Editor´s note: This is a guest post by Mark, a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus. 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.
You may not be the kind of person who is a natural-born organizer, but if you run a business, maybe it‘s high time you got your business and work space organized. Keep in mind that only organized business is productive. Most of the business owners and managers consider paperwork one of the least popular activities since it takes a lot of time, and balancing receivables or payables can cause a severe headache! That‘s why invoices are necessary for small businesses, since they catalogue and keep track of the services and goods rendered to customers, and let businesses know what was purchased from what vendors. This constant influx of outgoing and ingoing invoices must be organized, both for the sake of accounting books and the very business. There are numerous methods for keeping your invoices organized, but regardless of the method you choose, you’ll find your company’s accounting a little easier to manage. Here are some tips and advices to help you get on the track and organize your paperwork!
Keep the process current and updated
There are standard data base programs and simple filing systems of alphabetized files that will do magic with invoice filing. The most important thing is to keep the process current and updated in order not to lose good information or money. Be constantly reminded that accuracy is the key factor of your filing system in order to save money!
- Make sure that name, address and information on the file and the invoice be correct. Edit errors (if there are any) and send the copy of invoice to the customer for payment or refund.
- The filing process should be conveyed daily – don‘t end up with backed up invoices and files, and avoid the mess when it comes to collections.
- Make sure that the funds for the invoice haven‘t been collected on and that they are kept secure and available for immediate collection.
- Good housekeeping for invoice filing must be a leading policy for all the people involved with this process. The correct attitude will help you avoid the invoices sitting around until they are not collectable any longer! Avoid losing thousands of dollars through sloppy filing and tracking.
- Accurate filing and immediate collection on the invoices will save the money, both yours and customers‘.
Keep files in chronological order
Keep a separate e-folder for each month and year. If you‘re old fashioned and you keep your paperwork in physical form, think how much ink and paper you waste, and, on the other hand, how little time it takes for so much stuff to handle electronically. It‘s of utmost importance to organize your paperwork regularly, but also to digitize where possible!
Organize invoices with spreadsheets
Spreadsheets turned out to be very useful in keeping invoices organized. It offers many organizational options – from arranging monthly invoices in one spreadsheet, to bi-weekly or random in another.
Organize invoices with invoice book
Have you considered using an electronic invoice book? Apart from keeping a hard copy of your invoices in a paper book, you can also upload each invoice to your computer and keep the records in the electronic book.
Use invoice software
Using invoice software will make you feel relaxed about any foul-ups in the math, but it won‘t hurt to make sure all the month add ups and all the decimal points be in the right place. You certainly don‘t want the uncharged tax to come up out of your pocket! Invoicing software will eliminate countless headaches and make your business life much easier, but keep in mind that you can‘t be 100% sure about no data entry errors!
With standard filing systems one can easily lose track with what‘s been paid and what accounts are still open. Filing cabinets can stack up in no time, and they‘re easily accessible by everyone. So, if you want your invoices to be filed properly and not to get lost along the way, you should take into consideration using invoice scanners to reduce these kinds of problems. Invoice scanners will make your business issues much easier, since they will allow accurate processing that takes little time. It also needs fewer human resources and enables faster payment to vendors. All these can significantly save your revenue – when invoices are digital, it‘s easy to search and retrieve them.
Another advantage is that invoices can be sent to customers instantly, reducing paper clutter and mailing costs. Integrating your ERP and AP, you will make your business able to sort the incoming invoices upon their arrival and you’ll have enough time to pay vendors promptly.
Use the cloud for storage and sharing
If you haven’t done so already, start using cloud-based tools to share and save documents and giving clients or colleagues access to collaborate. By housing files in the cloud, you can help clean up your personal storage, as well as save valuable time spent on emailing documents back and forth when collaborating with others.
Avoid the temptation to put invoicing off for another day! Instead, make invoicing regular in your business schedule and respect it. Set aside time once a week or once a month (depending on your business) to do invoicing and stick to the schedule without procrastination!
To conclude, accuracy, consistency and organization are 3 golden rules that will save your business revenue, time and hassle. If you have ever tried to track and file invoices that have sat around for months, you know what I‘m talking about. Avoid tinkering with the printer and queuing up at the post office. Time is money and there are so many ways to put your time into better use. Work smarter, more efficiently and save time! It is much easier to do the invoice job every day, then later to lose hours, days or even weeks of getting on the right track. Lost information leads to lost money, and lost money equals a badly ran business. But with our advices, make sure that these nightmares be somebody else’s, but definitely not yours!
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.