If you aren’t using electronic invoicing, it’s costing you.
When it comes to completing the task that brings in money for all your hard work, it’s best to use a process that saves time and increases earnings. Switching to electronic invoicing keeps your company up to speed with modern-day technology and helps win customers over.
On average, automation reduces 29% of invoice processing costs according to concur.com. Read more to understand how the billing process works for paper vs. e-invoicing.
The following benefits are why you should consider using e-invoicing:
Paper: Your technician finishes the job. At the end of the week, they go back to the office and turn in their time/job sheet for the work completed.
Next, your office staff spends time and money manually creating invoices for each job, exerting effort to write neatly so everything is understandable.
Your staff manually adds in details, such as your business’s contact information, customer contact information, and a breakdown of the billing price.
This process likely requires that you spend on paper, printing, and delivery. According to a Xerox study, “sixty-six percent [of small businesses] spend more than $1,000 each month for printing activities.”
After sending, you wait for the invoice to get delivered and received by your customer. Most of the time you don’t know if your customer received it or not.
E-invoicing: The process of creating a payment statement takes significantly less time with e-invoicing. This is due to the fact that there isn’t a need to pay for paper, printers, ink cartridges, envelopes, postage, file cabinets, etc.
Electronic invoicing won’t require nearly as much labor since the software helps immensely with creating, sending, and processing invoices. Reducing costs of labor and supplies frees up resources for the rest of your business.
With e-invoicing software, you can use one template and send it as an email to multiple customers. You can make use of personalized tags where the system automatically inputs their information and job information when the digital invoice sends.
Having a CRM linked to the invoicing software gives you the option of saving contact information so you won’t have to write it out yourself every single time. Once you click on the customer and add an invoice, all the relevant information gets added to the digital invoice.
Also, you can use your software to create terms and conditions that then attach to invoices. Add your business information (such as company name, address, email address, and logo) once to the template, and you have a professional way to bill on a multitude of occasions.
An awesome field service management software allows you to create as many templates as you want! You can create templates specific to each job, customer, or however else you want to run it.
You have an instant record of sending the invoice and great software even shows whether or not they have already paid, or if they still owe and what they owe.
To put it briefly, fewer steps reduce the costs of labor and provide a more efficient process for you, your staff, and your customer.
Paper: Your staff writes the invoice out on paper for each job. There’s usually no guarantee that handwriting will be legible for the recipient.
These invoices usually take longer to fill out than e-invoices and tend to not look as professional. Unfortunately, customers’ interactions with these types of invoices can cause uncertainty and confusion.
E-invoicing: E-invoices are branded, neat, and professional. With clear type, there is much less room for miscommunications.
For better or for worse, the presentation of the statement influences customers’ opinion about your brand and services. For this reason, customers are more likely to return to a company when their materials look professional.
It’s important to keep your competitive edge with modern, up-to-date technology. Digitizing your invoicing process gives you all the tools you need to ensure your statement is organized and well-designed:
Paper: After sending the invoice, your admin waits for your customer to reach out. Or, your staff finally contacts them in about 1-2 weeks to check if the customer received the invoice and to try to get payment.
Your admin spends many hours each week following up with customers on their bill. It usually takes weeks to finally connect and settle an invoice.
You still have to cover expenses for supplies and labor while you’re waiting for payment. Not to mention that you can’t predict when your money will arrive. In some unfortunate situations, you won’t get paid for a job at all.
E-invoicing: Invoices are sent, received, paid, and inputted into the accounting system in far less time with electronic invoicing software. The process of receiving compensation is almost instant, requiring just a few quick clicks from your customer.
Here, you use your electronic invoicing system to request payment as soon a job is completed, which significantly reduces the chance of delayed payment. You send the invoice while the job is still on the customer’s mind. Then, you won’t have to bother them and take their attention away from something else in order to get paid.
E-invoicing allows your company to quickly close out a job and focus on future work. When payments are more timely, your cash flow improves. According to a study from Capgemini Consulting, companies who use digital processes are 26% more profitable than their competition.
Altogether, e-invoicing provides relief by requiring fewer steps and speeding up the payment process. In turn, you feel more secure and increase your chance of receiving complete payment in a timely manner.
Want to speed up the invoicing process even more? Check out our article on automated invoicing systems.
Paper: Customers pay by writing and mailing a check or reading a card to staff over the phone. This means you have to: 1) wait for the customer to mail the check and for the mail to arrive, or 2) have staff available to answer a call when the customer is ready to pay.
This oftentimes results in missed calls and voicemails, as it is hard to line up schedules. Additionally, customers don’t like being put on hold, which is sometimes a necessary move from your end.
Sometimes the customer has to inconveniently step out of work to make the phone call since it usually isn’t an option to get in touch with a staff member outside of traditional work hours. Alternatively, if the process doesn’t feel convenient, the customer won’t call and pay on time. In the worst-case scenario, they won’t pay at all.
E-invoicing: Electronic invoicing allows the customer to pay anytime anywhere. Customers pay using an online portal that is emailed as soon as the job is done.
If your business uses payment gateway integrations, customers settle up using their debit or credit cards at their convenience. This can be after work, early in the morning, on the weekends, and even in the middle of the night. Your business likely isn’t open 24/7, but your payment portal is.
One excellent way to use electronic invoicing is to ask for payment on-site as soon as your technician finishes the job. In this case, it takes mere seconds to get paid!
Using mobile payment processing, such as Stripe or SumUp, your technician takes their credit card information and signature, and the deal is sealed. Welcome to the world of receiving compensation the same day your technician completes a job.
Say goodbye to reaching out to customers time and time again to get them to do their job and pay. Be done with phone tag and waiting for schedules to line up to receive card information over the phone.
As a result, your staff spends less time keeping track of and reaching out to customers, and more time on high-value tasks.
Paper: Once you finally receive an invoice, your staff manually reenters payment data from a paper invoice into the accounting system. Then, staff makes copies of the invoice and puts it in the filing cabinet. Misfilings happen and retrieving documents quickly can be a struggle.
Your team spends time maintaining the organization of the filing system by sorting and categorizing papers. When the filing cabinet reaches its capacity, it becomes necessary to buy a new one, which chips away at your budget and takes up even more office space.
Storage becomes a major cost as “each four-drawer file cabinet takes up to 9 square feet of floor space and costs $1,500 per year”, according to recordnations.com.
Manually-processed invoices cost, on average, $30 per invoice to process, according to a Sterling Commerce study.
You have the advantage of using software to send the payment statement. Next, your customer accepts electronically, and the data automatically enters your accounting system. This eliminates the time and cost of having employees doing sending and recording invoice data manually.
Using e-invoicing means your company doesn’t need nearly as much office space to store files. Your budget will thank you when you spend less money on paper, files, and cabinets.
Moreso, you can easily search for invoices using a cloud-based system. The accumulation of invoices becomes more manageable and organized, requiring less organization effort since the software does that for you.
Your work management software’s CRM holds each invoice against the customer’s account. For your convenience, electronic invoicing software allows you to work from one place, with invoicing and customer info all on your software.
Paper: Credit card numbers misheard over the phone, endless phone tag, checks lost in the mail, struggling to read handwriting, lost invoices in a stack of office papers, financial information recorded wrong – sound familiar? These things are unfortunately part of the routine with paper invoicing.
Relying on handwriting leaves room for customers to experience difficulty reading the invoice information. This means they have to get in touch to actually understand the amount due. Or, even worse, they pay the wrong amount.
Admin may also struggle with reading and entering the right data. Staff may enter in data incorrectly since they are required to manually apply taxes and perform calculations.
From the initial quote to the final invoice, papers can get lost. Not knowing the quoting amount puts you at a disadvantage and leads to disputes with your clientele.
Here are some additional hurdles:
- Without having a single, organized system, there is more room to create duplicate invoices.
- It takes over $50 to rectify an error in the invoicing process, according to Sterling Commerce’s study.
E-invoicing: Everything is saved on a cloud-based system with electronic invoicing software. Never forget to deliver an invoice again – your job management system keeps track of whether you’ve sent the final bill.
Also for your convenience, the software shows the quoted amount when you go to raise a final invoice for a client. The data is accurate and reliable because software takes care of applying tax rates and adding up various sub-payments.
The e-invoice clearly communicates payment information and stores the document digitally in a customer account.
With fewer steps, there are fewer places to make errors. With electronic invoicing, there is less confusion and fewer duplicate versions made.
Increasing accuracy with invoices gives you a higher return on the time and money you spend on the invoicing process. We promise that you won’t miss those customer service calls resolving disputes.
Paper: Payment through the mail is dangerous as there’s the possibility of a check getting lost or stolen in transit.
To add on to that, it often feels uncomfortable sharing card information with another person. It’s not good practice if the company writes customers’ financial information on paper since paper documents can become misplaced or fall in the hands of the wrong person.
E-invoicing: Accept a secure payment straight away using a credit card integration with your work management software. The customer pays on their phone, computer, or tablet by clicking on an online payment portal link. Then, your job management software automatically stores data for easy reference and retrieval.
Electronic invoicing is known as a more secure way to receive payment than accepting payment through the phone or mail. The customer feels more secure with the fact that they don’t have to involve another human with their credit card information or account number.
Paper: With paper invoicing, there is more room for confusion, which is exhausting and takes a toll on the customer/company relationship.
Here are some ways that this type of invoicing can put a strain on the relationship:
- The invoice is less organized and clear, so there is less understanding about where the price came from. This can cause disputes.
- If there are errors, a customer may reject and invoice.
- Late payments cause friction.
E-invoicing: Clear expectations and customer convenience sum it up. E-invoicing makes things simpler for everyone.
With e-invoicing, you experience:
- More organized and user-friendly documents.
- A clear breakdown of how total payment was calculated.
- Customer satisfaction because they can pay in a simple, efficient way that respects their time.
- Providing a personalized experience without having to put a ton of time in.
Paper: The company’s invoice process consumes paper, envelopes, ink cartridges, postage, and uses energy to transport mail for each invoice sent.
According to Two Sides:
“The production, delivery, and disposal of a newspaper is said to generate about 0.49 lbs of CO2. If you subscribe to a daily paper that works out to be 147 lbs of CO2 each year – roughly the equivalent of driving 186 miles.”
That’s just for a newspaper. If you’re heavily relying on paper for your business, the carbon footprint is bound to be much higher.
The environmental impact of disposing paper shouldn’t be ignored. According to Environmental Professionals Network:
“Paper makes up 26% of landfills. Degradation produces methane, a greenhouse gas with 23 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide.”
Recycling paper helps reduce your carbon footprint. However, since invoices contain sensitive financial information, some companies choose to shred these materials. Unfortunately, shredded paper cannot be recycled in most cities.
E-invoicing: The need for paper is virtually eliminated. You don’t need to use environmental resources such as paper and gas to produce and ship documents.
According to the Federation of Finnish Financial Services:
“The carbon footprint of a single electronic invoice can be as small as 150 grams, whereas for a paper invoice the same figure is 450 grams.”
Additionally, you can promote on your website that you’re sustainable and environmentally conscious.
Takeaway on electronic invoicing
In conclusion, going paperless with invoicing reduces costs, minimizes errors, and helps your professional image.
Commusoft provides e-invoicing software that does everything mentioned in this article. On top of invoicing software, Commusoft has a number of other helpful features that boost business. You will have a more efficient process and save time and money by making the choice to use our product.