Invoicing is part of ensuring you get paid for your goods and services, so why is it often overlooked? These simple tips will help your business collect what it has already earned.
1. Automate Your Accounting Software
Cloud based accounting softwares (such as Xero) will dramatically simplify the invoicing process. One major advantage is when programming automatically sends bills to your clients, the remembering aspect is taken out of the process.
2. Be Clear
Being clear is extremely important. Businesses understand that you need to be paid, but an unexpected charge will frustrate your clients. Both parties should be clear on the charges for each good and service both before and after the transaction.
Being clear also applies to the form of accepted/preferred payment. If you cannot process a check before a certain date, then you may be handcuffing your business when you’re short on cash.
3. Provide Contact Information
Including proper contact information is also crucial. When invoices only include a URL and no way to get in touch with someone to talk to, it comes off as impersonal and will frustrate clients.
4. Create Policies and Stick to Them
People will pay late. This is just a fact of doing business. It is crucial to have a system in place to deal with these late payments. Once a structured system of late fees has been decided, it should be followed. This Houston Chronicle article details a fairly straight-forward guide on calculating late fees.
5. Number Your Invoices
Organizing invoices can get very confusing. This is simply a matter of organization. Having everything properly documented in regards to payments is important, especially if there should ever be a dispute. This article gives more specific advice on different numbering systems that may work best for your needs.
6. Send Reminders
Small businesses are extremely busy (as you know). Sending a reminder a week before the payment is due is not considered rude or obtrusive. Just remember, be polite and respectful. If the payment is late, it is recommended to send a notice each week to the client. If crafting polite personalized letters on outstanding payments isn’t your forte, WriteExpress offers samples to use.
7. Be Polite
Though businesses understand that they need to pay for services, being polite never hurts. Isn’t it a lot easier to remember to pay back someone who is nice to you? Even though they need to pay, the customer likely has other options and can switch to a competitor. Being appreciative for their business should continue all the way through the invoicing process. Remembering “please” and “thank you’s” seems basic, but is often lost in the accounting jargon of invoices.
After you receive a payment, make sure to thank the client for their business. This can also serve as a way to continue business. This thank you can also explicitly include information on other relevant services offered. On that note, thanks for reading!