents as they are more flexible, they can more around faster, can be processed, indexed and search easily.

Create well-designed invoices – everyone loves beautiful invoices. If you don’t have design skills there are a lot of invoicing solutions that have pre-designed temples which can fit your needs.

Personalize and add your business information in the invoice– your invoice is same as your business card. It needs to have all the information about your business provided so it can look professional and can make your business stand out.

Don’t get surprised – create an invoice with the amount that was already discussed with your client. If there is difference in the amount that needs to be paid, leave the difference out of the invoice and setting the misunderstanding additionally with your client.

Keep your items in order – there are several items that need to be added to your invoice like services performed, date and time range, hours worked, the quantity of items supplied, the rate per hour or item, amount, sub-total, tax amount and total. Some invoicing software has all this data pre-arranged so you do not forget some of them.

Add previously discussed payment methods – keep in mind not to forget the pre-defined terms about payment methods with your client before you send the invoice

Be professional and polite – at the end, this is still a business communication and part of the overall image of your company and business. So keep things professional if you want to retain your customers.

Accounting Software, Invoicing tool or Do Invoicing the Traditional Way

Each business has to handle its finances which include invoicing and bookkeeping in most cases. It can also include estimation of taxes, expenses, and billing from clients, which is the key feature in every sustainable and profitable business.

With the tendency of growth in all online businesses, as well as the increment in the number of freelancers and independent contractors, the need to have the right online tool or software to help with invoicing and bookkeeping is getting more stronger.

But when is the best time to get rid of the endless spreadsheets and docs in the cloud and start using a tool that can save you time, make you seem professional in-front of your clients and help you get your finances in a row?

Each and every one of us has started doing their invoices the hard way – the traditional way. In the beginning, the accounting needs to be simple and easy. All you need is a good knowledge of MS Excel, Mac Numbers, or Google Sheets. But as your business grows your accounting and invoicing becomes more complex. And you need more time to do it by yourself and it is a risk for potential mistakes while doing it.

Accounting Software, Invoicing tool or Do Invoicing the Traditional Way

Then comes the need to research and try out invoicing tools or accounting software or maybe both.

Here are several points to keep in mind on why you need an invoicing tool or accounting software:

  • If you create invoices, you need an invoicing tool. That’s the only way you can benefit from features such as recurring invoices and automatic payment reminders.
  • Invoicing software is very affordable. Some invoicing tools start from 0$ – 20$ per month depending on the features they offer.
  • When looking for “Accounting Software,” keep in mind to look for “double-entry accounting” or “double-entry bookkeeping” feature. If the software does not have that it’s an accounting software.

But what if you are a freelancer that has only a few clients. Or you just started your business?

Here are some criteria to have in order to qualify to use an invoicing software or tool:

  • You don’t have inventory.
  • You don’t have any payable account – like stuff you haven’t paid but you are going to soon
  • You are a one-person business and you don’t have any employees

Invoicing tools bring a lot of benefits for your business. Here are some of them:

  • They have fewer features and are simpler to use
  • Better value for money. Usually, they are much affordable for starting businesses
  • You can be paid faster especially since most invoicing software allows you to receive online payments via services like Payoneer, PayPal or Stripe
  • Accounting software can be hard to manage and confusing if you don’t have an accountant knowledge.
  • You will be more organized and you will look more professional in front of your clients
  • You can collect automatic payments and sales information
  • You will save time and resources used for traditional invoicing
  • You can send invoices from everywhere and have secure data

So do you use accounting software, invoicing tool or you do your invoicing the traditional way? Let us know!