Businesses of all sizes are working hard to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The global disruption prompted owners to reimagine how they do business in a new, digital world. And while some organisations are thriving in the current market, others are struggling to stabilise. For instance, small businesses may not have the same access to resources and information as their larger counterparts.
To help small businesses bounce back from the crisis, we've put together an overview of how to invoice electronically and get you paid while social distancing.
Invoices are a fact of life for any business owner. Whether you sell goods or charge for services, invoicing is the process by which your business gets paid. Invoicing also proves invaluable for bookkeeping, project tracking, and tax purposes.
Below, we explain what to do before sending an invoice, how to follow up on unpaid invoices, and everything in between.
Businesses rely on invoices for four key reasons, most of which, serve to build trust with your customers:
Invoices are also easy, subtle ways to boost your branding, marketing, and customer service efforts. We’ll come back to that in a moment.
Agreeing on the price and terms of a deal before work begins can save a lot of headaches later. A quote or statement of work (SoW) outlines the costs and what the client can expect when signing a contract with your business. It also includes when both the work and payment are due. A proposal, also known as an estimate, is a document that serves two main purposes:
Before any work commences, you need to draft, agree upon, and submit the invoice to your client. It should also include these elements, at minimum:
Quotes can go a long way towards establishing good working relationships with clients. Start by laying out all of the money-related details upfront so everybody knows what to expect from the beginning. Quotes also help protect both parties should disputes arise over any aspect of the project scope or payment terms.
Invoices need to include the basics we outlined above. And with a few simple additions, you can optimise your invoices to serve multiple purposes without much effort on your part.
You should be doing all of your invoicing on the screen, not on paper. Paper-based invoicing costs more time, money, and resources than electronic invoicing. Template-driven invoices delivered via email are easy to use, fast, and cheap to deliver (No paper! No stamps! No contact!).
That said, invoicing software can be a small business’ best friend. Automations handle invoicing, follow-ups, and acknowledgements for you while also tying into your back-office systems. Getting set up with the right invoicing system can save you time and money. It also cuts down on errors and keeps your customers updated with timely invoice-related communications.
Tracking down unpaid invoices isn’t fun. But it’s a lot better than not getting paid for goods and services you’ve already delivered. Following up on unpaid invoices is part of doing business and it’s nothing you should feel afraid or nervous about.
Automated invoicing tools can send reminders to customers at specified intervals after an invoice has gone past due. Often, a reminder or two is all it takes for a customer to pay any outstanding bills. But should you need it, you can also set your system to let you when it’s time to email the customer personally.
In the wake of a global pandemic, we understand that many small businesses are trying to stabilise in this new digital world. To help businesses adjust to the current market, we’ve created a list of resources for small businesses in the EU facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Get everything you need to help recovery from this crisis.
Now that you know the basics of invoicing, use this template to make your sales quotes stand out from your competitors!