If you have a problem or don’t enjoy doing something, chances are someone’s already come up with a solution or is working hard to do so. The truly great thing about technological solutions is that they’re getting more and more accessible and affordable by the day.
The way we do business has changed immensely and the wheel of innovation keeps on turning. It’s difficult to stay up to date with all the trends, but it’s more important to differentiate them from fads and not invest your time and resources into something that’s just a spur of the moment.
Invoicing, in one shape or another, has been a part of civilized society for an extremely long time. And, as things go with digitalization, people have thought out ways in order to improve the whole process. Online or e-invoicing was born and has shown great promise, or so it would seem, in regards to efficiency and time management. Still, there are things that should be considered before rushing to hop aboard the online invoicing bandwagon.
– It costs money
There are some free options available but they usually either have limitations or you just can’t be sure of the quality. In order to get the most out the transition, you should consider setting aside some money for it. If you have the budget for it – great. Just remember that those monthly expenses tend to add up to a sizeable amount and you need to make sure they don’t sneak up on you. However, if you can’t afford an online invoicing software, you’ll either be stuck with the free versions that have a lot of drawbacks or do everything yourself, which kind of misses the point of making the whole process significantly more efficient.
– It’s a security liability
Having important documents online always makes the potential damage you’ll suffer in case you get hacked even greater. Also, by using an online invoicing software, you will be sharing private and valuable information about your business with another company. Whether they’re using an encryption method or not is something that should definitely affect your decision about using their product.
– It’s not everyone’s preferred choice
Some of your clients may not be using the same approach and would prefer getting an already printed out version in the mail so that they could file it easier. You might have sent them the wrong format and they need to use a file converter, and if not, they still probably have to print out a hard copy. Furthermore, not everyone is comfortable conducting this type of business online. Some just might prefer the old ways and even if they do have proper accounts set up, they may not use them regularly.
– It opens up room for additional drawbacks
Just because everything is done in a few clicks of a button doesn’t necessarily make it more efficient. Sometimes your emails containing financial documents such as invoices are marked as spam and your client or customer may not even get to them. If you’re using invoicing software to send them out, this is even more likely to be the case.
– It’s more efficient (overall)
Another obvious benefit is efficiency, as online invoicing saves time and resources due to the partial automatization of the process. Of course, it’s a lot easier and quicker to just fill out information on a blank invoice template, rather than to design your own. By using a standardized form, you’re significantly reducing the chances of errors and mishaps. Some software solutions even have the options of saving the information of your recurring clients, which means you can send out your invoices at a much faster pace. Lastly, your clients receive them almost instantaneously which usually means quicker payouts as well.
– It gives you consistency
Consistency is key for optimizing the way your financial documents are organized. To access any of your files in order to get to relevant information, and to do so at the drop of a hat, you’ll need a good and stable system. The real benefit of consistency is that it plays a significant role in making you look tidy. Changing the structure of your invoices for each transaction is a problem for your clients as well, and they might be under the impression that you either don’t care or aren’t really sure what you’re doing.
– It makes you look more professional
Sending out financial documents is an opportunity to communicate a message about your company to those that matter most. Having well-designed invoices brings a dose of professionalism to your dealings and if they are particularly memorable, they can separate you from the pack.
– It’s more accessible
Invoices are useful documents in more ways than one. They’re a powerful marketing tool as they hold relevant information regarding your customer and client base, they provide you with a clear overview of your transactions and, of course, they’re invaluable allies come tax time. Having access to all of them at any given time is a true benefit. By simply using your home computer, tablet or phone means you’re no longer physically restricted to the office, and you can complete tasks that include these documents from the comforts of your home or even while you’re traveling.
Should You Make the Switch?
Considering everything mentioned up to this point, we can conclude that online invoicing has significant benefits but only under certain conditions, and sometimes includes additional drawbacks. However, the whole debate is not being done in a vacuum, and we need to take into account a question that is lurking in the background. What is more important, automatization or customer service? Answering this conundrum is a complexity in itself, but it shows that there’s more to meet the eye than a simple discussion and that it is not just a question of which is better, but also whether or not it is coherent with company values.
Bear in mind that this isn’t a categorically exclusive decision between doing invoicing offline and online. There is an entire array of middle-ground solutions. It’s up to you to make the final assessment because no one understands your business processes better. Consider your resources and needs, do the math and remember to take into account your clients preferences.
AuthorBio: Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus – a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.