By Peggy Emch

For a small business, one of the most important things you do each month is compile invoices to bill your customers. After all, with no payments, you would have to shut down and, without adequate payments, you probably won’t grow. So let’s make sure that you are getting the most out of your billing and bringing in exactly what you deserve from your clients.

You want your billing to be accurate yet easy and efficient. If it’s not easy, you might sacrifice accuracy so that you don’t have to stay at the office late or miss important work that you could be doing if you weren’t tied up with invoices. I am going to share with you some strategies to help you get paid on time and to make the whole billing process a lot easier.

How to Ensure Quick Payment

Sometimes invoices aren’t paid because clients don’t have the money to pay them. Sometimes it’s because they are swamped and can’t get to the bill in a timely manner. But a lot of the time the problem is that the invoice they receive and the payment options they have just aren’t satisfactory. The following are some of the things you want to pay attention to with regard to your billing.

  • Accuracy – Report your client’s information accurately.  Accuracy helps ensure that client payments are paid in full. If the client does not agree with the charges, they may only make a partial payment.
  • Consistency – A structured approach to consistency in billing helps your clients feel comfortable with the bill they receive. If your rates are wishy-washy or you hand out random discounts, your clients may not feel that your billing is fair.
  • Payment Options – Giving your customers many payment options can make a big difference in the speed with which you are paid. If you only allow mailed payments made by check, then you might have to wait for your client to find his checkbook and buy stamps. Offer an address where payments can be dropped off and offer an online payment system like WePay or PayPal.
  • Clarity – Don’t make your clients hunt for the data that they need to verify the accuracy of your bill. If you provide everything they need, you will be paid much quicker.

Things to Include On the Bill

The bill needs to be complete with all the information relating to the transaction. Be sure to include:

  • Client and company information
  • The due date and date of the invoice
  • Amount due
  • A description of goods or services with optional additions:
    • Which employees did the work
    • The bill rate for those employees
    • Employee work notes

Achieving Efficient Billing

These days, the best way to keep track of data is with an online invoicing tool. You should have your employees all tracking their projects with a real-time timesheet which allows for supervisor approvals and administrator invoicing. This improves work flow by giving everyone their own specific billing duties. The improved efficiency reduces administrative costs and time.

Having the tools you need in place for your entire team, and being consistent in your billing process, will help you get paid on time, every time.