BluePay is pleased to bring you this valuable information from our partner, Invoiced, an online billing solution helping businesses get to market quicker, experiment with new billing models, and grow with enhanced cash flow. Learn more about BluePay’s integration partnership with Invoiced here.
Cash flow is an absolute necessity for any business. In order to keep the doors open, businesses must collect payments from customers. And from the outset, it sounds simple - all you have to do is decide on a way to send invoices to customers, and voila, the payments roll in. Easy, right?
Unfortunately, many business owners don’t think much beyond the “we need to get paid” stage. They opt for what seems like the easiest option with the lowest barrier to entry. That seemingly-straightforward method ends up being the most labor-intensive way to collect: putting the burden on employees.
Employee time costs money, and those extra dollars going out the door could be used more efficiently on other activities. And what’s worse, the time spent on manual tasks can contribute to low employee morale. So that invoicing process is costing you precious funds, and you could lose staff if they get too frustrated.
So what can you do to ensure your business has the most effective invoicing process for you and your staff? Evaluate online invoicing.
Online invoicing platforms have a variety of features that cover a wide swath of billing needs. They can address complex billing models while allowing your customers the convenience of paying online, with numerous payment platforms. All of this adds up to time savings for your staff, convenience for your customers, and greater visibility for your business.
Here are a handful of ways online invoicing can make your employees more efficient:
Eliminate a Sizeable Chunk of Billing Inquiries
If you’ve got a sub-optimal invoicing process in place, your employees are probably fielding phone calls with customer questions, email inquiries, and maybe even mailed-in payments for processing. Here’s an example of just how time-consuming billing inquiries can be, from New Zealand power company Flick Electric:
“If a customer called with a balance inquiry, a staff member would have to put the customer on hold, walk over to the finance team, ask for the customer’s balance and bring the balance back to the customer. If the customer had any follow-up questions, they would be placed on hold and the process would repeat itself.”
Just think about all that time lost! Inquiries like these take time that could be better spent on proactive activities, like chasing down exceptionally late payers or looking at historical billing data to determine how to get paid faster.
With an online invoicing platform, let your customers access all the billing information they need - and do the work themselves. Many platforms offer a customer portal, where customers can log in to view invoices, outstanding balances, make payments, opt into payment plans, and the like. These options let customers get to all the available information online, so phone and email inquiries become the exception - not the norm.
Automate Manual, Repeatable Billing Tasks
If you have complex payment options for your customers, it might seem like less work to just manage them inside the business. It’s easy to assume that online invoicing platforms only offer a fixed number of simple billing options. That couldn’t be further from the truth, as told by Portland, Oregon law firm Immigrant Law Group:
“Limitations in the billing system’s payment plan functionality impacted Elizabeth’s ability to manage plans. She could enter payment plans, but she couldn’t modify them if terms changed. She couldn’t track payments against the total amount due. And in order to manage the early payment discounts that Immigrant Law Group offers, she had an elaborate system of notes, reminders, and alarms.”
Do some research and you’ll find a range of formats available, including subscription billing, payment plans, and one-off invoicing. Subscription billing options can be fixed or variable, and include sophisticated customizations like trial periods, prorations, and time-based discounts. Payment plans may allow for custom payment schedules and auto-payment options.
And that’s just payment options - there are a whole host of other billing-related tasks you can automate. Tired of sending manual reminders to customers? Automate those reminders with invoice chasing, a feature that lets you schedule a series of payment reminders. Sick of plugging in the same product repeatedly? Create a product catalog to easily configure invoices.
With all these features, your staff can configure invoicing processes once - not every time they invoice a new client. As your business grows, changing inputs can be quickly updated in an online invoicing platform.
Reduce Time-Consuming Billing Errors
Billing errors are incredibly frustrating to deal with. Errors on customer invoices and the response to those errors can create a poor customer experience. If your staff can’t resolve errors quickly and easily, they get frustrated. Management can start to question revenue reports if they are constantly corrected. And ultimately, your business can lose precious cash.
Flick Electric missed out on $7,000 in receivables after locating them 90 days after they were due. And because of customer inquiries on incorrect billing statements, Immigrant Law Group opted to verify statements and mail them a few weeks late, to avoid inaccuracies.
Recording all customers, invoices, and billing inputs in an online invoicing platform will reduce those opportunities for error. Integrations offered by online invoicing platforms allow you to connect multiple systems, reducing the opportunity for errors in manual input. And invoicing reports and dashboards allow greater visibility into the company’s overall performance.
Use Employee Time Wisely with Online Invoicing
Your employees are one of your most valuable assets. Before going the easy route, be sure to evaluate online invoicing to see if it meets your requirements. Your upfront investment pays back dividends in employee time savings, improved customer experience, and greater visibility into your business’s cash flow.
Want to learn how online invoicing measures up to your needs? Contact Invoiced for a demo today.