Everyone enjoys receiving money, but no one enjoys chasing down money. As unpleasant as this process is, invoicing clients is an unavoidable aspect of running a successful business.
Every billing cycle, you’ve got to:
- Organize your materials
- Find stamps and envelopes
- Send invoices
- Hope they arrive intact and on time
- Wait for payments to come in
- Follow up on delinquent bills
It really is a drag. But it’s possible to make this entire process more efficient so that there are shorter waits, fewer missing bills, and better overall cash flow.
Below are several tips to get you started on the right path.
If possible, bill your customers on a regular schedule every month. This consistency helps to remove unnecessary delays. Ideally, you should batch clients together so you have to invoice only once every billing cycle.
2. Clearly Defined Terms
Are you net 15, 30 or 60? How do late fees work? Who is your primary contact? What payment forms do you accept? Lock down these details in advance, preferably in writing. Clearly defined terms can help reduce surprises down the road. They can aid you with disputes and litigation as well.
3. Detailed Invoices
Your invoices should look like invoices, and not marketing letters or friendly reminders. At the top of each statement should be the word “Invoice” — followed by detailed, itemized information about services rendered and payments due. However, each bill should also be readable, with clearly delineated “next steps” for the client to follow. The less confusing your invoices are, the fewer delays you’ll experience.
Pro Tip: Use an invoicing template that allows you to simply plug in this information quickly. However, make certain that every bill is customized for the client, complete with business name, contact person, address and account number.
It’s a good idea to schedule follow-ups with all of your clients once invoices have been sent. You can create automatic reminders for yourself and for recipients. Instant alerts also can be scheduled for late payments. Nagging clients isn’t fun, but if you don’t follow up on a regular basis, many of your customers could possibly let invoices languish indefinitely.
Why Efficient Invoicing Matters
It’s easy to understand how the steps above benefit you, the merchant. Consistency, transparency and regular follow-ups can help to reduce late payments and make it easier to run your business. This diligence also benefits your customers.
Your clients are super-busy with their own families and work schedules. By establishing clear boundaries and expectations, it becomes easier to remove hurdles that often slow the invoicing process. Moreover, consistency breeds trust, allowing you to build better relationships with your customers.
And with the right approach, you won’t have to “nag” anyone.
Thanks to electronic invoicing, recurring billing and payment integration, it’s possible to automate everything from sending invoices to updating your accounting books — all without any direct intervention from you.
Learn how BluePay’s advanced billing solutions can help streamline your invoicing workflow.