There are tons of responsibilities that come along with running a successful business. One of those is sending invoices to customers for products or services rendered. But, if you’re finding your invoices are being sent but not responded to and you are not getting paid, you need to figure things out… and quick. Without money coming in to pay your own bills, your business probably won’t be in business for long.
Generating and sending invoices can be a time-consuming process. And, because of its importance to your livelihood, it’s not a process that should be skipped or ignored. A properly designed invoice helps a business get paid and provides legal protection for all involved. From receiving payments, to proper income reporting, to answering to an audit, the invoice is one of the most important documents you will produce. And, for most businesses, it is a document that gets created multiple times per day.
What Is An Invoice?
When a business wants to get paid for goods or services, it creates an invoice. An invoice is a document that chronicles the financial aspects of a business transaction. An invoice contains the name and contact information of the buyer and the seller, a description of the services or goods rendered, the cost per item, and the total amount due. Invoices traditionally also contain a payment due date, an invoice number, and a favored method of payment.
Invoices help a company in getting paid in full and getting paid on time. It can be problematic to get paid without a proper invoice. Businesses normally require receipt of a detailed invoice before distributing payments. Payment terms can help a business obtain receivables in a speedy fashion. For instance, a company may say that payment is due upon receipt, within 30 days of receipt, or 60 days receipt. Some invoices go as far as 90 days, although that is rare and very few go further than that. As an added incentive, some invoices will demand a late fee or even state the withholding of goods or services should the recipient fail to meet a dedicated timeframe.
Why Are Invoices Important?
Invoices offer evidence that products and services are distributed and establish a company’s right to payment. In the event that a customer doesn’t meet payment demands, a business can use contracts and invoices to legally validate to a court of law that it’s owed payment for goods or services rendered. Similarly, the company can retain copies of invoices and amounts paid to contractors and vendors to establish that it completed its contractual obligation for payment.
Even if you ensure everything is done correctly, there’s always a possibility your business could be audited by the IRS. During an audit, the IRS wants to make sure that you’ve properly reported all income you received during the year. If you have an organized system of sequentially numbered invoices, the IRS has more cause to believe that you’ve reported income fully and correctly. If invoices are erratic or nonexistent, the burden of proof falls on you to show that you aren’t hiding any income.
Should I Outsource My Invoices?
Whether or not you should outsource your invoicing process to a printing and mailing service is up to you. However, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of doing so. Even if you are one to “micromanage” or have your hand in all aspects of your business, you can still have a level of oversight when outsourcing this process.
Consider the following:
Benefits Of Invoice Outsourcing
Get Paid On Time – One of the primary, and most apparent, reasons complete invoices are crucial is to get paid on time. If you have a large number of customers, you’ll naturally have more invoices to deliver to them. The more invoices you have to deliver, the more time it takes to create them.
Of course, your business might possess an automated invoice system that does much of the work for you in place of a person. But even if you do, the information in your invoicing system still needs to be accurate. The more invoices with missing information or errors, the longer it will take for you to get paid.
Furthermore, customers may not know where or how to send payments to your business. The invoice amounts might be incorrect. Or, there could be other errors or misinformation.
It doesn’t matter why the incorrect invoices were generated because the consequences are the same: you’ll get slower payments for your business.
Reduce Billing Questions – There are other purposes why complete invoices are vital. The more optimized your billing practices are, the fewer questions your customers will have about their bills. This level of communication will proactively deal with many of your possible problems.
As stated above, incomplete information can stop customers from reaching you. They might sincerely want to pay their bills on time but be unable to do so.
If your invoices are inadequate or incomplete, your customers may not be able to have their questions answered. This can cause delayed payments or no payments at all – and at no fault of your customers
Nevertheless, even if your clients are able to contact you, it takes additional time to correct billing errors. If your invoices were accurate at the start of the invoicing process, you are able to spend your time more productively.
When you outsource your invoicing to a printing and mailing service, you will find that your billing questions will be greatly reduced and even eliminated.
Eliminate Tracking Problems – If you find your process includes invoices without numbers and should an error occur, you will be hard pressed to correct it. Whether you file them electronically or by paper, these situations can create tracking nightmares.
Common situations could be that you end up with invoices from one customer being added onto the monthly statement of another. Or, when you try to credit one invoice it shows up on the statement of a completely different customer. These types of errors don’t have to happen. Creating complete invoices ensures that the right customers get billed for the right products or services.
When a professional printing and mailing service handles this process, your invoices will be numbered, trackable, and virtually error-free.
Stop Problems from Repeating – Many companies set up recurring billing for customers who have repetitive products or services. This is a way to increase efficiency with your work processes and remove the need for manual labor.
If this is the case, accurate invoices are important because those that are inaccurate may get regenerated. Consequently, any wrong or missing information could repeat each billing cycle.
A professional printing and mailing service are the experts when it comes to automatic invoicing. The proper services will have processes, procedures, and safeguards in place to ensure that your automatic invoicing is impactful and error free.
Increase staff productivity – You and your staff have better things to do than spend your time bogged down in paperwork. It is doubtful that you started your business so you could spend your time in front of the computer screen working on invoices. Not to mention printing them out, stuffing envelopes, licking stamps, and – well, you get the picture.
When you let the pros handle your invoicing, you can spend your time driving revenue, handling customer concerns, and training your employees. You can even consider taking a much-needed vacation!
Reduce Costs – Lastly, the cost reduction of having a professional printing and mailing service handle your invoicing is dramatic. The ability to buy all consumables in bulk and pass the savings on to you is worth it by itself. Tack on the cost of the equipment involved, the staffing, and more, and you have created revenue by hiring a print and mail service provider. Although it sounds counterintuitive, a printing and mailing service will save you time, money, and effort across nearly all avenues of your business.
Of course, when you have a business to run there are lots of other responsibilities. However, having a professional printing and mailing service handle your invoices is vital to any business’s and will save you time in the long run.
Towne Mailer prides itself on being the leader in the printing and mailing industry. We understand the needs of the small business and have accurately and honorably represented businesses in nearly every industry.
With nearly 20 years’ experience in the printing and mailing industry, we know what you require when it comes to invoicing. Your customers expect clear and concise communication that leaves no room for misunderstandings. With our procedures, your team will be able to focus on the core areas of the business. Your customers, on the other hand, will receive invoices that encourage proper payment and erase any doubts about when and what is due.
We look forward to being a part of your growth. We have the capabilities to grow with you and branch out into other areas of communication. We’ve been doing this a long time and welcome the opportunity to show you how we can help.
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