Your Invoicing System or Mine? Dealing with Client Billing Requirements
For many business owners and freelancers, billing is a mundane process. Fortunately, technology has made it easier to create, send, and track invoices with minimal effort. This means entrepreneurs can set up the process and move on to running other aspects of their businesses.
Unfortunately, as a business grows, professionals usually find that the system they have in place is not a one-size-fits-all solution. To work with some of the bigger clients, entrepreneurs usually find they have to work with a system those businesses already have in place. This may mean signing up for a special payment service, waiting ten days for a check to arrive in the mail, or invoicing on a specific date, following a long list of rules for what the invoice should contain.
When this happens, it can throw off an entrepreneur’s well-crafted system. Here are a few tips for dealing with clients whose billing requirements are different from your own.
Track All Invoices
Even if your invoice isn’t sent from your billing system, you should enter the invoice and track it. This will help when you’re pulling reports about your cash flow, giving you solid numbers that you can use to make decisions. Another benefit of this type of tracking is that when a question comes up later, you’ll be able to trace the invoice back using the great system you’ve put in place.
In some instances, you may be able to discuss invoicing options with your client. Mention that you have a great system in place and ask if it would be possible for you to send the invoice through that system. If this is one of your top clients, however, you may find that the extra work this client creates is well worth it, especially if the pay is both reliable and generous.
Set Up Remote Check Capture
You’ll likely find that there are some businesses that still pay solely by check. This is often true of some of the largest businesses, which also happen to be provide some of the most lucrative opportunities. To avoid the frustration of rushing to the bank on a regular basis, set up remote check capture through your mobile device and deposit your checks remotely. Once the deposit has been verified, you’ll also be able to get rid of the paper copy of the check, since you’ll have an electronic record of it.
Keep a Calendar
Tracking multiple invoicing procedures can be complicated, since each client will request you bill on a different schedule. Keep a calendar that details what you need to do for each day and check that calendar every day. Set a specific time aside every day to handle your billing functions, even if it only takes a few minutes.
One way to keep up with everything efficiently is through the use of an on-site or virtual assistant. This person can set up a payment schedule for you and manage invoicing each of your clients based on your specifications. You may need to set up a document that details how each of your clients prefers to be paid and let your assistant take it from there. Whenever you bring on a new client, your assistant can then add that client to the procedures.
Invoicing can be a complicated process but automation can make it easier. When the tools you’ve put in place don’t work for one of your clients, it’s still important to log each payment as it comes in and each invoice as it goes out. This will allow you to run the reports you need to gain insight into your cash flow.