As a small business owner, managing the cash flow of our business would surely be one of your most significant worries. If this is true! Then, you are not alone! Most small businesses in their struggle period face this challenge, and managing invoices and quotes feels nothing less than climbing Mount Everest!
It is understandable that effectively managing a business’s account receivables is critical to the financial growth potential of your business. Managing your cash flow depends on how accurately, comprehensively, and timely you manage your invoicing process. It is also essential to have an invoicing process that is both cost-effective and efficient.
A proper invoicing system can significantly help you reduce the invoicing cost while improving the cash flow and increasing the account receivables’ collection. I have combined my top 7 tips for effectively utilizing your small business invoice management system, and they are as follows:
- Create a Comprehensive Checklist
Some business owners may neglect the importance of having detailed customer information. However, having comprehensive client information can help you improve your chances of timely payment. Creating a complete checklist will help you save a significant amount of time and money in the long run. Your comprehensive list must include:
- Customer Name
- Mobile Number
- Alternate Mobile Number
- Invoice Number
- Invoice Date
- Tax identification numbers
- Payment Terms
- Details about the services or the products that you’re invoicing
You can also add a confidentiality note if you are asking for bank details. It is also vital to have a professional Invoice template that best suits your business.
- Establish an Invoice Numbering System
If you are someone who always faces issues when it comes to tracking invoices, establishing an invoice numbering system can end this problem once and for all. With your invoice numbering system, you can smartly manage invoicing, especially if you organize the invoices according to the payment period or numerical value.
Giving each invoice a unique numerical value and the same file name (for example, BusinessInvoice_001) will help you quickly identify the invoices. You can also mention the date in the file name if you want to keep a record of the payment period.
There are several ways you can manage your business’s invoice numbering system. So, you should figure out what invoice numbering system works best for you, your business type, and the payment system.
- Simplify Your Payment Process
If you genuinely want to use your invoice management system, then it should simplify the overall payment process for you and your customers. You can make your payment process simpler in many ways; you can make spreadsheets that can be viewed and edited by you and your clients at the same time. You can also provide real-time invoices that you can email or text your clients.
It is also essential to establish a system that also notifies when the payment is sent and received. Having a simplified invoice management system will not only save time as you would not be sending payment reminders yourself, but it will also increase your on-time payment chances.
- Send the Invoices Promptly
No matter if you own a car repair business in New York, offer photography services in Dubai, Own a travel agency or safari in Tanzania. You should integrate a proper invoicing system into your business! It is an absolute necessity these days as it makes your payment process faster and more organized.
If you want your clients to take you seriously and you want to give a professional impression of your business to your client, then never delay your invoices. Sending the invoice promptly to your client should always be on your priority list; this will encourage them to pay on time and give the invoice its due importance.
- Establish an Invoicing Schedule
You will have to pre-plan the invoicing schedule if you want to improve your business’s accounts receivable collection flow.
If your business involves large payments, make sure that you break down the amount in a series of partial payments. In this way, you will not only have the surety that you are working with a trustable client. But, breaking down the final payment will also make it easier for your client to pay you the entire amount in portions rather than a lump sum amount that can be a burden.
If you are working for the same client on several projects, it is a smart idea to maintain an invoice schedule with reasonable payment intervals.
- Charge Late Payment Penalty
The biggest challenge of any business is receiving on-time payments. Your client might merely be ignoring your invoice alerts and deliberately delaying the payment! If that is the case, you are unfortunately left with no other choice but to charge a late payment penalty.
You should state it on the invoice that a late fee would be charged on late payment, and the fee amount will increase with time. However, it is a smart idea to have a late payment contract that would clearly state all the terms of late payment and its penalty. The contract will provide you the necessary legal protection against lawsuits.
- Regularly Monitoring Is Essential
Small businesses are dependent on their cash flow; therefore, it is essential for small businesses to monitor their invoicing system on a regular basis. Regular monitoring helps to aware of the account’s performance and what measures are required to improve the cash flow. You can create daily, weekly, and monthly reports to get a better idea about the overall cash management and cash flow performance.
Using an electronic invoice management system has now become a necessity for every large, medium, and small scale business. Not only for improving the cash flow performance but also for enhancing customer data security. If you master the art of effectively managing your invoice management system, you can surely make invoicing faster, budget-friendly, and, most importantly, effective!