An efficient billing process is necessary if you want to get paid on-time and properly. In the past, small businesses relied on manual billing systems to track their transactions. It involved pen and paper, snail mail, folders, logbooks, and voluminous other paperwork. While some businesses continue to use manual invoicing, in general, this system proves error-prone, tedious, and costly.
An inefficient billing process increases the risk of late payments, unpaid transactions, and delinquencies. This can greatly affect your cash flow, business operations, and bottom line. If you want to succeed and grow, you need to focus on improving your billing and invoicing processes.
Fortunately, digital technology has helped streamlined invoicing through the electronic billing system. The majority of businesses now rely on billing software for all their invoicing tasks like creating and customizing invoices; drafting, sending and tracking invoices; sending reminders; and generating detailed reports. Software solutions offer a convenient and efficient way to ensure that you get paid for your all services or products delivered.
While the benefits of invoicing solutions are not difficult to appreciate, choosing the perfect fit for your business can be quite a challenge. There are just way too many options available out there.
Although billing solutions offer the same basic features, no two software solutions are equal. Some might be more useful and advantageous for your business while others just don’t seem a good fit. Thus, it is important to examine and evaluate every option to determine which software application will help improve your invoicing process.
Choosing the ideal invoicing software
Below are some tips to help you shop around for the software that will best serve your small business.
Know your needs
First, know your invoicing needs such as how many clients you have, the number of invoices you regularly send out, types of invoices you need, and your preferred payment methods.
Look for billing solutions that are designed for your specific industry. For example, there are software solutions intended for restaurants, retailers, manufacturing industries, etc. These industry-specific software applications are easier to implement in your business and can greatly help improve the efficiency of your workflow. However, if your business has unique operations, you might benefit more from customized software instead of packaged software.
Decide on your budget
While billing software applications is a worthwhile investment, you don’t want to overspend on it. It is important to set a budget based on your business’ investment plan. Choose invoicing software that won’t hurt your bottom line but still serve your needs. You can go with an offline, off-the-shelf software package that requires a one-time fee upon purchase. Alternatively, you can go with cloud-based software solutions available on subscription. You can pay the fees on agreed terms, such as monthly or annually. Either way, the price of an enterprise billing system generally depends on its complexity and functionality.
There are software applications available for all budgets. You can even find free invoicing solutions online but with limited capabilities.
Know the software features
Obviously, software solutions with more capabilities come at a price. Although feature-laden billing applications are great, you might not need one. What you want is an invoicing software package that serves your business’ workflow. Your software should have at least the minimum capabilities required by your operations. On the other hand, choosing a software package with highly advanced features might not serve you well. You might just be paying for functionalities you can’t fully maximize.
Compatibility with your existing platforms
Switching between platforms can slow down your employees. Ideally, you want an invoicing software that is compatible and can be integrated with your existing systems. This will unburden your staff from having to shift between programs. It should also help make data management simpler. Likewise, it can help improve collaboration within your team, thus making processes more transparent and efficient.
Review its templates
Your invoice becomes an integral part of your company’s branding. As such, you want invoices to follow your aesthetic preferences. The software solution should offer different invoice templates. Ready-to-send invoice templates make it easier for you to bill customers. Better yet, it should enable you to design and/or customize the forms so they will conform to your branding.
Consider your accounting skills
Invoicing is a major part of your business accounting. Thus, it’s important to manage to bill well. Although billing software makes things simpler, some software solutions require a certain amount of accounting skills. For example, there are software products with comprehensive accounting functionalities that are intended for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Choose an application with features and capabilities that suits your level of financial literacy.
Cybersecurity threats remain a bane of e-commerce. Hackers prey on unsuspecting victims – mostly small businesses. Thus, it is important to prioritize security when looking for billing software. It should have all the safeguards to ensure that classified business data are safe and protected. You want to assure your customers that their data is safe under your watch. Should anything happen to their information, you can be held liable and it can adversely impact your business.
Avoid financial losses due to poor billing by integrating automated billing systems into your business processes. Regardless of your business size, running this software is critical for your success and growth. It’s a must in doing business today. Follow the tips discussed above to help you choose the best IT solution.