We’ve been talking a lot lately about how to increase your cash flow with ArchiOffice, and with good reason. We all know that healthy cash flow is crucial for the success of any business, but the ways of improving it aren’t always clear. In reality, there are both small and large adjustments you can make in all the stages of your billing cycle and even throughout your firm.
Invoice setup definitely plays a role in this. It seems like a tiny detail, but it can have a big impact on your cash flow. Putting too little or too much information on your invoices can throw clients off and slow down payment. If there isn’t enough detail, they’ll ask you a bunch of questions and delay paying their invoices. If there’s a wealth of information, you run the risk of them nitpicking. Again, this interrupts the payment process.
When you tailor your invoices, you can prevent these issues. In ArchiOffice, you have a number of options to do so.
Try going to the Billing Options screen within the Projects module. When you click on the Invoice Format tab, you’ll see a variety of customizable criteria for grouping, time, and expenses.
If you’re doing stipulated sum billing, you might be wondering why this is relevant to you, considering that you don’t need to show time or expenses on your invoices. If you’re billing for additional services and/or expenses, you’ll want to consider giving your clients enough information so they don’t go back to you with more questions. With that said, let’s look at what exactly you can do.
The “Group By” option lets you group time and expenses by code or phase. This helps to make your invoices more organized, easier to read, and thus faster to pay. Often grouping by phase creates an information overload, so using code might be the way to go. You can also do no grouping whenever that’s relevant.
If you’re billing by the hour or for additional services, you can itemize or summarize your time in five different ways: itemize, itemize by employee, summarize by employee, summarize by role, or summarize by code. Itemizing provides the most detail, while summarizing by code offers the least.
If your client consistently asks for specifics, itemizing is probably the wisest choice, but if they tend to ask too many questions about the details, perhaps try summarizing. It’s important to test the waters. Not all clients are the same, but thankfully you can change these settings from project to project.
ArchiOffice customers tell us that among everything on their invoices, their clients have the most questions about expenses. In fact, some firms send two different invoices for time and expenses so all the back-and-forth about expenses doesn’t delay the payment for the services!
However, when you can separately itemize or summarize expenses within the same invoice, you won’t need to do that. The range of options for this is similar to that for time—you can itemize, show the total, summarize by code, or summarize by expense.
When you take these seemingly minor details into consideration, you’re really thinking about how to best present information to your clients. What gets the fastest response from them? What do they like to hear? What makes them question you? When you have a sense of the answers to questions like these, you’ll be able to expedite the whole process of communication and get paid faster.