Every business—large, small, or micro—struggles, at least occasionally, with the challenge of getting paid on time. While larger businesses can easily survive a few late payments, for small businesses, even one late payment can be the difference between ordering new inventory and having empty shelves.
Six Tips to Get Paid Faster
1. Use a professional design
Appearances count in all aspects of running a business, including your invoices. If your invoices look sloppy and unprofessional, clients won’t take you seriously. Your invoices could quickly end up on the bottom of the pile. With today’s technology, there’s no excuse for this. Look for a clean design with a place for your logo and pertinent information.
2. Use familiar language
What is the first thing clients look for when they receive an invoice? They want to know what they’re being invoiced for. If it’s at all unclear, you can be sure the invoice will end up in the pending file to deal with later. Make sure the description uses the verbiage you discussed when making the sale. For example, if you discussed “sign graphics for a holiday promotion,” don’t write “graphic design services.” A vague description creates the need for a follow-up call. The more specific you can be in the description, the quicker your invoices will be processed.
3. Get the details right
The person you dealt with during the sales process is likely not the same person who will receive the invoice. If you keep this in mind, you’ll understand how important it is to be clear on the details included in your invoice. Not only should you make sure you have the person’s name correctly spelled, but you also want to make sure to include:
The date the invoice is issued
The proper client street address, phone, and email
Your business’s street address, phone, and email (not the general contact information, but who to call about invoice questions)
The purchase order number (if any)
Invoice due date
What form of payments you accept (for example, PayPal, Venmo, QuickBooks, etc.)
Early payment discount (if any)
It’s also a good idea to find out—before you send a bill—if there is any other information that must be included on the invoice to ensure there are no delays. For example, some clients—such as the government—want the vendor’s Tax ID and/or DUNS number included on the invoice.
4. Send invoices promptly
It’s crucial to send invoices as soon as the services or product delivery occurs. Sending invoices late (for any reason) sends the message that you’re not in a hurry to receive payment. If you’re dealing with a repeat client, find out when they prefer to be invoiced (for example, at the end of the month? mid-month?) and send your invoice out on that exact day.
The faster you invoice, the quicker you get paid. Some clients may prefer paying in installments. If those are terms you agreed to, be sure to find out in advance the dates each invoice should be sent.
5. Automate the process
Another sure way to get paid faster is to automate your invoicing process. According to Bill.com, businesses that automate their accounts receivables get paid twice as fast. It’s easy to understand why. We just explained why it’s important to invoice customers promptly. If you’re still using a manual process, things can easily slip through the cracks. Someone needs to file the invoice, note the date it should be sent, find the invoice, and send it.
If you use an automated process, you can easily schedule when the invoice needs to be sent—and set up recurring bills for your regular clients.
Automation also allows you to instantly track the invoices you send—and, using a system like Bill.com, you can set up automated reminders to your clients that payment is due (or overdue). You can also have payments sent directly to your bank account (via ACH or credit card).
By reducing the chances for human error and eliminating time-consuming billing procedures, automating your billing process also helps you better manage your cash flow by speeding up the AR process.
6. Used a Cloud-Based System
By now, most small businesses understand the benefits of cloud-based services. As long as you have an internet connection, you can get the job done. Being able to connect in the cloud for financial tasks is vitally important to small businesses. If invoices need to be reviewed or altered before being sent, the CEO or CFO can look at them in the cloud and make any necessary adjustments. Or they can look up if payments are late or when they’re due.
If your business is operating remotely, whether permanently or temporarily during COVID-19 “safer-at-home” policies, the cloud makes it easier for your accounting staff—or your accountant—to keep track of your finances.
Keep it in Sync
The simplest, most efficient way to get paid faster would be to combine all the methods mentioned above into one simple solution that manages your payments process. And that’s precisely what Bill.com does. From providing professionally designed invoices to its automated, cloud-based accounts receivables and payables systems (and more), Bill.com allows you to sync clients, invoices, and accounts so you can pay your bills and get paid faster.
Plus, Bill.com syncs with your favorite accounting application seamlessly. Give it a try, risk-free today!
This blog post was originally published here and republished with permission.