Chapter 6

How to improve your invoicing process

Check out our tips for making the invoicing process simpler so it takes up less time and the money flows in sooner.

Small business owner creating an invoice at their desk

Top tips for streamlining your invoicing

However you do your invoicing – whether it’s manually, in spreadsheets, or using online invoicing software – these tips will help.

  • Provide written quotes for the customer to accept: Avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding by providing quotes in writing for your customer to accept before you start work.
  • Communicate by phone first time round: The first time you send someone an invoice, pick up the phone and talk to the customer accounts administrator to check everything is in order.
  • Make use of invoice templates: Save yourself rework and ensure you don’t miss anything when you’re writing up an invoice by using templates.
  • Invoice the moment a job is complete: Don’t wait until the end of the month to send all your invoices. Invoice the moment a job is complete, or failing that, daily or weekly. Decide when and how often you’ll invoice and stick to it.
  • Offer customers a choice of how they pay: Payment services like Stripe and GoCardless make it easy to get paid promptly online.
  • Follow up unpaid invoices promptly: Plan when you’ll chase overdue invoices and make doing it a priority.
  • Train more the one person in invoicing: The flow of incoming cash won’t come to a temporary stop if there are a few staff members trained to do invoicing tasks.

How online invoicing changes everything

Almost universally, businesses who’ve switched to online invoicing and online accounting are glad they did, and many rave about it. Tiresome tasks are automated, up-to-date information is always at hand and it can easily be shared online with your bookkeeper or accountant.

Automate tasks to streamline invoicing

Businesses that move their invoicing online save time, reduce costs and speed up payments. There’s less for you or your staff to do because online invoicing software takes on most of the mundane, repetitive tasks.

It’s easier to keep track of things because it’s all held securely online. Documents don’t get lost and it’s convenient to search in one handy place when there’s something you need to find out.

With your invoicing and accounts all part of the one system, everything is streamlined. You remove the potential for duplicate data entry, and the information in your accounts system updates automatically as you send invoices and receive payments.

Set up recurring invoices. They can be automatically saved as draft for further tweaks or automagically sent out on the same date each month. We do this for our recurring monthly fee clients. You never have to worry again, “Have I billed them?"

Don Grgic, Xero silver partner, Business Boost Centre

See up-to-date information so you can make quick decisions

With online invoicing and online payments, each transaction is recorded immediately in your accounting software. This makes it simple to see what’s owing to you and get a clear picture of your current numbers. Which is great when you’ve got decisions to make about spending, hiring, or taking on more work.

Collaborate so you’re not going it alone

When you’re using web-based accounting software, you can invite other people that you trust to access it remotely. Your accountant or bookkeeper can provide advice or help online from where ever they are. And your staff can share the work of quoting, recording expenses, invoicing, reconciling payments to invoices, and chasing overdue payments.

Go mobile for maximum flexibility

When your invoicing software is online, you’ll be able to create and send invoices anytime, anywhere. So if your work takes you out and about, you can invoice as soon as a job is done.

Let the invoicing software do the work

These are just some examples of the advantages of online invoicing.

When you’re setting up invoices or quotes, online invoicing software can:

  • supply the next unused invoice number to a new invoice
  • populate new invoices or quotes with your logo, name and contact details, payment terms and payment methods from a template
  • offer accept or decline options on your quotes
  • convert accepted quotes to invoices
  • offer ‘Pay now’ options on your invoice
  • pull customer names and addresses through into quotes and invoices
  • populate quotes and invoices with descriptions of good and services
  • include job costs and hours in the next invoice for the customer
  • attach other documents (for example, PDFs) to an invoice and store them

When it comes to sending invoices, online invoicing software can:

  • create and send repeating invoices
  • send out invoices to a set schedule
  • send automated reminders when payment is due or overdue
  • integrate with government endorsed, e-invoicing networks to send invoices directly to a customer’s accounting software – where it will show up as a bill requiring payment

When you’re checking your accounts, online invoicing software can:

  • list which invoices the customer has opened
  • show you which invoices are unpaid, and which ones are overdue
  • identify which payments apply to which invoices
  • tell you how much money is owing to you in total at any time
  • report on which clients are consistently poor payers
  • store your invoices securely and easily find them for you
  • keep a detailed audit trail of each transaction

Disclaimer: Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.

Guide to invoicing

Do your invoices go unpaid for ages? There are proven ways to change that. Check out these tips on the art of invoicing.

Download our invoicing survival guide

Learn how to create and send invoices that get opened, understood, and paid. Fill out the form to receive our invoicing guide as a PDF.

Start using Xero for free

Access all Xero features for 30 days, then decide which plan best suits your business.

  • Included
    Safe and secure
  • Included
    Cancel any time
  • Included
    24/7 online support