If you’re a small business you want to have your invoicing and estimates operating in a slick and effective manner, if you don’t it will affect your cash flow and ultimately impact your bottom line. If you don’t manage the process well when you finish your project you’ll have to re-key in the information, reconcile with your bank accounts, the whole process can take too long, people fall behind and then your business suffers. There are also a myriad of problems using paper based solutions, specifically around data entry errors and loss of documents resulting in compliance breaches. How and ever not all is lost here are 3 ways to improve your estimate & invoice process for quicker payment, and increase cash flow.
1 Be very clear about estimates for customers
It’s important in a business to focus on relationships, especially for a small business you tend to be the person calling to get the job, do the job and chase them for money. The issue is you don’t want to sour that relationship over money details, as customer acquisition is expensive and if you’re running a consulting business you’ll be looking to get recurring revenue from every client, not to mention marketing through word of mouth. The best way to avoid this is to keep clear of surprises, estimates are a great way to to be upfront and clear about what you’re going to bill for, this both saves you time and money not just finding out if the client is the right client, but that clarity transcends throughout the rest of the process.
- Use Estimates
- Agree Terms
- Be Clear
2 Use online invoicing and ditch paper
Moving your business to online invoicing makes sense on all levels. All online invoicing in Bullet is traceable meaning your not going to get the standard ‘oh I never got that’. You can also make it clear to the client that you know they’ve seen the invoice simply be clever and follow up with a ‘great I see you got that invoice, thanks for your custom again’, email. Bringing your payments online also makes your payment cycle much quicker which greatly improves your cash flow, reduces all your administration around banks reconciliations, lost paper trails. If you keep everything in the digital world, you can back it up, search for it, copy it and know that if you get audited it’s always accessible.
- Do your invoicing online
- Remove as much physical paper as possible
Quicken operations with automation
3 Reduce bottlenecks
With iPads and other tablets getting cheaper and cheaper having all your office application online means you can access them from anywhere including on-site. This means you can get rid of paper, clipboards and double entry. While you’re there with the client why not build their estimate there and then. That means the client gets your estimate while it’s fresh in their head, you’re next point of contact is to get approval speeding the whole process up.
- Create estimates on the fly
- Utilise mobile computing to speed up operations