You often wear more than one hat in small businesses, especially in single-person operations. Instead of focusing entirely on one job, you must split your time between multiple positions. Billing management takes time away from other income-producing activities and can be time-consuming. An automated billing system streamlines the entire process from the initial invoice to when your clients make their final payment, saving you time.
The Top Advantages Of Billing Automation
There are many advantages to accounting billing software over the traditional paper file method. Overall, automated software for billing:
- Reduces Expenses: There’s a reason big companies use automated billing systems. They can quit paying people for minutia and focus them on income-generating activities. A live person is only necessary when the bill goes unpaid.
- Reduces Errors: An invoice management system minimizes the possibility of human error. We’ve all been there. We can get a little punchy after working long hours during tax season, especially when you’re catching up on business admin after tax preparations all day. Letting the computer handle billing means you won’t misspell names or switch numbers when tired or distracted. The increased accuracy makes your business seem more professional, which will help you get referrals and repeat business.
- Saves Time: Automated billing saves you from producing individual invoices after every job. Most invoices will have a similar layout with only a few details changed for each client. Automated billing takes information from the file and updates a blank invoice with their mailing address, services rendered, and the cost. Consistency makes it look professional.Note: Invoice design also affects how your business is perceived. Make it look organized and clean without overloading the page with logos and non-essentials.
- Faster Payments: Automation means the bill goes out immediately after you complete the job. You or your bookkeeper can’t get behind, or it doesn’t get lost by falling behind a desk. Online payment systems allow you to have your money in hours rather than days.
Automatic Payment Reminders Save Time And Lower AR
It’s easy for customers to lose or forget to pay their bills. Life is hectic for all of us, and the bill can get shuffled in with other paperwork, lost in the mail, or deleted by mistake. Your accounts receivable list grows, and you must spend time chasing overdue invoices. If you’re making phone calls, clients may not feel comfortable giving their credit card information over the phone.
Digital reminders, however, can give your clients two or three chances to pay their bills online before the due date. You can program to send out the original invoice, a reminder a couple of days before the bill is due, and another on the due date. There are past due and final warning notices if they don’t pay on time. Most of your clients will click on one of the reminders and pay while thinking about it rather than wait till the due date.
A Payment Portal Is More Secure
A client payment portal allows customers to update their information, make and change passwords, check their balance, make a payment, update payment information for pre-authorized payments, and manage subscriptions. Credit card payments are more secure, and credit card numbers are encrypted, preventing unauthorized access to clients’ financial data. It provides more security for the customer and removes any risk if you have a break-in at your office.
An added benefit of automated billing software is the reports. Reconciling the books monthly and handling your own taxes every quarter or year will be much easier. It helps you track your profitability, find inefficient processes that cost you money, and eliminate the task of entering all that data by hand.
Billing Systems Are Part Of Client Management Software For Accountants
The first step is finding the right platform and software for your business. Analyze your billing procedures to create a streamlined process a computer can follow. Typically, management software for accountants or tax professionals will have an integrated, easy-to-use, automated billing system. Find a system that can handle your business-specific criteria. Here are some questions to consider to get you started:
- Do you charge by the hour or offer a monthly plan?
- Does it have a system for logging hours or services rendered
- Can the software scale up as you grow your business?
- Will it integrate with existing software or provide a better option for that software?
- Does it have a free trial or testing period?
- Is it easy to navigate and have an intuitive design?
- Does it offer free training that is easy to understand?
- Can you customize it to fit your business needs?
- Do they charge you more for services that should be part of the software?
An upgrade to your billing system will save you time, money, and effort while making the billing process safer and more convenient for the customer. Finding excellent automated billing software as part of an overall accountant practice management system will also help you scale up as you grow your business. Read more tips for finding the right software for your business here.