What Is Automatic Invoicing Software?
Automatic invoicing software lets you send customised invoices, either manually (as and when you need to) or on a scheduled basis. There are plenty of standalone apps out there solely for the purpose of sending invoices, which are great: they’re generally pretty powerful tools that you can use to create good-looking invoices, as many as you want, and often for free. Great!
There are also invoicing software tools included in CRM packages and lead management platforms. If that’s what you’re looking for, these software tools are included alongside other great features like automatic proposal/quote software, email scheduling automation and the like. So depending on what you need, you can either find automatic invoicing software on its own, or as part of a package that helps you automate other parts of your sales funnel too. You can find free CRMs, but the best ones are paid-for.
What Can It Do?
Automatic invoicing software does exactly what you think it does. Rather than writing out each invoice individually, tools like these are going to help you do everything at the touch of a button with data that you should already have to hand anyway. So what exactly can auto invoicing software do?
- Help you design your invoices
So, before you can send anyone your invoice, you have to make sure it’s up to standard. No lousy Word templates for you! Invoicing software lets you pick from great designs- especially paid-for software- that you can personalise to your heart’s content. You won’t have to spend money on a designer or somebody to code your invoice by hand, and your template is automatically applied to every one of the invoices you send.
- Automatically populate your invoice with client data
If you send your invoices manually, you’ll know just how easy it is to make a mistake with your client’s data. Maybe you put another client’s address by accident, or forgot it altogether; or listed the wrong number of items at the wrong price. It’s not just embarrassing, it’s unprofessional- ‘Sorry, that discount isn’t meant for you!’ Software automatically updates each invoice with client data so that you don’t have to.
- Send tailored invoices in one button-click
Now that you’ve got your template sorted, and you know that your software can tailor it to each client automatically, it’s time to get started actually making some money. You can send your invoices in just one click through an all-inclusive CRM platform.
- Schedule when you send your invoices
If you work on a regular monthly basis, you can schedule your invoices to send automatically on certain days- Mondays, the 1st of the month, every Shrove Tuesday, whenever you like.
What Makes Them Great?
So it’s obvious that automatic invoicing software has plenty of great uses. But what’s the point? Would you be better off as a small business hiring a PA instead, or just muddling on through sending invoices on your own? Well, you could, but consider the following:
- You’ll be saving time
Like any kind of automation, producing your invoices automatically doesn’t take as long as typing them out yourself.
- You’ll be preventing errors
Your invoice automation tool uses the data you already have on your clients like name, address and payment terms. If you make sure you typed these out correctly, they’ll be copied correctly every single time.
- They’re completely consistent
Your invoices will be consistent in that the details are the same every time, and that you send them out at the same time each day/week/month, whether you’re in the office or not. This is going to protect you as your invoices are always going to be compliant with any terms and agreements you’ve agreed with your clients.
- Your design will always be the same
They’re consistent in that the design is the same every time, too. Admittedly it’s not common, but there’s a chance if you do everything manually that some of your sales team use outdated invoice designs: not a problem, but not consistent either. Using an automated tool guarantees that they’re the same across the board (or, if you have different designs for different clients, that each client always gets the right design).
Standalone Tool or Automation ‘Suite’?
Since you can get invoicing tools either as standalone platforms or as part of bigger automation suites like CRMs and lead management systems, one thing you should be asking yourself is which way you should go: should you stick to a lightweight app-style tool that’s simple to use, or opt for a bigger software package that’s going to take time to install, get operational and get everybody trained on?
Well, while retraining to use a CRM will take longer, it’s actually going to earn that time back in the long run. The whole point is to make certain parts of your basic operation automatic, and save you from having to do every single menial task from invoicing to service emails.
It also depends on how you’re planning to scale your business. If you’re a freelancer or run a ‘microbusiness’, you won’t need a CRM to handle what you have now, but to handle the clients you’re going to bring in as you scale up. As you grow, a CRM is the perfect companion: because not only do you get your invoicing tool, you get loads of other neat and nifty gizmos that are going to help you attract leads, measure how well your sales team are doing, automate emails and newsletters and more.