15 Advantages of Using an Online Invoicing Software
Scaling your business may sound impossible, but one of the first places to start is with your billing.
This story originally appeared on Due
Whether you're a freelancer, e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar retailer, today's marketplace increasingly competitive. Attracting and retaining clients and customers is big business. Businesses of all-sizes need to look for ways to save time and money. Increasing productivity and convenience for their customers is paramount. Therefore, the advantages of using an online invoicing software becomes key to scaling your billing models.
Scaling your business may sound impossible, but one of the first places to start is with your billing. Finding an efficient way to generate invoices, along with keeping track financial information, you can achieve that increase. Most importantly, this is all done while improving your cash flow.
Unfortunately, paper-based invoices and creating invoices on Excel aren't the most efficient. An online invoicing software is the way to go. So many businesses are resistant to move to online invoicing, even if it could save their business.
Let's change that by diving deeper into the 15 advantages using an online invoicing.
1. It's fast and simple
Raise your hand if you've ever been here before. You either fill-out a spreadsheet or log into an invoice template site. You spend the next 10-20 minutes entering essential information.
Got it! Address, invoice number and itemized list of or products or services your provided. Check.
Is this the end of the world? Not really. But, when you're sending out multiple invoices at once it becomes a lengthy and repetitive process.
With online invoicing software, all client information is saved in the cloud. The client's name and address, payment terms and preferred payment method are saved and protected.
All you have to do is log into your account, select the client you want to invoice. You input the amount of hours or products you provided. Select a due date, click send and the invoice arrives electronically to the client. Only a minute or two to complete.
In short, online invoicing not only speeds up the entire payment process, it's also incredibly user-friendly. You can get your account set-up and start billing clients in a matter of minutes with minimal training.
2. Everything is stored in the cloud
Speaking of the cloud, you never have to worry about losing invoices or client data. You do not face mail problems or computer crashing issues -- ever again.
Everything is automatically saved and stored online. Just log into your account and everything you need to start billing your clients is right at your fingertips.
Probably the greatest advantage that online invoicing has is automation. This means that you can set-up recurring payments for long-term clients. You can establish a subscription-based business model.
The automation system sends follow-ups and payment reminders for upcoming and past-due invoices. Automating these tasks saves you a ton of time and money and you can focus on growing your business.
No more paying someone to do these administrative tasks for you. It also eliminates the frustration of chasing down these payments.
4. Establishes brand identity
A cloud-based invoicing solution can reinforce your brand's identity. You can add your logo, color scheme and fonts that matches your brand's voice.
When you strengthen your identity you increase the chances of getting paid on-time. It's been found that including your logo increases payments by 3 times.
You can also create customized messages, such as a "Thank You!" You will be able to upsell new products or services. Link to a piece of content that can help the client solve an additional problem.
It may seem trivial, but these messages can also enhance your brand. Your brand's identity demonstrates your personality and expertise.
5. It's secure
We're creatures of habit, so it's easy to understand why some may resist online invoicing and payments. Some businesses are used to creating and mailing paper invoices.
Others jump on the online payment bandwagon because they want to take care of their security concerns. Security must always be a priority. Reputable online invoicing software is extremely secure since they must adhere to PCI Security Standards.
It is difficult to get a PCI Security Standards clearance. They help you with implementing advanced security safeguards against any loss and interference. You use such safeguards as SSL encryption.
6. Deal with many currencies and languages
We're essentially all "global citizens" these days thanks to technology. A freelancer in the U.K. can bill their client in Japan. A customer in Kenya can order a t-shirt from a company in the U.S.
Because of this, cloud-based invoicing platforms are allowing users to select their preferred currency and language. This allow both you and your clients or customers choices that were not possible before. Cloud invoicing and payments makes entering the global marketplace much more convenient. It removes payment barriers as well.
7. Cost savings
According to BluePay:
"When you factor in the time (i.e. employee hours) required to create, send and process each company invoice, it's easy to understand why businesses spend an average of $4 to $20 per paper transaction. Just to put that in perspective, a company with 10 employees could realize savings of up to $2,400 a year by ditching traditional payroll checks in favor of direct deposit."
Additionally, there are the costs associated with paper, ink and postage. Online invoicing eliminates these costs. And, thanks to automation your business can reduce the cost of invoicing by 29 percent.
8. 24/7 access
Online invoicing is on the cloud which gives you the ability to manage client information and billing from one application. You can use on your desktop, tablet or smartphone.
This means if you can't make it in to the office, you're at home or traveling -- you can send and manage your invoices 24/7.
9. Simpler auditing
A cloud invoicing solution allows you to save everything. Your estimates, invoices, expense receipts and any other related documents are online and in one dashboard.
This dashboard creates a simple and time-saving process when analyzing financial reports. During tax season you, or your accountant, can easily determine any eligible tax deductions.
Being able to quickly locate all of your expenses and receipts from one place is convenient. Even better, this process can bail you out in the event that you're ever audited by the IRS.
10. Instant delivery = faster payments
As noted earlier, it takes a matter of seconds to send invoices online and they're even faster if you use recurring billing.
No longer will you be waiting weeks for a client to receive, review, and return an invoice via snail mail. "Lost in the mail" episodes (and jokes) are gone forever. Your invoices are sent instantly. Invoices sent faster and faster means compensation is also received faster and faster.
11. Environmentally friendly
Did you know that on average, digital invoicing is four times more environmentally friendly than paper billing? It saves the trees (you can advertise this). You are saving water, and energy, and it reduces pollution. Less in the landfill from the solid waste created by sending paper invoices.
If you want to see how online invoicing can reduces your businesses carbon footprint, use this Paper Calculator from the Environmental Paper Network.
12. Reduces errors and disputes
Paper processing involves several steps. Any process done by a human is prone to human errors. Processing incorrect billing amounts or sending a bill to the wrong client just doesn't happen anymore.
Errors delay the payment process. They can also damage the relationship that you have with a client. Not to mention the relationship with the blankety-blank who delayed or made a mistake in the billing. Even less "fun" if that's you.
Invoicing errors and disputes can end-up costing you thousands of dollars to correct. The send and resends are a nightmare.
Online invoicing calculates the total amount for you to prevent errors. It adds the taxes and ensures that the right client is billed. Even if you do make a mistake, it only takes a minute to fix and resend.
13. Enhance customer relations
As I've mentioned several times already, there are numerous benefits of online invoicing. You have accurate billings, preferred currency of payment method, a professional appearance and a positive brand reinforcement.
You can include that customized message you've been thinking about sending for a year -- and didn't do it. It's much easier to make your clients feels like VIPs. Even a simple "Thank you," goes a long way nowadays.
Strengthening the relationship that you have with your clients not only encourages them to pay the invoice on-time, it can also help generate repeat customers and word-of-referrals.
14. Puts you in the driver's seat
It's no secret that businesses have to pay transaction and deposit fees when processing payments. Even if the fee is minimal, those fees can add-up over the long-run. The process can take days or weeks to process.
Online invoicing allows you to select the payment that is fast and offers the most affordable transaction rates. In fact, if you accept digital currencies like bitcoin, those fees are usually eliminated.
15. Modernity and professionalism
Finally, online invoicing gives your business a more modern and professional look and feel. It provides an image and an impression on your clients and customers. This may not seem like a biggie, but it's going to help delays and barriers to accepting payments.
For example, would you become an advocate for a business that only accepts cash? That "cash only" may be convenient for that business. But as a customer, how often do you really carry around cash?
(By Max Palmer)