Every business — big, small, or micro — struggles, at least occasionally, with the challenge of being paid on time. While large businesses can easily avoid some late payments, for small businesses, even a late payment can be the difference between ordering new inventory and having empty shelves.
Six tips to get paid fast
1. Use a professional design
Business counts in all aspects of running a business, including your invoices. If your invoices look sluggish and unprofessional, customers will not take you seriously. Your invoice may expire quickly at the bottom of the pile. With today’s technology, there is no excuse for it. Look for a clean design with a space for your logo and relevant information.
2. Use familiar language
When they receive an invoice, what are the customers looking for first? They want to know what they are being invoiced for. If it is absolutely unclear, you can be sure that the invoice will end up in a pending file for later handling. Make sure that the narration uses the action you discussed when making the sale. For example, if you discussed “sign graphics for holiday promotions”, do not write “graphic design services”. A vague description creates the need for a follow-up call. The more specific you are in the details, the more quickly your invoices will be processed.
3. Details are correct
The person you deal with during the sales process will probably not be the person who receives the invoice. If you keep this in mind, you will understand how important it is to be clear on the details included in your invoice. Not only should you make sure that you have that person’s name written correctly, but you also want to make sure that it includes:
- Invoice issue date
- Proper customer street address, phone and email
- Your business street address, phone, and email (no general contact information, but who to call regarding invoice questions)
- Purchase Order Number (if any)
- invoice due date
- Net terms
- What types of payments do you accept (eg, PayPal, Venmo, QuickBooks, etc.)
- Initial Payment Discount (if any)
It is also a good idea to find out – before you send a bill – if there is any other information that should be included in the invoice, to ensure that there is no delay. For example, some clients — such as the government — want to include the vendor’s tax ID and / or Dunn number on the invoice.
4. Send invoice immediately
It is important to send invoices as soon as delivery of services or product occurs. Sending an invoice late (for any reason) gives the message that you are not in a hurry to receive payment. If you are working with a repeat customer, find out when they prefer to invoice (for example, at the end of the month (mid-month?) And send your invoice on that exact day.
The sooner you give the invoice, the sooner you will get paid. Some customers may prefer to pay in installments. If there are conditions for which you agree, know in advance that each invoice must be sent.
5. Automate the process
Another surefire way to pay faster is to automate your invoicing process. According to online business, businesses receiving their accounts get paid twice as fast. It is easy to understand why. We just explained why it is important to invoice customers immediately. If you are still using a manual process, things can easily slip through the crack. Someone needs to enter an invoice, note that it must be sent, find the invoice and send it.
If you use an automated process, you can easily schedule when invoices have to be sent – and set up recurring bills for your regular customers.
Automation allows you to quickly track invoices you send – and by using a system like online, you can set up automatic reminders to your customers that payment is due (or overdue). Your payments can also come directly to your bank account (via ACH or credit card).
Automating your billing process helps you better manage your cash flow by speeding up the AR process, reducing opportunities for human error and eliminating time-consuming billing processes.
6. Used a cloud-based system
By now, most small businesses understand the benefits of cloud-based services. You can work as long as you have an internet connection.
Being able to connect in the cloud for financial functions is important for small businesses. If invoices need to be reviewed or changed before being sent, the CEO or CFO can view them in the cloud and make any other adjustments. Or they can see if payments are late or when they are due.
If your business is running remotely, whether permanently or temporarily during COVID-19 “safe-at-home” policies, the cloud makes it easier for your accounting staff or your accountant to keep track of your finances.
Keep it in sync
The simplest, most efficient way to make fast payments would be to combine all of the above methods into one simple solution that manages your payment process. And online does this. By providing commercially designed invoices for its automated, cloud-based accounts receivables and payment systems (and more), online allows you to sync clients, invoices and accounts so you can pay your bills. And pay faster.
In addition, basically syncs to your favorite accounting application. Try it, risk-free today