When it comes to priorities in managing a business, getting paid is at the top of the list, followed closely by building customer relationships and growth. Yet a recent survey by the SMBT Technology Adoption Index reported that approximately 80% of businesses are manually invoicing customers and still cutting paper checks to pay suppliers themselves.
These practices can open the door for productivity killers, such as invoicing errors, work duplication, and inconsistent payment collection processes. Worse, when your best resources are busy chasing unpaid invoices, they are not growing the business or building customer relationships.
Many of us can relate to trying to find a departure from this billing cycle hamster wheel so that we may stop the cycle and start providing our customers with the positive experience that they deserve. And with online invoicing and payment software solutions, you can streamline your billing operation while improving relationships with your customers and increasing your cash flow. Here are five of the top reasons that businesses have made the switch to being kind and billing online.
Streamlining accounting functions is critical
Online invoicing and payment software is convenient and mutually beneficial to businesses and their customers. When an industry is complex, (i.e. architecture, engineering) the ability to streamline your invoicing and payment processes with your project management accounting adds immeasurable value to your organization. Additionally, invoice options such as progress billing are game-changers when dealing with long-term projects with large budgets. The biggest value is often seen in the elimination of errors and redundancy across departments.
Reciprocity in business relationships
Business relationships require as much (if not more) nurturing than personal relationships. The Law of Reciprocity is based on the idea that if you do something kind for someone, they are likely to be kind to you in return.
By streamlining your invoicing and payment process, you are giving a gift of value to your customers, in the form of conserving time and energy.
Streamlining these processes can also help you:
- Reduce costs
- Reduce errors
- Improve efficiency
The ability to produce and send invoices efficiently, combined with the customer’s ability to pay immediately without leaving their desk also allows transparency between your business and your customers. End result? Your customer is happy and your money is received promptly. Win-Win.
Respect your customer’s time as if it were your own
In a recent article in Inc. Magazine, Andrew Griffins is quoted as saying: “Regardless of the business, find ways to serve your customers that shows that you respect their time and your business will develop a reputation for providing excellent service and more customers will seek you out."
Not only is efficient management of online invoicing and payment software solutions adding value to your organization by conserving time and energy, but it is also a signal to your customers that you respect their time. Have you ever felt like you went to more trouble to pay an invoice than you would have to try and avoid paying it? This scenario is what many companies expect when they enter into a business relationship.
Providing an easy and secure payment option and accurate invoicing can set you far apart from competitors that aren’t evolving with customer preferences (Related: Invoicing Successfully: 3 Things to Consider When Invoicing). Of course, the decrease in labor hours in your accounting department means an increase in cash flow for you.
The proof is in the transparency
If you have ever worked in AR, you know that you would be long-retired if you had a dollar for every time someone told you the check was in the mail or that they did not receive an invoice. By invoicing and accepting payments online, records of each correspondence are being generated.
Integrating an electronic payment option, with online invoicing and payment software, directly into your invoice can make payments even easier and enable your customers to make payments faster. Invoices can be tracked and payments can be verified in real-time, in-office and on tablets and mobile devices. Customers also have access to records of all paid and unpaid invoices, offering a level of transparency that is mutually beneficial to your business and your customers. When trust increases, relationships last longer.
Security is on the rise
A sense of security is often cited as the reason that some businesses still prefer making payments with a check or money order. However, as more consumers and businesses adopt the trend of paying online, online payment platforms become more lucrative and are focusing on becoming more secure.
Payment platforms are audited by a PCI-certified auditor and given a certification which reinforces your dedication to providing a secure payment experience. Stripe is a good example of a platform that has received a PCI Service Provider Level One rating; the highest achievable. Online payments also leave a trail, allowing customers and businesses to easily prove or disprove a payment.
Making the move to online invoicing and payment software solutions is sure to free up your internal talent to drive growth and improve customer relationships while encouraging your customers to pay on time. The benefits of transparency and security add value to your business and your customer’s operation. Reduced labor hours across departments ultimately increases your cash flow. Customizable options such as progress billing for project management accounting make your accounting process seamless, even for complex industries. Be kind to yourself and your customers.
Click the link below to learn more about online invoicing and payment software solutions.