1. Human Errors and Miscalculations with Invoices
If your invoices are calculated and produced by hand, you probably encounter problems with mistakes or miscalculations. After all, to err is human. Particularly if you’re dealing with customers or businesses on a larger scale, or invoices that contain hundreds of items. If mistakes are made on the invoice, it causes a headache not only for you but also for the customer, who has to contact you to get it fixed, lengthening the process. So, how do we fix this problem? Take the human out of the equation by using invoice management software. This will calculate and write invoices automatically, far reducing the chance of mistakes. You’ll be paid more quickly as a result.
2. Invoices Don’t Get Sent on Time
An increasing number of companies fail to send invoices promptly after a job has been done, or service has been provided. This is usually because composing and calculating invoices takes up so much time, and that time has to be spent doing more important things. However, it’s so important to send out invoices straight away, because then the service is fresh in your mind and your client’s. Investing in management software is a great way to tackle this, as invoices are scheduled and sent automatically, so you don’t have to think about it.
3. Not Knowing When an Invoice Has Been Seen
If you still send invoices using the post, or even by manually emailing them, you’ll never know when an invoice has been opened or read. This means that if there’s been a problem, such as the client not receiving the email or the invoice getting lost in the mail, you won’t know about it until they report it to you. This lengthens the payment process and causes a huge headache. Fortunately, there is an easy fix: start using smart document software. This software creates ‘smart’ invoices that actually inform you when the client opens them. Once you know that the invoice has been read, you can get a good idea of when it will be paid, allowing you to schedule a follow-up call if necessary.
4. Invoices are Too Difficult to Pay
The more difficult it is for the customer to actually pay, the likelier that payment will be late and invoices will become harder to process. Requiring your clients to set up a bank transfer or log onto your website to enter their card details is definitely a step up from asking them to send you a cheque; however, you can make it even simpler. Certain electronic invoicing services allow you to integrate the payment process into the invoice itself, with the use of services such as PayPal. It also makes sure that your customers’ card information is kept secure.
5. Storing and Sorting Invoices
Whether you keep paper invoices in filing cabinets or whether you store them as files in folders on your computer, it can definitely be a huge hassle having to store and sort through them all. Using printed invoices not only costs your business unnecessary overhead in paper and ink, but it’s also bad for the environment, and makes it more difficult to find something when you need to. Even if you store them on your PC, files can become lost, corrupted or accidentally deleted. Using a cloud-based system on which to store invoices is an ideal alternative. You can access them from wherever you are in the world, and they’re protected if your computer unexpectedly breaks. Plus, it makes it a lot easier to search for one particular record if you need to.
6. Following up on Unpaid Invoices
Clients occasionally fail to pay invoices on time – it’s just a fact of life. They’re obviously busy too, and can sometimes misplace an invoice or forget to pay it. This is a problem for you, as every time a customer forgets to pay an invoice you have to manually email or phone them to chase them up on payment. If you work with large numbers of clients, this could take a real chunk out of your time. Using a customer management system can help with this, as you can set them up to send out reminder emails automatically if an invoice hasn’t been paid in a number of days.
7. Dealing with Disputes
When a mistake is made on an invoice, or if a customer thinks that the price listed doesn’t reflect the work, it can be a hassle to try and figure it out. It can often turn into a he-said, she-said battle, and sometimes the customer is (or you are!) left angry and frustrated. Not to mention, solving the dispute takes up a lot of time. Customer relationship management software helps to make this process easier for you – all interactions with the customer, including agreed prices and time it has taken for the work to be completed, are recorded in real time. That way, there’s less risk of customers arguing with the invoices (which are compiled automatically, too).
There you have it – the seven biggest invoicing problems, solved! By following our advice and looking into electronic invoicing software, you could save yourself a lot of time and headaches.