Generally speaking, no one’s thrilled to receive a bill, your clients included. That said, there are techniques you can use with your invoices that both make the process more convenient for clients and highlight your firm’s value.
Think about it: If you invoice a client every month (or every two weeks, as some savvy professionals do), you’re consistently interacting with them and communicating the value of your services. If you follow these four invoicing tips, you’ll end up with clients who are happy to pay for your services.
1. Tailor your invoices. The way something is communicated can make all the difference. It’s vital to provide clients with the information to which they respond in order to reduce conflict and questions. While these tips don’t apply so much if you only do stipulated sum billing, if you bill for additional services or expenses, they can still be helpful.
If a client has a tendency to argue about every line on your invoices, it might make sense to send them less detailed bills so there are fewer things to pick apart. Conversely, if a client often calls asking for more details, you may want to itemize more. Whichever way your clients lean, you should try to accommodate them in order to make the process more pleasant.
Cash flow flourishes when you follow this advice. When there’s less back-and-forth about invoices, you simply get paid faster.
2. Include details when you can. If your clients don’t usually pick apart every item in your invoices, there are a few other reasons why including more information helps you. When you itemize your invoices, you’re really emphasizing all the work that you do. In other words, your clients routinely see a full list of all the ways in which your firm helps them.
This is why it also makes sense to include zero-charge items on your invoices. It’s a way of reminding clients of the favors you’ve done and how much it really cost you.
3. Offer an early payment discount. Offering a small discount for early payment is a win-win. Clients will be happy to take advantage of a deal, even if they’re only getting something like 2% off. Meanwhile, your cash flow will speed up.
4. Go digital. Most offices and individuals are moving toward being truly paperless. It’s simply more convenient to have everything instant, searchable, and backed up. It just makes sense, then, to offer your clients the options to both receive and pay invoices online. It’s a seamless and easy experience that’ll remind them of how professional you are.
We should note, too, that in addition to making your clients happier, digital billing and payments tend to speed up your cash flow. Emailed invoices arrive immediately and clients can pay almost instantly.
A cloud project management and accounting platform will help you even more, because you can access all of your data and send invoices from anywhere at any time. BQE CORE, for example, has some of the most comprehensive mobile apps out there, so you can even send bills from your phone. What used to take a week or more can now be accomplished in seconds.
Whichever platform you use, though, these four ideas should make the invoicing process less painful for your clients while (not insignificantly) encouraging repeat business and increasing cash flow.