In a Wall Street Journal survey conducted this year, 64 percent of small businesses reported having unpaid invoices over 60 days old and 20 percent say the problem of delinquent receivables is getting worse.
What’s a small business owner to do? One of the secrets to getting paid on time is to make it as easy as possible for your clients to pay you. Here are a few ways you can streamline your invoicing process and get paid sooner:
Provide all the information your clients could possibly need to pay you.
Every invoice template includes a place for the date, billing address, invoice number, etc. Be aware of what additional information your client may need. They very well could require a tax ID, purchase or work order number, contract number, or an account number. Coming back to you for this information can delay their payment.
Find out from new clients precisely which pieces of information they need from you in order to pay you, and attach all of it with the invoice. This may mean you attach a contract, statement of work, and other documents outlining the work you’ve done and the agreement you’ve made for payment. It can also be helpful to have signed these documents, so if there’s any question, the accounts payable department knows who to contact.
Send your invoice right away.
Don’t wait until the end of the month to send out invoices. If possible, invoice each client once the work or project is complete.
Use the Web.
I’m only somewhat referring to sending a PDF of your invoice via email. If you’re not already emailing invoices (or at least providing the option to customers) you may want to consider it. Also be aware that you can automate (to some extent) your billing system with online software.
You may also want to provide online payment options to your clients. Check out Amazon Payments, PayPal and Intuit online payment options. These systems are easy to use and make it convenient for your clients to pay on time.
Use a payroll service.
If your invoicing needs are a bit complex (and therefore can’t be handled by a piece of software), a payroll service can take a lot of the load and ensure your invoices are sent out promptly (and with all the information your clients require). It can also keep track of late payments and any resulting fees.
We’d love to answer your questions. For more information on accounting, taxes, payroll, bookkeeping, and human resource management for small businesses, leave us a comment or find us at http://www.qualitypayroll.net/html/services.html.