Win at invoicing with these checklists
Whether it’s choosing invoicing software, getting paid quickly or avoiding mistakes, we’ve made a few handy checklists so you know what to look out for.
Checklist 1: Choosing the right invoicing software
Here are some of the key things to look out for when you’re choosing the right software.
Big picture considerations
Overall, is the invoicing software:
🗹 Straightforward and intuitive to use on a Mac, PC, tablet or phone?
🗹 Robust enough to handle sales tax calculations for your country?
🗹 Able to handle multiple currencies if you export, or may export in the future?
🗹 Part of a complete accounting package or able to sync seamlessly with your accounting software?
🗹 Able to offer easily understood charts and graphs that shows key business information?
On the invoice itself
Does the software:
🗹 Convert quotes to invoices easily, taking all the details across?
🗹 Make it simple to select a customer and pull in their name and address?
🗹 Let you select items you sell so the description and price are pulled into the invoice?
🗹 Let you create secure editable online invoices that customers link to?
🗹 Enable you to offer your customers online payment options?
🗹 Make it easy to produce invoices that are clear to read and look professional?
Clever stuff to save you work
Does the software:
🗹 Connect to your bank accounts, and match payments to invoices for you?
🗹 Integrate with an e-invoicing network to let you send invoices directly to your customers’ software?
🗹 Let you set up automatic invoice reminders to prompt customers to pay?
🗹 Have a mobile app that makes it simple to send an invoice, look up customer details, record expenses, and check on payments?
🗹 Transfer trial period information to your accounts once you subscribe?
Checklist 2: Getting paid quickly so your cash flow stays healthy
Want to avoid late payments and keep your cash flow healthy? Here’s a list of handy tips and tricks.
🗹 Work on the principle of ‘no surprises’. Your customer should know what to expect from the start of the job.
🗹 Make your invoices accurate and descriptive so the customer knows exactly what they’re being asked to pay for. Don’t give them a reason to come back to you with queries – which will delay you getting paid.
Check their history
🗹 Check the customer’s previous payment history with you before you agree to take on more work.
🗹 Check the credit rating of new customers especially if it’s a big job.
Review the payment terms
🗹 Agree the payment terms with your customer (in writing) before supplying anything. It’s important to set expectations up front.
🗹 Customise your standard payment terms if necessary. If the customer has a poor credit score or they request a discount, you may want to shorten the payment term. For large jobs, you may want to invoice weekly or monthly rather than at the end of the job.
🗹 Give customers less time to pay. About 40 percent of businesses now typically ask for payment within seven days*.
*Xero invoices issued in 2015
Eliminate avoidable delays
🗹 Find out who the customer accounts person is. Make personal contact by phoning to introduce yourself and checking the address for the invoice.
🗹 Once the work is done, send the invoice. Don’t wait till the end of the month.
🗹 In case the customer does have queries about the invoice, make it easy for them to get in touch with you by including the details of who they should contact on the invoice.
🗹 Make sure you know which invoices have been paid and which haven’t – and follow up the overdue ones quickly.
Invoicing situations to avoid
It’s easy to make mistakes and take missteps when your business is just getting started – or even once it’s been going for awhile. Here are a few common problems to avoid.
Your invoice payment terms are unclear.
Make sure you’ve got written agreement (an email is good enough) before you begin.