Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, more businesses were turning to digital technology for online invoicing and automated accounting systems. However, if there’s ever been a time when online business practices have started to take off, it’s been since the onset of the pandemic.
If you were one of those business owners who was still debating the advantages of moving from manual to automated invoices when the pandemic arrived, we’re sure you no longer need convincing. While the pandemic has caused a massive disruption in the global economy, businesses are still trying to navigate the situation and finding ways to survive.
For those who have survived the fall-out since the onset of this crisis and for startups, it’s been essential to find smarter ways to run your administrative tasks including issuing invoices. Managing your business cash flow has become crucial if you want to stay above water during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small businesses are grappling with the challenges posed by operating in a pandemic environment and using online technology is one of the best ways to keep the ship afloat. If you’re still exploring the option of installing automated invoicing processes for managing your business cash flow, read on to find out more.
What’s Changed for Business Owners Operating in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Many business owners had to face the prospect of shutting doors, trimming down on their workforce, or finding innovative ways to keep going in a pandemic. Overnight, a rampant virus changed the way business owners could run their businesses.
The biggest change you faced may have been transitioning from a brick and mortar to an online business. Lockdown regulations forced the majority of companies to work from home. Whatever business you were running pre-pandemic, you were now made to find creative ways of keeping operations on the go in a completely different working environment.
With limited to no physical contacts allowed with clients, you may have had to rely on online sales. Social distancing has become the name of the game and every business owner suddenly found themselves even more responsible for the health and safety of both their employees and customers.
With more focus turned towards the cash flow of your business, it wouldn’t have taken you long to realize that timely invoice submission was more crucial than ever before. If you were relying on the postal system or courier services to deliver manual invoices, you may discover your invoices aren’t getting to your customers as quickly as they should be. The result? Serious delays in payments.
Another challenge has been managing the issuing of invoices. If you’ve had to cut down on your workforce, you now find yourself doing the administrative tasks once handled by an employee. Writing manual invoices, ensuring they get mailed or couriered, and then following up for payments are all extra work tasks you hadn’t anticipated.
Managing Your Cash Flow During a Pandemic with Online Invoicing
With all of the abovementioned changes and others, small business owners like you are finding smarter ways to operate efficiently in the pandemic. Managing the cash flow and keeping it healthy is vital and invoice processing is one of the key administrative tasks that need to be performed regularly and professionally.
Online invoicing software helps many small businesses run their operations smoothly and this has become prevalent in the COVID-19 business environment. Automated invoice processing serves more than just making it simpler and more efficient to issue invoices. Online invoice software also helps with the following areas of your business:
- Creation of professional invoices and other documents
- Sending of invoices directly to your customers and contactless payments
- Recurring invoices
- Tracking of payments and expenses
- Inclusion of the team and the accountant
- Invoicing in different currencies and languages
- Maintaining credibility with your customers
Let’s talk about the benefits of using online invoices for small businesses operating in the pandemic environment.
The Benefits of Online Invoicing
Creation of Professional Invoices
An online invoice maker such as the one from Billdu gives you a range of invoice templates to work with. You can also include your business logo, contact details, and payment methods. Such customization features let you send out professional invoices that align with your brand. Your customers will know instantly where the invoice is coming from and what needs to be paid.
Creation of Other Documentation
An online invoicing system can also let you create proforma invoices, delivery notes, purchase orders, and estimates. Instead of fiddling with Word document or Excel spreadsheets, you can effortlessly draw up other documentation required for your business.
Send Invoices Directly to Your Customers
You no longer need to rely on slower or non-existent postal or courier services to deliver your invoices to your customers. Invoicing software allows you to send your automated invoices directly to your customers’ mailboxes. And, you’ll receive a notification when the invoice is in their Inbox and when they open the invoice.
Smooth Issuing of Recurring Invoices
If your business relies on monthly payments then issuing recurring invoices is essential to keep the monies coming in. Invoicing software has simplified this process and with a few clicks of the button, recurring invoices are sent out automatically. You can rest assured your customers are receiving their invoices on time, prompting them to make a speedy payment too.
Contactless Payment Methods
With online invoicing, you can include the type of payment methods available. With our card payment options using Stripe, Billdu gives your customers an option of paying with their credit or debit card. By inserting a pay button on your invoice your customers can also choose to pay via PayPal.
Tracking of Payments
Once an invoice has been sent to your customer you’ll know it’s landed in their mailbox and been opened. Keeping track of payments becomes easier too with automated invoicing software. Detailed charts and reports tell you at a glance what income you have and who hasn’t paid you. This allows you to chase up outstanding payments as soon as possible.
Keep an Eye on Your Expenses
Not only will you know your business income status but you can also keep an eye on your expenses with an online invoice processing system. Images of your receipts and bills can be snapped with a receipt scanner and sorted into easily-manageable categories. With both income and expenses captured in one place, you’ll be able to understand how your business cash flow is performing.
Include the Team and the Accountant
Instead of managing all the issuing of invoices yourself, you can include team members on your automated invoicing system. You can also create invoices online and invite your accountant who no longer needs to rely on manual submissions for financial reporting purposes. This also means more accurate financial reports.
Simpler Invoicing in Different Currencies and Languages
Online businesses are not restricted to doing business in certain areas. Your business may have expanded to include other countries and it makes it so much easier to issue invoices using the currency and language of customers living in a foreign country. Online invoice software allows you to do exactly this which not only impresses your foreign customers but also allows for faster payments with less confusion.
Maintaining Credibility With Your Customers
Timely invoice submission with invoices that clearly detail the information impresses your customers. They know exactly what they’re paying for and will be more inclined to make a faster payment especially if pay button methods are included on the invoice.
How Does Online Invoicing Keep You Safe During the Pandemic
COVID-19 regulations such as lockdown, social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing are all being strongly implemented to prevent the transmission of the virus. While this is essential for the health and safety of every person, the regulations have impacted how businesses operate in many ways.
Business owners are faced with handling their own safety as well as those of their employees and customers. This is where systems such as online invoicing become vital for keeping you and everyone else involved in your business safe.
But how does online invoicing keep you safe during the pandemic?
Keeps You Organized
An organized business is more likely to have a healthier cash flow which means your business is safe, financially. An automated invoicing processing platform helps you to not only issue invoices but to allocate reference numbers for easy accessing should they ever be an enquiry. You’ll also be able to file your invoices in an orderly manner.
Online invoicing also means your accountant can manage the financial reports more efficiently, alerting you to any problems sooner rather than later. This prevents you from being surprised should your business cash flow take a knock.
The most crucial aspect of staying afloat during the pandemic is being financially secure and safe.
You and Your Workforce Can Abide by Social Distancing Regulations
Social distancing requires everyone to maintain a healthy distance of at least 1.5 to 2 metres apart. Instead of exposing you and your employees to constant face-to-face contact with your customers, online invoices allow you to send invoices directly to their mailboxes. This means you can abide by the social distancing regulations while keeping you and your workforce safe during the pandemic.
You’re also respecting your customers’ safety by letting them receive your invoices directly in their Inbox, minimizing any risk of coming into contact with a potential COVID-19 carrier. The same applies to the issuing of recurring invoices.
Online invoicing also limits the amount of times you or your employees have to go to the post office or engage with courier staff to deliver manual invoices.
By offering your customers the option of making a contactless payment, you’re making it easier for them to stay at home while keeping up with their payments. This not only aids in social distancing but it also keeps your cash flow running smoothly, keeping your finances in a safe and healthy state.
With contactless payments, you don’t have to worry about your safety as the business owner nor that of your workforce and your customers. Accepting online payments is a smart move every business owner should consider while operating during the pandemic.
Keeps You Connected With Your Customers Safely
Online invoicing often allows you to send attachments with your invoices. This way, you can send personalized notes, newsletters, your latest special offers, or any other information related to your business. This keeps you connected with your customers in a safe way without exposing anyone to the risk of COVID-19.
A successful business relies on the loyalty of their customers and with personal engagement no longer possible, companies are having to find other ways to connect with their customers safely. Personalizing invoices and sending attachments is one of the best ways to keep this connection and loyalty from your clients.
Work From Home Safely
Mobile apps allow you to manage all your invoicing requirements safely from the comfort of your home office. You’re no longer required to go into the office and do all your invoicing there. The pandemic has forced many businesses to operate from home and using Billdu’s invoice app for both iPhone and Android mobiles simply makes issuing invoices a breeze.
The invoice app not only lets you generate invoices but helps you to keep a track of all your payments, build your own client list, and review charts as well as reports and statistics. With such convenience, you can have peace of mind you’re safe while keeping up to date with all your business transactions.
Keeping safe during the pandemic is at the forefront of everyone’s mind including business owners. By being smart with business practices and taking advantage of tools such as online invoicing software, you can rest assured you and your employees and customers are safe at all times.
Contact our team at Billdu today and discover how online invoicing can help you navigate a changed business world currently operating in a pandemic. Keep your business afloat with automated invoice processing and know that your business is financially safe as well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thinking of trying one of the free invoice makers available? Why are they popular, what are the downsides to using them and are there any alternatives to free invoice makers? Read on to find out.
Running a business online has its fair share of complications. In the 21st century, there are hardly any business owners who do not own an online site to run their business through the technologically advanced medium. How many ever such businesses did exist a couple of years ago, the advent of Covid-19 has pushed all these offline traders to the online platform. Now the participation is more and consequently, the competition amongst sellers has also increased several folds.
Conducting business-related endeavors online can be very demanding and difficult. You would need to be at par with every new innovation that is brought about and you would need to keep adjusting and modifying your business to fit these changing trends. The most difficult aspect of online trading is managing the finances and ensuring that there is proper documentation of every transaction that is taking place.
Doing this manually would take up a lot of your precious time and effort. For this reason, businesses are now generating their own free invoice makers for their extensive ease of use and also their growing convenience in the daily buying and selling of goods online. But, like every good and workable thing in this world comes with its share of disadvantages, free invoices or free invoice makers have a set of cons too that every online businessman should know about. Read on to acquaint yourself more with these essential apps and some of their shortcomings.
Before we delve into the topic of online invoice makers and free invoice templates, let us talk a little about what invoices are and why exactly is the use of invoices necessary for your business in the current times. Come along, let us begin the discussion.
What are Invoices and Why are They so Necessary?
Invoices are generally a piece of document passed on from the seller to the buyer after a product has been purchased, in order to collect the due payment. This document contains a clear depiction of all the goods purchased, their quantity, the cost of each item etc. Invoices can be used as legally made records of all the details of a particular transaction that has taken place between a client and the seller.
Since everything is now based heavily on the internet, invoices too have evolved and are now available in the electronic version known as the e-invoice. These do not require any paper and can be sent via email, while the payment takes place online. These are secure, easy to maintain a record of and to preserve for future reference if the need ever arises.
Online invoices are important and necessary because they help in keeping track of transactions and record all finances, keep a check on the payments done and can also serve as protection for the seller against fraudulent court cases and lawsuits. These customer invoices can also help you to form several business analytics and gain insight into the kind of shopping patterns, likes, dislikes and trends that your customers have and follow.
Now that we have a clearer idea about what invoices are and why businesses need to opt for these invoices, let us delve into how free invoice templates work and how online business platforms can make the best out of these things without incurring any losses in the long term.
Free Invoice Templates – Uses, Pros and Cons
If you are a small business owner or a freelancer, then you must opt for customizing free invoice templates that are already available on various platforms such as though Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. These available invoice templates will ensure that a huge chunk of your time is saved and would also make certain that the due payment reaches you as soon as possible. All you need to do is to fill in the specific client information and these free invoice templates are ready to be used for your benefit.
These templates are easy to use and are made in the simplest way possible to ensure that everyone gets equal access to them. If you need to generate multiple invoices at the same time, then these templates are surely going to prove to be very handy. Through a PDF invoice template, you can ensure that your clients receive the bill immediately after the delivery has been made without any time lag.
Coming up with the right kind of invoice template can be a cause for concern for many business owners. To ease you off this burden, you can gain knowledge about how to make an invoice in the simplest steps, without much hassle or problems. Following these easy steps, you will be able to create an invoice that is legal as well as relevant. You can use any blank free invoice template for this work.
Invoice templates have several disadvantages too, such as watermarks. Although you have the choice to choose from multiple templates, most free invoice templates come with the watermark of their brand. As a result, what may happen is that your invoice will be used for the advertisement of a completely different brand. This can reflect poorly on the marketing sector of your company. Not to mention, this can heavily confuse your client regarding which company they are actually working with.
Free invoice templates can also bestow the user with a lot of unnecessary freedom. You may not want to design a template on your own because that would require a lot of knowledge and time. Whereas starting from a template that already has certain key elements to guide you with can prove to be helpful and also guarantees you a well-done invoice that reflects your brand and its message clearly. Along with this, is the factor of trusting a specific template company with financial data that should be confidential to your company and business transactions.
Free Invoice Makers – Advantages and Disadvantages
- Gives the Seller an Ease of Mind
Free Invoice makers take care of a lot of things very subtly, without raising an alarm or a nagging thought in your mind. While we are dealing with multitudes of pages filled with loads of data continuously, it is only natural that we might end up making some very embarrassing or unintentional mistakes. Chances of committing a human error are significantly decreased when working with an automated service such as an invoice maker. Since the level of interacting with the data and making an invoice out if is limited to the software or the invoice maker that you are working with, the possibility of a mistake happening is also reduced severely.
Sometimes when conducting business-related transactions and communications by mail or by post, it may happen that your client takes an unusually long period of time to get back to you regarding the payment of the deal. On inquiry, you may find out that your invoice never made it to your client in the first place owing to the complicated and tangled-up procedures of the mailing system.
Your inquiry can, in turn, make your clientele worried and confused regarding the whereabouts of their order. You would then have to scour through all the data once again and come up with an invoice for a second time. Free invoices and online invoice generators help to prevent this from happening by making sufficient copies of every invoice that you create.
- Improves Public Perceptions About Your Business.
The kind of image your customers have in mind regarding your company plays a significant role in bringing about more clients and customers by the spread of positive word-of-mouth. The better services you provide your users with, the more conversations are going to arise about how well your company handles heavy transactions in a smooth and convenient way. Fast and free invoice makers can have that impact on the image of your company amongst your target audience. Buyers will be more interested in trying out your products and trusting your company with their needs because of your hassle-free transactions.
The most important advantage of using free invoice makers is their sheer ease of use. No matter in which software operation and usage you are in, you will face absolutely no trouble in trying to work with these simple invoices. Cut down on the hours-long manual work and switch to these invoice makers where all you would need to do is type in a few buttons and the work will be done for you within seconds.
Most of the times when you use software to generate your free invoices, once you insert the client’s name and designation, it comes up with the rest of the details such as the billing address and phone number automatically owing to the particular client’s previously saved records.
- Customers that do not have an online presence will be left out
Not everyone is tech-savvy and is using online brands and products to fulfil their day-to-day needs. There are people who do not have a long-standing online presence and as a result, may be left in the dark regarding their invoices and how they can access every detail of their purchase. They might not be able to finish their paperwork, either.
There can be other businesses that you would want to establish deals with that do not have sufficient online presence or even a workable email. Just because they do not have enough technological awareness does not make them any less essential for your company’s growth. Manually done invoices can really do the trick with these clients, whereas free invoice templates would prove to be an epic failure.
- Inability to alter details
Free invoices, once made cannot be altered hugely later on. You will need to come up with a completely new invoice if you feel that your invoice needs changes in the future. The template may let you make minor changes owing to the order of the invoice or certain spellings of the chosen words but if you want to change the complete outlook of the invoice, you would, unfortunately, have to start off working with a new one until you have achieved how you envisioned your invoice to be.
- Can Get caught out by spam filters
Even though this might not be a very prominent issue to cause alarm amongst business owners that use free invoice templates, but everyone should take note of this issue. Since the only method of your invoices reaching your customers is through their e-mail ids, it is sometimes observed that too many e-mails from your company might lead to the email service marking your emails as spam. If this happens then each of your emails would reach the customer but would be deviated to the spam folder.
Alternatives to Free Invoice Makers
You may also use paid invoice makers if you want more efficiency in your work and also get access to advanced features. If you are just starting off with your business and have limited funds then free invoices maybe your resort but once you start earning the big bucks and would want your company to be up to the mark, then it would be wiser to select the right kind of invoice template service and to go ahead with them.
Make sure that you choose the right kind of invoice generator is you want to be on the safe side and not fall into the traps of any fraud or fallacy. If you’re a freelancer or a small business owner new to this field, then you need a guide to choosing the best free invoice app that is available in the market. Proper free invoices can have a generational impact on your business.
In this fast-changing world, nothing comes for free and nothing should be made in a way that wastes your time or energy. Everything has a market price and everything has an expiring date. If you want your company to boom with business and make great sales with easy transactions, sign up for a free 14-day Billdu trial and let go of all your business-related worries.
Whether you’re a startup or been operating for many years, you know that managing small business finances is essential if you want to keep your business growing. And, yet this is the one area many small businesses struggle to maintain. However, handling your small business finances can be done efficiently once you put your mind to it.
Ask most entrepreneurs what’s their biggest challenge and they’ll likely tell you financial management. When your company’s finances are in a mess you can expect your business to limp along or at worse, fold because of poor financial management. However, when you know how to plan small business finances, you’ll be well-informed about how your company is performing and why.
Financial management allows you to see the bigger picture while achieving daily financial objectives at the same time. Knowing how to plan your small business finances also gives you the key to making the best operating decisions in a proactive and constructive way.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your small business financial management system, read on as we share some tips for managing your company’s finances. By using these ideas, you can run your business knowing its financially healthy and expanding.
Benefits of Good Financial Management for Small Businesses
For many small business owners, employing an accountant or bookkeeper full-time is a luxury in the early days of starting up. This is when you, as the business owner, need to educate yourself around the basics of accounting so you can keep your financial management systems running smoothly.
It’s also essential to be well-organized. This means keeping your paperwork in order and tracking all your income and expenses throughout the year. Strong money management includes issuing and following through on invoices issued to customers, filling all receipts for expenditures, and reviewing your cash flow on a regular basis.
Smart financial management has many benefits for small businesses. Besides it being common sense, managing your finances properly as a small business owner means you can:
- Keep your company stable and growing instead of it failing because of poor cash flow management.
- Fulfill your obligations towards employees’ salaries and pay yourself every month.
- Maintain a heathy credit rating which makes it easier to apply for business loans if and when you need to.
- Keep the books in good shape for better financial reporting and tax returns.
- Plan ahead to keep operations going even during difficult times.
- See where your business needs improvement whether it’s in sales, better administration, or keeping costs down in certain operational areas.
By managing your small business finances in a smart and proactive way, you’re giving your company a strong financial footing to grow in the future.
Smart Tips for Managing Small Business Finances
Here are some smart tips to manage small business finances so you can rest assured your company will grow and remain stable even during challenging times.
Pay Yourself a Salary
It’s very tempting to put all your earnings straight back into your business without compensating yourself for all your time and hard work. This is a mistake many startup entrepreneurs make when not paying themselves a salary.
Having your own salary means you can still keep your personal financial needs in good shape. Running your own business finances and keeping them in order can be stressful so you don’t want to be worrying about your own personal finances as well. Always pay yourself as well as others working in your business.
Take Advantage of Loans
For many people, the prospect of taking out a loan for their business can be scary. However, with good business and financial planning, a loan could be the cash injection you need to get your business off the ground.
Capital from loans allows you to invest in the necessary equipment to manufacture your products, employ more staff, or keep your cash flow going while paying out suppliers and other vendors. It’s essential you source a loan with good interest rates so do your homework before taking out loans with any institution.
Keep a Good Credit Rating
When taking out a loan, make sure you pay it back regularly. This is one of the ways to build up a good credit rating or record. Banks are more inclined to support small businesses who manage their credit properly.
This includes paying up your business credit card as often as possible and any other debt funding taken out for your business. A good business credit record means you can take out loans more easily, purchase commercial properties for your business, and increase your insurance policies.
Get Familiar With Your Books
If you have a bookkeeper or accountant managing your books, arrange to have regular financial meetings with them. This way, you’ll have a clearer idea of how well your company is doing financially. Being astute with your business finances allows you to understand how your company is performing and why.
Get into the habit of checking your own business finances every day even if you do have a bookkeeper. Setting aside some time for daily monitoring of your books means you’re well-informed of all income and expenditures. It also means you can catch any financial problems early on and do something about it before it becomes a serious issue.
Develop a Smart Billing Strategy
One of the most essential components of your business is issuing invoices to your customers. If this is not done regularly and professionally, you’re going to battle to collect payments. While manual invoicing may seem like the simplest way to issue invoices, finding alternative smarter ways of creating and sending invoices will save you time and money as your business grows.
Automated invoicing such as Bildu’s online invoice generator simplifies the process of creating and issuing invoices while helping you track and collect payments from your customers. Our software allows you to generate estimates, proforma invoices, delivery notes, and purchase orders. Plus, you can also manage recurring invoices more efficiently with an online invoice maker.
Developing a smart billing strategy with an automated invoice processing system has many benefits including:
- Faster and more regular payments while tracking outstanding payments due to you for a better cash flow
- More professional invoices that’ll impress your customers
- Easier payment methods for your customers
By managing your income from invoices means you’ll have a healthier cash flow for your business to operate with.
Track Your Expenditures
On the other end of the financial management scale, is tracking your expenditures. Exact expense tracking is one of the musts for managing small business finances effectively. All businesses, no matter how small or big they are, will have expenses that need to be paid to keep operations running smoothly. Keeping track of all your bills and receipts can become a headache! These can include your operation expenses, marketing expenses (e.g. on social media marketing or small business SEO), staff expenditures etc.
An automated invoicing system is another way of keeping an eye on all your expenses. The online system allows you to audit your expenses regularly while reviewing how and why your money is being spent. Online expense management, similar to issuing automated invoices, also saves you time and money by capturing all expenditures into one place for easy monitoring and financial reporting.
By automizing your expenses, you’re simplifying the whole process of capturing all the paperwork such as those bills and receipts piling up on your desk! You’ll also have all your income and expenses online, in one place, making it easy to see how your business is performing with quick and informative financial reports and charts.
Produce Regular Financial Statements
Financial statements are another important aspect of managing small business finances. If you’re hiring an accountant, they’ll be producing monthly financial statements. However, if you’re managing all your business finances then you’ll need to find out how to put together financial statements. These include a cash flow statement, your income statement, and a balance sheet.
Monthly financial statements allow you to act proactively and make the right operational decisions for your business. They also make it easier to produce financial reports when applying for business loans or preparing for tax return submissions.
Financial statements can be produced using an automated accounting system. Once again, this is a time-saver tool to consider especially if you want to spend more time focusing on other aspects of your business while keeping an eye on the financial side of your operations.
Invest in Growing Your Business and Plan Ahead
Wherever possible, keep money aside for potential investment in growing your business in the future. This may seem challenging in your first days as a startup but the sooner you can do this, the better placed you’ll be for planning ahead and encouraging the expansion of your company.
If you’re able to show you can invest in growing your business you’ll reap the following benefits:
- A business that has a strong sense of financial direction and focus is more likely to thrive and become a stable company.
- You’ll be able to employ better quality employees who want to work with a business that shows potential for growth and expansion in the future.
- Loyal customers who value a business that’s committed to growing into the future while improving their services and products.
- Happy employees who know they’re working for a business that wants to grow and safeguard their own careers as well.
How to plan small business finances includes factoring in the potential of investing in opportunities further down the line that’ll expand your own company’s reach in its field. When working with your business finances always look ahead five to ten years so you stay ahead of your competitors.
Improve Internal Controls
Managing a team is hard work but essential for running your small business smoothly. However, if you don’t have proper internal controls in place, you run the risk of administrative tasks such as issuing of invoices, filing of bills and receipts and monitoring books being poorly managed.
Internal control is vital and there’s less chance of theft or embezzlement taking place. It also means you can have peace of mind each employee knows how you want your business run and they’re fully informed of all processes and policies within the company.
Another advantage of having an online invoice maker is being able to invite various team members onto the platform. These could include your bookkeeper and your accountant. Your employees will know how to issue professional invoices aligned with your business brand while maintaining the integrity of your financial records.
Install Good Financial Habits
Managing business finances is often ignored by entrepreneurs especially if they’re not equipped with the skills and capacity to do it themselves. However, this is not the reason to not instil good financial habits. By installing practical and regular financial habits, you’ll be able to manage most of your small business finances yourself.
Good financial habits should include the following:
- Educate yourself: Improve your financial IQ by watching videos on how to manage small business finances. You could also sign up for a short online course and find books to read.
- Being organized: Make sure all paperwork is filed on a regular basis and follows a simple referencing method. This includes bank statements, receipts, invoices, and contracts.
- Daily monitoring: Keep an eye on your books every day. Set aside time to run over the financials so you’re on top of what’s happening and know what your cash flow situation is at all times.
- Regular financial meetings: if you’ve got a bookkeeper or accountant handling all your finances then make sure you set up monthly financial meetings with them. This way you can review and update yourself on all the financial information you need.
- Proper tax management: This could include meeting your tax practitioner on a regular basis. You also want to ensure you know exactly what tax payments are due and when.
Instilling healthy and strong financial habits will stand you in good stead when growing your business and maintaining a healthy cash flow.
Starting up and running your own small business is an exciting venture many entrepreneurs dream of making come true. However, keeping it afloat is often challenging and at times, even overwhelming. By keeping your small business finances on track, organized, and functioning optimally, you have a better chance of seeing your business thrive. That’s why small business owners need to focus on managing small business finances effectively.
We, at Bildu, understand this and we also know how intimidated managing small business finances can be. This is why we came up with an automated invoicing platform to make your job as a small business owner easier.
If you’re looking for a smarter way to manage your small business finances, then go on over to our website. You’ll be glad you did when you discover our solutions to all your invoicing needs plus other smart tools for keeping your business financially healthy.
Online invoicing technology is rapidly changing the way businesses manage their invoices. More companies are taking advantage of this technology and using an automated invoice processing platform to simplify administration tasks. Proper cash flow management is key to the survival of any business and invoicing plays a big role in the accounting cycle.
For both startups and well-established small businesses, managing any invoicing including recurring invoices can be a challenging process. But automation invoicing software makes lightwork of this task!
By issuing invoices, you’re ensuring your products or services are being charged and paid for. While you may still be in the mode of using manual invoices, a smart move would be to choose an automated invoice processing software to do the job.
If you’re searching for the best invoice processing platform but not sure where to start, then read on. We’ll take you through what this software can do for you and your business and how it can save you precious time and money. We’ve also listed the key features you should look out for when picking an invoice processing platform for your company’s accounting needs.
What is an Automated Invoice Processing Platform?
An automated invoice processing platform uses automation software for invoice management. The platform is designed to simplify the processing of invoices, issuing to clients, and payments. The automaton of invoice processing allows for the following:
- Less time spent on writing up manual invoices
- Processing and issuing of invoices quickly
- Direct delivery to client’s mailbox (no time and money wasted on paper and postage))
- Accurate invoices
- Easy capturing of data for financial reporting and tax purposes
- Automatic generation of recurring invoices
- Less focus on administrative tasks and more attention on other aspects of the business
By automating manual processes, the platform transforms the way you manage the cash flow of your business. In an instance, you’ll be able to see what invoices are still outstanding for payment. Your accountant will also be able to produce accurate financial reports and make efficient tax returns with minimal fuss.
How Will Invoice Processing Software Work for Your Business?
You’re not alone when it comes to understanding the basic accounting and financial requirements of running your business. And, for many small business owners, the cost of hiring a full-time accountant can be expensive. If you’re one of these business owners, you may find yourself processing and issuing your own invoices. And, you’ll discover quickly enough how time-consuming this task can be.
Writing up invoices, sending them out, and keeping track of payments take up a lot of your time. Plus, you’ll always be faced with outstanding payments and chasing up on clients who owe you money. However, installing automated invoicing can be an inexpensive solution while saving you time and money with a more streamlined process.
Automated invoice management works simply and efficiently. It uses automated software to capture all invoice data. It automatically performs data entry, issues invoices, and sends reminders for payments when necessary. The platform is also able to manage the process of collecting payments and automatically generate recurring invoices with a few clicks of the button.
Your role is basically to create the invoice using templates provided by the platform and configuring the invoice processing software so it knows when it needs to do the abovementioned tasks.
Automation software can also include offering your client a range of payment methods. This means you can include a payment portal on your invoice through which your client can pay. When a payment is made, this information is captured and reconciled into your accounting system.
How Convenient is Automated Invoice Processing vs. Manual Invoice Processing?
Let’s first talk about the manual invoicing processing cycle and what is required. Depending on how many customers you have and products or services sold, you’ll need time to write up manual invoices. This can take up a number of hours if not days especially if you’re only issuing invoices at the end of the month.
Processing and sending manual invoices can also be costly when you factor in paper and postage expenses. Lastly, payments are often delayed making it harder for you to manage a healthy cash flow.
If you’re the one processing manual invoices, your focus on other day-to-day operations of your business may drop. Paying someone else to do the job can become expensive when you’re starting up as a new small business owner.
Managing a manual invoice processing system requires you to manually enter data into your accounting books. This is a lengthy process and can easily lead to many mistakes being made. And, if payments are not made, you need to send out reminders.
With the implementation of digital invoice systems, automated invoicing is an efficient and convenient method of managing your invoices. In the long run, it also becomes an inexpensive alternative to manual invoicing.
So, how convenient is automated invoice processing?
Create Invoices in Seconds
Instead of spending hours manually writing out invoices, you can create your own professional-looking invoice in seconds. By using Bildu online invoice maker, you can select from a range of templates and customize your invoice to match your brand.
Send Directly to Mailboxes
An automated invoice processing platform lets you send online invoices directly to your client’s mailbox. This saves you time and money on paper and postage costs. What’s more, you’ll get notification when your client opens the invoice.
Faster Online Payments
Most advanced invoice processing software includes a smart payment feature. This means you can insert a pay button in your online invoice. This allows the client to make a direct payment into your bank account by clicking on the button. You no longer need to stress about delayed payments because of manual invoices.
Better Capturing of Payment Information
When a payment is received, this information is captured and reconciled. Automated invoicing software manages the whole process of reconciling all your payments and when payment is delayed, reminders are sent out. This conveniently keeps all your accounts up to date at all times.
5. Better Customer Satisfaction
What is a business without satisfied customers? Your products and services are key to customer satisfaction but so is their online experience when dealing with your business. An efficient and convenient online invoicing system makes your client’s life easier too. With accurate invoices and simpler online payment methods, your customer is bound to be thrilled when dealing with your business.
Recurring Invoices and Automated Invoice Processing Software
Regular payments keep your cash flow healthy. And, many businesses are realizing the power of sending recurring invoices to keep payments coming in. If your business requires issuing recurring invoices on a monthly basis it means you’re relying on regular payments.
However, one of the most time-consuming administrative tasks of processing invoices is generating recurring invoices. It can put a strain on your workforce having to generate these invoices and if you’re doing the job yourself, takes your attention off other essential aspects of your business.
Sending recurring invoices has many benefits including the following:
- Provides a steady stream of cash: For customers who need to pay you every month, receiving a regular invoice at the same time every month reminds them of their financial obligation to you.
- Better payment: Once your customer gets used to receiving your invoice every month, they’re more inclined to factor your account into their payment routine.
- Less chasing of payments: With customers paying you regularly every month, you’re less likely left with handling overdue payments and sending late payment fees.
- Better cash projection: When you know how much is due to your business every month, you’ll be able to project an estimated cash flow for your company.
- Saves time and money: Instead of spending hours writing up monthly invoices, you can simply automate recurring invoices in less time. You’ll also save on paper and postage costs.
Invoice processing software is ideal for businesses who need to generate recurring invoices. Once you’ve created a standard invoice using a template, you can schedule when it needs to be sent out using automation software.
A recurring billing system is often used for the following reasons:
- Charging of monthly license fees
- Management of membership sites
- Monthly subscription fees
- Maintenance plans for products
- Regular service payments
If your business needs to send out recurring invoices for any of the abovementioned reasons, then installing an online invoice generator is your solution.
What to Look Out for When Choosing Invoice Processing Software
By now you should be convinced that moving your invoicing from manual to automation software is a smart move for your business. But, your next question would be how to choose the best automated invoice processing platform for your company’s accounting and financial needs.
We suggest you look out for the following key features when picking the best invoice processing software for your business.
The easier it is to process and issue invoices, the better the platform. Look out for software that allows you to create professional invoices with prepared templates. This saves you from having to draw up tables or other fussy details normally involved when you create your own invoice for example in Word or Excel.
Make sure the platform allows you to email online invoices directly to your customers’ mailboxes and lets you track all communication efficiently.
Management and Monitoring of Income and Expenses
Keeping an eye on your company’s expenditures and income is essential for managing cash flow. Ensure that the automation invoice software you pick allows for online expense and income management. By keeping all your receipts in one place and in digital format, you’ll have a more organized approach to managing your expenses.
With online capturing of all payments, you’re also kept in the loop with regards to who has paid and who hasn’t paid. Online reporting and charts which reflects both your expenses and income gives you an instant overview of how your business is doing.
Not all invoicing processing platforms offer the option of including a “pay button” or other payment portals. However, this feature is key to faster payments from your customers. You also want to know that the platform will issue payment reminders, send late payment fees, and notify you when a payment has been made.
Another key feature to help with better payment from your customers is receiving a notification whenever an invoice has been opened. This means the invoice has landed in the client’s mailbox and has been seen.
Automatic Generation of Recurring Invoices
Invoice processing software that can automatically generate recurring invoices is a key feature to look out for if your business relies on regular payments from clients. Managing a recurring billing system can be challenging so make sure you simplify the process with an online invoice generator.
Monthly invoices can be sent out on schedule to prompt payment from your clients. Make sure the platform allows you to also change the invoice amount whenever necessary and can be linked to a payment method.
Being able to add other team members to the invoice processing platform means you can rely on other employees to issue invoices. This cuts down on the amount of time you, as the business owner, need to spend on tedious and time-consuming administration tasks.
Another benefit of being able to add users is inviting your accountant to the invoicing platform. Instead of wasting time in sending invoices and payments through to your accountant, they can see everything, in real-time, online. By sharing invoices online with your accountant, you’re also cutting down on paperwork and minimizing on data errors.
Currencies and Language
If your business deals with other countries and nationalities, you want to be able to invoice your customer using their currency and language. This means you can communicate better with your customer when issuing invoices in their language.
Using the customer’s preferred currency also makes it easier for them to make a payment when they know how much they’re paying you.
Cloud-Based Software and Apps
Automated invoice processing platforms that make use of cloud-based software are often safer to use. You can have peace of mind your data is secure online and reliable at all times. Plus, all your invoices will be organized perfectly as they should be when in the cloud.
Downloadable apps let you do business wherever you are, on the go. You no longer need to delay issuing an invoice when you have an invoicing app on your iOS or Android mobile or tablet. This feature is essential if you’re never in the office!
To manage all invoicing needs, installing an automated invoicing processing platform is a smart move for startups and small businesses. And, when your business relies on regular monthly payments, being able to generate recurring invoices automatically simply makes running your business a breeze.
Knowing which key features to look out for when choosing invoice processing software makes it easier for you to make the right decision for your business. With Billdu, you’ll be joining many other subscribers who use our invoice processing platform to manage their cash flow efficiently and conveniently.
Freelancers are saved because of invoicing. Every freelancer is bound to have polished invoicing skills because there are two major problems faced by freelancers at present. Either they don’t receive the correct payment or they don’t receive the payment on scheduled time. Surely both sucks and if you happen to be a freelancer and want to prevent any of the problems happening to you, here is how to write an invoice for freelance work
One of the most commonly asked questions concerning invoices has always been how to write an invoice. Let’s get started with the basics before we learn how to write an invoice for services.
Why do freelancers need to know how to write an invoice?
One of the main reasons why freelancers should focus on invoicing because it helps in keeping a track of all the projects done with various clients and provides convenience in the long run by managing tax fillings. In simpler words, invoicing is the professional record-keeping of all your finances as a freelancer. It helps your image look more professional and helps you to maintain the crucial data conveniently in lesser time.
Say, for example, you have been a freelancer for the past couple of years. At any given time if you are required to find any specific project by a given date or year, having an invoice will be a blessing. You are cutting time and wasted labor by just going through the invoices of all your past projects instead of going through your past work through emails. Not only is that time-consuming but also chaotic and will surely give you a headache.
What is invoicing?
Technically speaking, invoicing is a piece of document which is time and date stamped and is used commercially to keep the records of every purchase ever made by clients from the concerned party. The concerned party can be both an individual such as a freelancer or a corporate business. Invoices usually have the terms and conditions of the products and services availed by customers or clients along with the various methods by which the corresponding payment can be done.
For freelancers, an invoice is important because it helps them to keep proper records of all the services they provide for different clients regularly. Not only do they make managing work easier for them, but also make you look professional and highlight your expert knowledge in your niche. For these reasons, it is crucial that find out how to write an invoice for freelance work.
The types of invoices
According to a variety of businesses and clients, invoices have six different types. Before we shift to how to write an invoice, freelancers must know the different types of invoices to understand which would be the right fit for them and their services.
The pro forma invoice contains the specifications of the project including the payment amount and deadline. But this invoice doesn’t demand payment neither provides the clients with different methods of making a payment.
The interim invoices are written for big projects which require a longer period of completion thus the payments are demanded in instalments. This invoice helps freelancers to maintain cash flow even if the project requires a long duration of time to get completed. Often, the payments are used to cover the service charges among others.
Recurring invoices are used to renew the purchase of products or sales. Some businesses use this invoice for the renewal of subscriptions or memberships.
The past due invoice is for those clients and customers who haven’t yet made the payment neither have responded to the prior sent invoice. In such cases, freelancers ask their clients to settle the payment through this invoice.
The miscellaneous invoice is sent to clients to ask for payment to cover the cost for mere things when providing services.
Last but not the least, the final invoice is sent to clients and customers to make them aware of the fact that the project has been completed and they can make the payment through any of the different modes of payment mentioned in the same invoice.
The elements of an invoice
Before we shift on how to write an invoice for freelance work or how to write an invoice for services, one must know the different elements present in a general invoice.
First and foremost, before mentioning the products and services availed by a client, make sure you have mentioned your company’s name and logo. This is your identification. Even though you are a freelancer, you must have a number for your brand and a logo to make an impression on the internet. The name and logo would help clients to identify you faster.
How to write an invoice: contact details
The next thing is contact details. How will the client make contact for your services? Not many realize this but have options in contact details makes your invoice look more reachable. Start by your email address, phone number (provide two if you happen to have one), and your address. Make sure you double-check when you fill in contact details so that the client can communicate with you if there’s any problem.
Make sure you match the client and their corresponding products and services availed from you. If you want to avoid any unnecessary delay in the payment, do double-check the client details. It might take up some more of your time, but it will make your invoice foolproof.
How to write an invoice: the importance of unique invoice number
The next step calls for the date and the invoice number. The invoice number is very essential because that number is going to help you and your client to make references in the future. The invoice number is going to help you in managing the paperwork. When you are learning how to write an invoice for freelance work, always remember no two of the invoice number would be the same. Every purchase of products or services is called for an invoice with a unique invoice number.
While arranging your invoices, you can do it year-wise, it not only looks neater but the stacks would also be more manageable. But if you want, you can also keep the invoices according to project names or by the number of clients who have provided your products and services too. The key is here is to stick to whichever system you feel more comfortable with.
The importance of project brief
The next element which you should know before you learn how to write an invoice is the project brief and amount as payment. Project brief can include the name and details of the project, products, or even services provided by you and the payment amount would obviously have the final amount that needs to be paid by the corresponding client.
If you happen to be a freelancer, then always remember to be specific with the project brief. Break down the different contents, for example, don’t write miscellaneous in place of service cost. Make sure you put worth in your services otherwise the client won’t. When sending an invoice, you have to make sure your client is aware of the different parts of the project to understand the set amount as payment.
Many freelancers wonder how to write an invoice for freelance work, but don’t emphasize the importance of providing a detailed project brief to the client. The client must know which costs what and whether the payment would be done on an hourly basis or on the amount of work done. To sum up, the entire brief, mention the entire amount that is due for payment.
Due date, payment options and penalties
Another thing to remember is when learning how to write an invoice is the importance of deadline. Mention the deadlines of both the project and payment. It is advised that you communicate with your client regarding the payment options. Freelancers should keep multiple payment options open to prevent any delay of payment. Be aware of the transfer and conversion fees and remember to mention these details to the client.
Please note that when you are focussing on how to write an invoice for your freelance service, you have to set a policy for late payments and missed deadlines, i.e. what will happen when a client misses deadlines. Highlight the policy and the amount you will charge as interest if there is any delay from the client’s side. You can even send a second invoice reminding them of your pending payment through a past due invoice.
How to write an invoice for freelance work
Here are the compulsory data that one must include when learning how to write an invoice.
Details of the invoicing party
Here you have to mention the Name and address of your company. You can place this information at the bottom of the invoice document.
Details of the recipient party
In this section, the details of your clients have to be included. The number and address are primarily the content of any invoice. This information can be typed at the top left corner of the invoice.
Unique client and invoice number
These are one of the most crucial pieces of information in an invoice. It separates every invoice from one another. The unique client and invoice number can be typed on the right side below the recipient party data.
Date and time of the invoice
Mention the word INVOICE in capitals and bold to highlight the purpose of the piece of document. You can directly write the date and time just below the unique customer and invoice numbers.
You must insert a detailed project brief of the products and services that the corresponding client has availed from you. The body of the invoice document will contain the project brief along with the individual prices and quantities of the products and services availed.
- The total amount before any taxes is added to the purchase.
- The total amount after the taxes is included with the purchase.
- Deduct any amount if any discounts or offers are applicable.
- The final amount needs to be paid by the client.
You can add the entire section of the amount total below the project brief, one after the other. You can even highlight the final amount for the client to recognize it faster.
You have to mention the terms and conditions of the payment in the invoice document. You can so by mentioning below the final amount. Highlight the subheading (payment terms or terms and conditions of payment) and list down the different terms.
Your invoice then has to have the different modes of payment available at your company. You can list them down for better comprehension and honestly, it looks a lot more professional and neat.
Last but not the least, you can show your gratitude by adding a thank you and a personal note of how grateful you are for the services that were availed by the corresponding client from you.
Why you should know how to write an invoice for freelance work?
Not only it provides a professional look and easy record keeping of all your sales, but it also provides you with the extra security of your products and services. It makes the entire process of filing taxes very easy. When you are learning how to write an invoice, you are also learning the effective and easier trick to file taxes more conveniently.
If you happen to be a freelancer for a long time, then invoicing will help you in organizing your sales faster.
Always write an invoice to get the value for your service. Even if it’s a friendly deal, put your service above everything. you can also purchase online invoicing software to get the best of the invoices, they are fast, easy, and very effective. If you thinking to purchase invoice software, then you can sign up for a free Billdu trial and find out why it is one of the best invoicing software platforms available in the current market.
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In this post, we’ll show you why automated invoicing is a hot topic and how auto invoicing software can save your business valuable time and even improve performance and cash flow. Intrigued? Read on…
Invoices are an integral part of every business, big or small. There are typically two types of invoices – electronic or paper. In most industries, invoices are created using invoicing tools or manually, sent to the finance department for review and approval, and then are forwarded to the concerned person or company.
The process might sound very simplistic but it can get quite complicated due to the involvement of different bodies. Plus, it isn’t common for invoices to get delayed due to the process residing in several hands including staff members that may not always be available. Delayed invoices result in delayed payments that can cause cash issues.
Also, the process doesn’t stop. Once invoices get approved, data has to be manually entered into a software, and invoices need to be filed (often physically).
While this traditional method works for some companies, it does come with issues including:
- Misplaced or lost invoices
- Security and compliance risks
- Error-prone and costly feeding of data
- High cost of paper
- Space needed to store paper invoices
- Not a part of analytics
- Difficult to respond to customer inquiries
These and many other problems can be solved with the help of auto invoicing software. There are many such software on the market, in this article, we’ll talk about automated invoicing and why it might be a good idea to use an automation tool.
Automation is the Future
Before moving ahead, let’s talk about automation.
If you look at a dictionary, you will find this definition: “the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically.”
While it’s true, it doesn’t fully explain invoice automation. In the world of business, automation is defined as “”the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services.”
Businesses are recognizing the importance of automation and the fact that they cannot survive without automating processes including their accounts payable department.
Here are some stats that highlight the importance of automation:
- About 45 percent of currently paid business tasks can be automated by using technology. This can help businesses save up to $2 trillion in annual wages. (Source)
- About 30 percent of people or businesses choose automation because it helps save time and about 25 percent automate processes as it makes analysis easier. (Source)
- A study found that workers spend around 69 days performing administrative tasks including taking care of invoices. This costs companies more than $5 trillion a year. Automation can help save this money. (Source)
- Nearly 67 percent of employees believe that using software or digital products can help give businesses a competitive edge. (Source)
- It takes the average professional about 18 minutes to find a document manually. This includes invoices. (Source)
- Professionals who still use traditional methods of invoicing and documentation spend about half of their day finding documents manually and looking for information in files.
- Small and growing businesses are expected to quickly adapt automation giving a boost worth $1600 million to the industry. (Source)
While these stats cover automation in general, they do highlight the importance of automating invoices. Organizations need to automate invoicing so that the process is no longer a back-office, tactical function.
According to this 2018 IOFM study, about 51 percent of accountants believe that their companies will eliminate the use of paper invoices by the end of the year. The same study found that nearly 33 percent of accountants believe that their department will eliminate up to percent of paper invoices received from suppliers.
But What is Automated Invoicing?
Automated invoicing refers to removing human interaction and allowing software to take care of invoices.
To fully understand auto invoicing, we must first understand the term invoice.
Investopedia defines an invoice as “An invoice is a time-stamped commercial document that itemizes and records a transaction between a buyer and a seller. If goods or services were purchased on credit, the invoice usually specifies the terms of the deal and provides information on the available methods of payment.”
Creating invoices requires data including the name of the recipient, the date, order summary, etc. The entire process can take a lot of time and leave workers tired. Companies, however, are now using auto invoicing software as a part of their procure-to-pay (p2p) process, also known as source-to-pay.
How Does Auto Invoicing Work?
Auto invoicing works like normal invoicing but without human involvement. These are the few features that come into play:
Auto invoicing tools come with monitoring features, i.e.: the ability to know when an invoice has been read. This is a great feature because it removes guessing and tells you exactly when your buyer has read the invoice that you have sent.
Without this feature, you will need to ask for assurance and verification to ensure your client has received your file.
We find this feature of huge importance since clients do not always like to receive emails asking if they’ve received an invoice or if they’ve read it. It works quite like the ‘blue mark’ we are used to seeing on WhatsApp.
If you don’t get a blue tick or notification within a day or two, you can take your next step, i.e.: verify if the email is correct, still active, etc.
Billdu comes with this important feature. With our software, you will be able to know exactly ‘when and by whom an invoice was opened and viewed.’
This will help you know when to send a reminder because emails are not always read right away. You should ideally give your clients some time to clear invoices. With this feature, you will not only increase your chances of getting paid, but also improve customer service by sending fewer messages to your buyers.
Reminders are an important part of the game. Very few people clear invoices right after they receive them. In fact, the average invoice can take up to three weeks to get paid. Plus, it isn’t uncommon for people to forget about an invoice, which increases the importance of reminders even more.
The job of a reminder is simple: to tell your clients an invoice is pending and that they should clear it.
Managing customer reminders and follow ups can be quite a tidy task. No business works with one person. There are several invoices being sent and received throughout the day, each with a different name and amount. Managing all this manually is not only time consuming and tiring but also very risky as even a small mistake can end up causing you to lose not just your client but money as well.
With our software, you will be able to “remind clients when a payment is coming up, due or late” without requiring any manual work. Create a template that can be sent to all your clients with their names and according to their due dates.
Auto invoicing software like Billdu can import data from ERPs and other such tools. This removes the need to manually input data since everything can be imported and fed into the system with a single click.
Some tools even have the option to correct typos or send back files to employees for a review if the AI finds issues with names or other information. This automation task may sound too simplistic but it can be a difference maker. Businesses have to process hundreds and often thousands of invoices on the same day, including some to the same client.
Manually looking at each file can take a lot of time and there is always a high risk of errors. With auto invoicing software, the risk factor is greatly reduced.
Automating invoices means not having to worry about manually calculating the amount.
Almost all auto invoicing tools can do the maths and provide you the final figure based on the unit price and the number of units offered. You may not even have to enter unit amounts as they can be saved into the system. This removes the need to memorize figures, which can be risky.
While all tools come with this feature, we suggest that you use an automatic invoicing software that also comes with the option to add taxes, discounts, etc. This is because it is common for businesses to offer discounts from time to time. If your tool doesn’t have this feature, you will have to use another software to add or subtract this amount, which kills the purpose.
Similarly, tax rates differ from product to product and location to location. For example, clients in Europe have to pay a VAT whereas clients in the US do not. An invoicing tool that can add relevant taxes and charges, such as shipping, can be of huge value.
Today’s invoicing software are smarter than ever. They don’t just send files they can also communicate with the recipient and automatically keep a log of the conversation.
With this feature, you will have all the information stored in the cloud that can be easy to access and search through. When it comes to invoices, a conversation isn’t always in the form of dialogues. It refers to information such as:
- When an invoice was sent
- When an invoice was read
- When a reminder was sent
Such information can be very important to gauge how reliable a buyer is. With this data, you can know how long it takes your average buyer or a specific client to clear invoices. This can help plan things and ensure you have no cash flow issues.
Auto invoicing tools like Billdu take automation a step ahead by automating the process of exports. All our “documents are saved on a secured server, similar to a bank,” with little to no risk of losing your or your client’s private and confidential information.
You will not have to worry about saving invoices or details as today’s auto invoicing software can take care of saving data and update files automatically.
With this feature, there is little to no risk of losing data, which can be a major concern with physical invoices.
Though rare, some auto invoicing tools now come with the ability to verify invoices, i.e: ensure payment received against an invoice is correct by cross-checking the amount against orders.
Some tools also have the ability to cross-check invoices to ensure no duplicity and missing amounts. In some cases, there may be additional payments necessary, such as a late fee surcharge, to settle invoices.
With automated invoicing, you will not have to worry about this either because tools today are powerful enough to add surcharges based on deadlines and other such factors.
Why Use Auto Invoicing Software: Benefits of Invoice Automation
Invoice automation software have been in existence for a while but it is still considered a maturing area of automation. There appear to be limited implementation risks yet significant benefits.
Here are some reasons to consider automating the process:
Help Save Time
Time is of huge value, the hours spent on taking care of invoices can be spent on other important tasks when you have auto invoicing software taking care of things.
It is believed that the average mid or small company takes around 25 days to process one invoice when using manual processes. With automation, this time can be reduced to just a day based on the tool you’re using and the process in place
Can Be a Money Saver
According to Hypatos, invoice automation can help businesses save up to 90 percent in cost (invoicing). You don’t only get to save money spent on paper but you also get more out of your workers who are less tired and more productive, which helps the business.
Access to Valuable Data
Auto invoicing software make it easy to analyze data by removing the need to do any manual work. Information can be presented to you in the form of charts or tables that you can have a look at to understand how your business is performing.
You can get answers to questions like:
- How many invoices are issued per day, per week, per month, etc.
- The average size of your invoice.
- The buyer with the most number of invoices.
- The time it takes to receive payments.
- How many reminders are sent before payment is approved.
Such information is highly valuable because it helps businesses plan marketing strategies.
Good For Your Image
Clients like businesses that are technologically advanced. By using auto invoicing tools, you can leave a positive impression on your buyers and enjoy a good image.
Which Automated Invoicing Tool to Use?
About 15 percent of Fortune 500 companies are already using the latest auto invoicing software. While there are many automated invoicing tools out there, it is important to choose a program that offers more than just automation so that you don’t have to use multiple invoicing software to take care of your accounts.
Billdu is one of the most reliable automated invoicing tools. Called the best auto invoicing software by many, Billdu takes auto invoicing to another level by offering features like read receipts, cloud saves, and more.
Get in touch with us today to find out more about Billdu and how it can help your business.
Did you know that 82% of small business owners fail because of inconsistent cash flow? Some small business owners struggle with other financial issues such as debt repayment, lack of funding, and emergency expenditures.
Running a small business can feel like running a small country because there are many factors you have to consider in order for it to be successful. In today’s article, we’ll be talking about the top 6 financial issues small business owners have to face.
The good news is that each financial problem has a solution. Find out what these solutions are so that your small business continues to grow.
1. Inconsistent Cash Flow
Some small businesses struggle to manage their cash flow. The basics of cash flow involve balancing accounts payable and account receivable. Without the necessary cash on hand, you won’t be able to pay your employees or your bills. And if you don’t have the consistent cash flow you may be forced to take out additional loans
So what affects a small business’s cash flow? Well, a simple bad word about your company can cause your profits to plummet. Not marketing your business effectively can also decrease cash flow. However, there are ways that you can maximize your cash flow and keep it consistent. Take a look at the following tips to help you:
- Cash flow forecast: A cash flow forecast is crucial for small business financial planning. It’s the process of estimating the flow of cash coming in and out of your company. Develop a cash flow forecast to identify any funding needs or excess cash for short or long-term periods. Your cash flow forecast is an important tool to help you make decisions about capital expenditures and investments as well as funding.
- Invoicing: Small businesses rely on invoicing to get paid on time which can help with consistent cash flow. Invoicing is also a valuable tool for accounting and helps you with your financial reports. For small businesses, simple invoice solutions are ideal because you can create professional invoices fast which can help you optimize your cash flow.
- Establish clear payment terms: You should always establish when and how you’d like to get paid so that customers and clients adhere to your terms. By stating your payment terms there will be no confusion of when payment should be made. Most companies allow customers to pay within a certain period of time such as 10 to 15 days. Take full advantage of these terms because it helps boost your company’s cash flow and decreases borrowing costs.
Use these tips to improve your cash flow so that you’re never out of pocket. You should always have a clear forecast and reports of the money coming in and out of your business so you can see where improvements need to be made.
2. Lack of Funding
The second in our list of top financial issues is luck of funding. Many business owners have stated that you have to spend money in order to make money. However, this statement has led small business owners off course. Small businesses fail because they run out of cash because they’re spending more than what they’re making. What’s more, their sales struggle to keep up with their expenses.
Funding is essential for long-term success but you have to choose the right funding so you don’t experience financial issues. Here are some options if you need access to funding:
- Small business grants
- Small business bank loans
- Venture capital firms
If you decide to take out small business loans make sure that you can afford to make repayments each month. Late repayments can cause problems with your credit rating and the lender will start legal proceedings and if you fail to make repayments you may have to file for bankruptcy.
When structuring your small business financial planning make sure you can get access to the funds you need without putting financial strain on your business.
3. Emergency Expenditures
An emergency expenditure is when you have to pay money for an unforeseen circumstance such as a natural disaster, pandemic or fire. You may even experience an unexpected tax bill. Whatever the situation is a sudden expense can throw your cash flow forecast out the window. What’s more, some small business owners cite that unforeseen expenses are their major financial issue.
If you’re not prepared for unforeseen expenses it may derail your small business. You should have a cash reserve where you save money each month for unexpected expenses. You should put at least 20% of you profit into a savings account. Some business owners may save between 20% and 35% of their profit for emergencies.
You can also use your past records to help you budget for certain situations. For example, maybe you operate 10 printing machines for your business and you need to gear up for potential maintenance and repair costs. Your expense history can show you how much you’ve spent in the past on maintenance and repairs so you’ll know how much money to put away for future expenses.
On the other hand, no matter how much you budget, unforeseen circumstances can still take a large chunk out of your budget. That’s why you must have a savings account for any expenditure that you weren’t anticipating.
4. Poor Marketing Strategies
Marketing helps build brand awareness and turns leads into sales. Poor marketing can lead to loss of sales. If you’re not getting new clients or customers they’re going to your competitors instead.
Some business owners struggle with their marketing strategies, especially through digital channels. Facebook and Google are extremely competitive so it’s difficult for small businesses to compete with large companies that have the budget to spend on expensive advertising.
Furthermore, marketing requires plenty of time and small business owners simply don’t have the hours to spend marketing their business online. If you do decide to use digital marketing consider outsourcing someone to help you.
If you’re a small business owner that needs new customers to help you achieve your financial goal then try these easy and affordable marketing tips:
Create a Website
Nowadays every business has a website where they showcase their branding and general information about their companies. The advantage is that some website builders are affordable and don’t require coding experience to develop a professional site. You can use your website to write blogs, sell products and even communicate with your audience. Studies show that an average profitable website can earn you $2000 per month. Engaging a professional web design company is always recommended due to the skills they have.
Google My Business Listing
Have you ever searched for a company near you on Google and you were presented with a list of organizations not far from where you live? That’s because these companies registered their business on Google My Business Listing. The advantage of registering your business on Google is that it’s 100% free and it creates location SEO. So when people search for companies like your organization, your company name may pop up in the search engine. The visibility of your business listing online could attract plenty of customers and in turn, increase your profit. You should also work on increasing your organic search visibility in the long run through SEO.
Social Media Marketing
Traditional marketing such as billboard ads and printed flyers are all expensive and not suitable for small business owners. The most affordable way to marketing your business is through social media. Create a business Facebook page or a LinkedIn profile to start marketing your organization. 3.96 billion people use social media globally so if people can’t find your company on their social media platforms they may go to your competitors instead which can cost you money.
Another affordable way to keep people interested in your business is through email marketing campaigns. Most people who visit your website may not buy immediately. So use your website for customers to capture their contact details so you can send them email content that may be of interest to them. You can send out coupons or advertise when you’re having a sale or even send personalized discounts when it’s your customer’s birthday. Email marketing is an excellent way to nurture your leads and entice them to buy from you.
There are plenty of other affordable marketing strategies for small businesses that may help with financial challenges such as content marketing. Use these tips to gain the finances you need to keep your small business afloat and avoid future financial issues.
5. Tax Compliance
One of the most common financial issues small businesses face is tax compliance. Getting the tax basics right has never been more crucial for a small business owner. ATO is getting more intelligent with its data and making more follow-ups with people who make mistakes on their taxes. That’s why you must ensure you always have the following documents to make the process easier:
- Correct account codes
- Proper financial statements
- Prices accounting for cash transactions
- Record of all your invoices
On the other hand, did you know that 85% of small businesses overpay on federal income tax? These business owners could have saved that extra money or invested it back into their business. Other business owners underpay their taxes which results in fines and legal action from the IRS.
However, one of the major financial challenges organizations face isn’t always payment, it’s the cost of compliance. These compliance costs are all the expenses an organization uses to adhere to government regulations.
There are ways you can reduce compliance costs by developing risk management. This means you must be prepared for any non-compliance and compliance costs when doing your taxes. Emergency funds might come in handy here because you’ll have the cash to pay for any unforeseen expenses when doing your taxes.
6. Too Much Debt
Last but not least of the top 6 financial issues. Many small business owners take out loans to launch their business if they don’t have cash on hand. At the early stages of a business, it’s difficult to say how the company will perform. You’ll need to make money through your business in order to make loan repayments.
Unfortunately, a financial challenge most small organizations face is getting into too much debt before making a good income. Many factors cause a business owner to run into too much debt such as running up credit cards or taking out additional loans for emergency expenses.
It takes time to develop a consistent cash flow and having extra debt is going to have a short and long-term financial impact on a business.
If you’ve accumulated too much financial debt take a look at these tips to help you recover:
- Find ways to raise cash: If you’re struggling to make repayments because of a lack of cash flow there are creative ways you can raise cash. Try crowdfunding or angel investors.
- Consolidate business loans: The best way to reduce debt repayments is to consolidate all your loans into one payment. This may help reduce your monthly costs without compromising your credit score. You may also get a lower interest rate on repayment depending on the lender you choose.
- Consider immediate payments: Some small business owners allow customers or clients to pay for goods and services at a later stage. Consider getting immediate payment before offering your goods and services to clients. Immediate payments are less of a liability and you’ll have access to funds when you need them.
- Offer a percentage off on products: Many customers love marked-down sales on products and services. If you develop a proper markdown strategy you may attract more customers and in turn, make more profit.
Are you looking for effective ways to manage your small business finance? Then you need the right tools for the job. Billdu has plenty of digital tools to help you develop an effective financial management strategy. Use Billdu’s online expense records to manage your receipts. Or if you’re an online retailer use the Inventory Tracker to help you manage your stock and keep an eye on your inventory.
What’s more, Billdu offers unique invoice templates so you can create professional documents and get paid quicker and you can use them for financial reports. You’ll get paid 2 times faster using Billdu’s invoicing tools which will help you optimize your cash flow and sort out your financial issues with a click of a button.
Create an account with Billdu today and get access to all the financial tools you need to boost your company’s finances.
Why consider an invoice management system and how to choose the best one for your business? Read on to find out.
As a small business owner, you will have to deal with dozens of invoices on a daily basis. Things might get even more complicated as your business grows and you start to have working relationships with more people.
This can make managing invoices a very difficult job since it doesn’t only involve creating invoices, it also includes managing payments and ensuring you get paid on time.
Is It Really a Big Problem?
According to reports, the current invoicing scenario for small businesses is not very bright. Small businesses just in the U.S. are owed more than $825 billion in unpaid invoices.
This is a big problem because it can lead to cash flow issues. Let’s not forget that about 90 percent of startups fail within the first five years and around 82 percent of small businesses shut down due to cash management issues.
On average, each business has around $84,000 in unpaid invoices. This is a lot of money for a small business that’s still growing. Moreover, the problem isn’t just related to unpaid invoices, it’s also related to time wastage and delays.
Reports found that most businesses in the country have to wait three weeks to get paid. For some, it can take months. Wholesale trade, for example, usually has a 30 day cycle, which can make management difficult since the average business only has 27 days of cash reserves. This doesn’t leave much space for wiggle.
This is a huge figure, especially when you consider the number of people involved in small businesses. There are more than 29.6 million registered small businesses in the US employing around 50 percent of the country’s workforce.
Not getting paid or not getting paid on time can cause your business to suffer heavy losses and shut down. This is why it is important to take care of the invoicing process and pay attention to invoicing management.
The process might not look very intimidating when you’re dealing with only a few clients but it can get complicated once you grow. Don’t wait for things to get complicated, invest in invoice management today.
What Is Invoice Management?
Invoice management can be defined as the process of invoicing clients for services and products they purchase. Moreover, it also includes tracking and monitoring invoices to ensure you get paid on time.
Back in the day, invoicing was done manually. While some businesses still use the old method, it’s dated and very time consuming. Imagine having dozens of products and hundreds of clients. You will have to create separate invoices for every order on an Excel sheet.
The task can be tiring, time consuming, and boring. By automating the process, you can make things easier. An invoice management software can perform a variety of tasks and even help improve communication.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Invoice Management System?
A reliable invoice management system can solve invoice-related problems faced by small businesses. Still not sure? Check out some of the benefits of using invoice management software.
Helps Save Money
This might come as a surprise to some but invoice management tools can be a money saver. If you run a small business, you must know how costly it can get to hire people to take care of invoices.
Some small businesses have multiple people in the finance department assigned the task of creating, sending, and managing invoices. An invoice management system can do this all, removing the need to hire multiple people.
You will need one person to manage the software and the system will take care of the rest. While a good invoice management system will cost you money, it can offer good savings in the long-run.
Can be a Great Time Saver
According to estimates, the average team spends up to 15 hours on billing and invoices. This includes customer calls, editing invoices, and calculating discounts and late fees. This is a lot of time that can be used elsewhere. Plus, this is based on using a simple invoicing tool.
By using a neat invoice management software, you can greatly reduce this time as the latest invoice management software can automate processes from inputting data, calculating amounts, adding applicable taxes and discounts, and more.
The time saved can be used elsewhere. Since small businesses usually have limited staff, it is important to save as much time as possible and make every second count so you can get more in less time.
Good for Your Image
Competition is tough. There are dozens of businesses selling the same product or service, and at the end of the day, how you manage invoices can prove to be a difference maker.
Invoice management software can be great for branding as they allow companies to add logos, change the font and color scheme according to their brand image. While not the most important factor, this can make clients feel you’re highly professional and interested in giving a strong voice to your brand.
The good thing is that most professional invoice management systems allow users to save templates that can be used and reused; hence, you will not have to add logos or brand signage every time you create an invoice. You can use a premade template and make changes according to your requirements.
Can Improve Cash Flow
Believe it or not, there is a connection between your cash flow management and invoice management system. As mentioned earlier, most small businesses don’t get paid right away. Following up and waiting for money is not only troublesome but also financially taxing.
An invoicing management system can help improve cash flow by sending regular reminders and ensuring you receive money in a timely manner. Consider invoice management tools as virtual assistants that can communicate with clients and send reminders to help you get paid.
They reduce the risk of bad debt and ensure you have a decent cash flow.
Make Employees More Productive
There are few things as boring as creating and managing invoices manually. The job involves writing down names, prices, etc. It can get boring after a point and cause workers to lose focus and reduce productivity. This reduced productivity can cause businesses huge losses since it results in reduced profits and often missed deadlines.
With an invoice management software by their side, your employees will spend less time taking care of invoices and hence will face less tired and exhausted. This could allow them to concentrate on other tasks and be more productive throughout the day.
Ensures There Are Little to No Mistakes
A very big problem with manual invoicing is the high risk of mistakes. There are two main types of mistakes – incorrect calculations and wrong details.
Incorrect calculations refer to not adding or subtracting amounts correctly due to typos or pressing the wrong button. On the other hand, wrong details refer to adding the wrong number, name, or service.
Computers do not make calculating errors. You can rest assured, the figures will appear exactly as fed. Plus, they can even remind you to add discounts, taxes, late charges, etc., so that you don’t get robbed out of your due share.
Picking a calculator and reviewing invoices are two very tough tasks. When you have the right support in the form of an invoice management software, you will not have to worry about manually feeding data every time you have to invoice the same client. Everything from the client’s name to address can be fed automatically and you will only have to enter details such as quantity.
Invoice management systems can even input item prices and find the total on your behalf without you having to do any maths. This, we think, is one of the best reasons to get an invoicing tool.
Helps You Move to the Big League
No business starts with the intention to remain small. Most want to make more money, hire more people, grow the network, and get bigger. You will find it very difficult to break the barrier if you continue to do things the old way.
This gets even more important when you start to work with the biggies. Small companies do not enjoy working with businesses that use the traditional method of invoicing. They feel it is too unprofessional and risky. Plus, even the governments are pushing for businesses to use the latest technology.
The US Office of Management and Budget requires all government agencies to use online invoicing. The scenario is pretty similar in Europe where all public administrators are required to accept online invoices.
Even if you are not working with the biggest or government agencies today, you should consider getting an invoice management software so that you are prepared to take on the opportunity should it arise tomorrow.
These were some of the main advantages of using an invoice management system. Let’s now help you pick the right one.
What to Look for In An Invoice Management System?
There are many invoice management software out there, make sure to get your hands on one that comes with these features so that it can support your small business.
Cost and Licensing
We understand that small businesses cannot afford to spend lavishly, hence find an invoice management software that is affordable with a suitable license type.
Ease and Simplicity
What’s the point of having a tool that makes things complicated? Choose a program that comes with easy to create invoices and doesn’t have a learning curve.
This is an important feature since everything is going on the web and even small businesses are going mobile. Pick a tool that lets you store data including invoices on the cloud so you can access files on the go.
We talked about the importance of ready-to-use and customized templates. If you are serious about branding then look for an invoice management system that comes with this feature.
Files and Attachment
Choose a system that lets you attach files when you send invoices. Clients often want to see completed milestones and more details before they can clear invoices. Having the ability to attach files will save you time and ensure clients have all that they need to make payments.
Choose a program that works on mobile devices – iOS and Android – so that you have the ability to work from anywhere. Most top invoice management software come with mobile apps hence you will not have much of a problem finding a reliable tool.
The tool must have the ability to store and import customer data for easy input. This will save you from having to feed the same thing again and again.
The invoice management software you choose must be secure with the ability to limit access. Cloud security is another important factor since clients want to work with a business that takes steps to ensure their safety.
Businesses are not always online. If you make offline sales then it is important that you choose an invoice management software that works well without internet access.
Choose a company that takes its job seriously and is available with the right kind of help so that you never get stuck.
The invoice management software that you choose should be able to convert currencies based on your client’s location, especially if you cater to international clients.
Multiple Payment Methods
The tool should support a variety of payment methods including PayPal and credit cards as they’re most popular in the US. Moreover, it should ideally have a single click payment option so that users don’t have to do much work to clear invoices.
Want to make things better? Choose an invoice management system that lets you talk to your clients by sending a notification when they open your invoice. This can prepare you to send a follow up message.
Following up is very important since very few people pay the invoice just as they receive it. Choose an invoice management software that gives you the option to send timely reminders to your clients with the ability to use pre-made or customized email templates.
Taxes and Discounts
This is a very important factor for businesses since they offer seasonal discounts, quantity discounts, etc. Plus, they also have to pay taxes on sales. Your invoice should take all these factors into consideration, hence make sure to pick one that has the option to add or subtract amounts.
The invoice management software should let teams work together. This is important for small businesses where there are multiple offices or branches. The ability to log into the system from anywhere can make audits easier.
Top 3 Invoice Management Systems
Ready to choose an invoice management system? Here are our top three invoice management software:
Call us biased but Billdu is our #1 pick as it has all the features mentioned above and some more. With our tool, you get to save time and have fun managing invoices. Start with a free demo to know more about how it works.
One of the most popular names, Zoho comes with some great features with a bunch of plans and packages. However, its customer service leaves a lot to be desired and there are integration-related issues as well.
Xero is an easy to use and reliable tool that is said to be suitable for small businesses with features such as payroll and accounting; however, it’s quite expensive and can be slow at times.
We at Billdu believe in empowering small business owners through our software. Don’t trust us. Try our invoice management system today.