Ways to Streamline Your Company’s Billing Process

Even though the point of business is the bottom line, the stipulations and the restrictions placed on reaching the bottom line can be ridiculously time-consuming and tedious. You, a business or finance professional, may be at your wit’s end with it. Be assured, however, that it’s completely understandable to be tired, concerned or worried. The entire thing can be complicated and infuriating. Furthermore, major mistakes in the billing process can lead to legal issues that many small businesses are unable to handle properly.

If you find yourself pulling your hair out, staring at the clock, or nodding off to sleep because you’re worried about how you’re getting paid and how you’re paying others, you’re not alone at all. Thankfully, with modern technology, you may be able to reduce some of that stress.

It’s clear that invoicing will become more commonly an online process in the future, and it looks like the progressive attitudes steering this are putting us in good hands. Using what platform developers offer us, we should be able to soon streamline billing and payroll processes. And by doing so, you can get all transactions completed more quickly and efficiently. So how would one go about doing this? What steps does one take to streamline their billing process in 2018?

Choosing the Right Tools

Obviously, the right equipment is mandatory for the best invoicing process. Invoice software can be a very tricky thing to choose. Because you have to properly record every transaction, and as technology changes, not all software adapts. If you ever reach a point of serving 50, 100, or even more clients, you’ll be strapped for time. And efficiency will be challenged if you try to do all of your invoices single-handedly. Yes, software and machines make mistakes, but they don’t get fatigued and tired the way humans do. Especially humans that have multiple tasks to perform.

Have Good UX and Show All Details

MileIQ, a millage reporting service, recently wrote a piece regarding what to look for in an invoicing software, and it checks out well. One of the most important things they mention is good UX or user experience. This means that whatever invoice and billing software you choose needs to be easy to use. However, it also needs to be efficient and work well. It must cover all of the details needed to properly create and send an invoice! At the bare minimum, they write, a good invoicing software needs the following:

  • Payee contact information
  • Payer contact information
  • Project details
  • Payment amount due
  • Invoice date
  • Payment deadline
  • Late payment terms

New Technologies

Back to the technical side of things, some of the new advancements making its way into financial software are likely to be utilized by billing companies more in the near future. For instance, blockchain technology — the structures used in bitcoin and other digital and cryptocurrencies — is making its way into the invoicing world slowly but surely (its main appeal is its immutable record-keeping skills). Technology like this is always being created and innovated on to make mundane tasks easier, more productive, and more efficiently taken care of, and in doing so will be adapted to a diverse range of practices.

If you’re missing any of the things listed by MileIQ in your software, you’re most likely having to do a lot of extra work that a different software could take care of. So the moral of this story is to make sure you have your bases covered before you invest in something that will cost you more time.

Building a Process to Streamline Your Billing Process

You and all of those involved in the financial side of things will have to be familiar with the software being used in order to put these invoices together. With any kind of project management software, it can be difficult to get everyone on board with the proper operations and practices.

This means, if you have people helping you or employees, you’ll need two kinds of processes: a teaching process and a procedure process. You can’t teach a complicated system to somebody all at once. Especially when they have a plethora of other responsibilities to attend to. So you need a process in helping your employees become acquainted with such a thing. Sometimes companies make moves toward more “efficient” means of doing things. But they slow things down too much to be worth it. So make sure that your process accounts for work done as much as thorough reporting.

Maybe have workshops once a week for a while to cover, or dedicate a couple days to teach and incorporate the new programs into your practices if you can do so without halting production. Most likely you’ll be switching from one procedure to another, so ease your employees into it.

That said, you may also want to consider combining the billing process with other tasks if you’re able. While you don’t want any software and procedure changes to get in the way of new work, you also may be able to fix any time constraints with multitasking. Organization of tasks in this way can be good for keeping up a productive rhythm through the day — some people do not work well with distractions or breaks!

Setting Up Precautions

Setting up security precautions for yourself is absolutely mandatory while doing invoicing and billing, even with software. The problem is that, even though all of these programs use algorithms that are hopefully as precise and correct as possible, you still have to deal with things that can change in odd cases or bugs that have popped up in the software.

Habitual Learning

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know this especially well. One of the biggest obstacles and assets you can have in bookkeeping for your own company is habitual learning. The downside of this is bad habits.  If you get used to doing the wrong practices, then forming better habits will be hard. However, if you start by teaching yourself the right way to do things, then habitually you’ll continue to do things correctly. And eventually, you’ll become faster and more efficient in doing so.

Keep Accurate Backups

This calls for specific precautions, starting with backups and records of every transaction you’ve completed. To ensure all procedures are followed correctly, you need to ensure all of your information and records are accurate. Any work that’s been done by you that you agreed to be paid for needs to be handled in a timely manner. And also should be effectively handled so it can meet all tax deadlines. To make sure your records are as accurate as possible and so the IRS has nothing against you, there is no shame in chasing overdue invoices.

Double-check Everything

If you have another program that can double-check your invoices to make sure the same numbers come out, that would be ideal as well. Or make sure that those you are invoicing are in agreement over the amount. This will mean having contracts or proof of the original agreement with you at all times. Pictures, emails, etc. should all be saved and backed up on your server. You don’t want to catch yourself in the middle of an invoice fraud case.

Conclusion

Modern technology is certainly saving the day when it comes to time spent doing your billing process. These are just a few suggestions on how to streamline such things. What have you done to make it easier on yourself? Share your knowledge and experiences in the comments and replies below!

Avery Phillips
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.
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