Anyone who runs a business in today’s economy knows that keeping afloat requires plenty of organisation, especially when it comes to keeping track of finances and managing invoices. Producing professional, timely invoices for your clients will not only ensure that you get paid for the work you’ve done or the products you’ve sold, but will also create a positive impression and enable you to maintain a firm grip on the financial state of your business.
Here are a few simple steps that can help you develop a solid invoicing process for your business.
1. Set your terms, and stick with them.
Establish your invoice terms so that you can maintain good customer relations, avoid surprises and get paid on time. Decide whether to charge hourly, per project/product, in one lump sum or via a multi-payment cycle. Establish the payment methods, whether electronically, cash or by cheque. Think about how and when your clients pay you and the consequences they face if they miss a due date. Outline these expectations with your clients before entering into contractual agreements, and be sure to stick to them – your company needs cash flow, and the only way to achieve that is to be paid for your hard work!
Outlining an invoicing schedule helps you project your cash flow and also lets your clients know when to look out for your invoices. It’s a good idea to invoice on the same day each month to avoid an invoice getting overlooked.
3. Clear, detailed invoices.
Include all necessary details on your invoices while still maintaining clarity and readability. Label the document as an “Invoice,” so clients know exactly what it is at one glance. Include your contact information, as well as that of your client, and an invoice number. List out the products or services, along with unit prices, quantities, VAT, applicable discounts, and end off with the final amount. If you’re invoicing for only part of a job, make this clear. The more understandable the invoice, the quicker you’ll get paid.
Even if your client prefers printed invoices, send an additional electronic copy as well. This creates a paper trail, which is vital to have in case of a legal dispute.
5. Due date reminders.
Don’t become a pest, but it’s perfectly reasonable and often appreciated to send a reminder to clients about upcoming invoice due dates. You can send these a week or even a day before payment is due.
6. Go after late payments.
If a payment due date passes and you haven’t been paid, you have the right to pursue the payment. Promptly send a polite and professional reminder to the client; a missed payment could just be a mistake. The reminder message should include details about the invoice in question, including the tracking number, amount due, and the date it was due. Should the road lead to a court battle, having a paper trail of your attempts can only help you get the money you earned.
7. Make use of an online invoicing solution.
Your entire invoicing process can be easily automated by using an online invoicing solution such as stratuShop. From a quotation through to a payment receipt, you will be able to quickly and efficiently generate all the documentation required for transacting with your clients, leaving behind an auitable paper trail.
stratuShop also comes packed with many other features designed to help your business run more efficiently and cost effectively. These features include customer management, customised to-do lists, stock management, visualised revenue analysis, and much more. Sign up to stratuShop today and receive 5 free invoices to help get you started!