Invoicing is perceived by many to be the most boring of chores a businessman can suffer. There is a small minority that finds joy in its repetitive nature, mostly perhaps it brings them one step closer to getting paid for their services/goods. Nonetheless, as with so many other things in this life, it’s mandatory and it wouldn’t do any harm to know some hacks to make it simpler and a bit more pleasant.
We here at Elorus, love invoicing; and we want to make your life easier with our app and some easy-to-follow tips that will hopefully make the invoicing process less of a pain (you know where!). Here we go:
Get your invoicing facts straight
Invoicing regulations vary from country to country and from case to case. Before you start invoicing you should consult an expert (an accountant, that is) who will provide you with necessary guidelines.
Each country has certain tax rates that apply, whereas there are cases that taxes are not applicable.
You need to know which information your invoices must include being considered as valid in case of an audit. All these facts are essential for your invoicing and you only have to figure them out once and for all! This way you won’t waste time figuring out how to invoice, but rather get right to it and be done before you even realize it.
Numbering means organizing
Using a serial numbering system will not only help you keep track of your invoices over time, but it can save you from a lot of trouble when dealing with an audit.
In some, countries serial numbering is mandatory while in others, just a unique number will do. But imagine yourself after a year of random unique numbering, trying to find a unique number for your next invoices!
Messiness is your worst enemy here because an “honest” mistake can lead to serious penalties. Using an invoicing software, like Elorus, will save you all those worries since you can determine the numbering system according to your needs once and the application will do it automatically for you every time!
Invoice follow up
The invoicing process doesn’t stop after you send out the invoices you created to your clients. You must think of these invoices as your next paycheck (‘cause they really are). But let’s take one step back, first. Your invoices NEED to have a due date written on them by which your client must have paid-off its total value. Now, after you made it clear that you’re serious about collecting the agreed amounts, you need to follow up on those invoices very closely so you get paid faster, thus improving your cash flow and staying on top of your obligations.
But be careful, following up unpaid invoices doesn’t mean harassing your clients. Make sure you contact them at appropriate hours and always politely.
You can send a couple of “kind reminders” first and if you receive no response, you can proceed with a less mild approach. Always keep in mind you want to keep your clients and that everything you do has an impact on your reputation. Elorus can help you keep track of your due invoices and send email reminders to your clients with just a few clicks!
In case you’re using an invoicing software already, you don’t need to worry about calculation errors. Though it wouldn’t hurt making sure you applied all the appropriate tax rates or that you charged the agreed amount. Also, typos are not a great way to convey your professionalism to your customers.
If you don’t use an invoicing software, however, you need to be extra careful with all the above since mistakes lurk everywhere, from company details to serious calculation errors. You don’t want your tax office to find out you miscalculated a tax amount, believe us!
The payment issue
Offering your clients a variety of payment options adds to your invoicing efficiency. The more flexible you are the shorter the “payment lifecycle management” becomes.
Traditional payment options include cash, cheques, and installments but our technological age gives more alternatives. Online payments are the latest trend, gaining grounds compared to the traditional methods by the minute!
Online payments, saves your and your client’s time since they can pay you in a matter of seconds even without owning a credit card! Paypal was the first company to introduce online payments outside the banking system, but there are many other reliable payment gateways. TO save you the trouble, Elorus has already integrated with PayPal and Braintree!
Personalize your invoices
Last but not least, your invoices can include a personal touch, too! It’s always nice to show your clients that, besides your professional relationship, you value them as individuals.
The simplest way to manifest that is to include a “Thank you for doing business with us” not at the end of your documents.
Or, “Thank you for your cooperation. Feel free to contact us any time”. It never hurt anyone to show a little gratitude; on the contrary, making yourself amicable through your invoices is a very nice touch — don’t underestimate its power!