While perusing one of my bookmarked small business forums recently, I stumbled upon a post from a small construction company that was looking for a better way to manage their invoicing requirements. The post explained how currently, after a job, they type up each invoice in a word processing program and send them out manually. And how do they track which payments they’ve collected and which are still outstanding? We do this by memory.
The company is seeking advice because they’re experiencing growth and want to find a better invoicing solution that can grow with them. I give them props for realizing this need before it presents a problem, and thus want to offer my opinion as to why they should transition from their current methods to an electronic invoicing and billing solution in the cloud. After all, I’m sure they’d do the same for me if I was looking for advice on which way to point a nail gun.
(If you’ve heard the term “cloud” tossed around a lot, it’s really just a creative term for web-based hosting of information, which is then accessible from anywhere.)
Here’s why invoicing and billing works better in the cloud:
1. It’s secure
One of the biggest advantages of cloud-based billing and electronic invoicing solutions is the security they can offer. By storing sensitive customer information with a third-party provider, you don’t have to exhaust as many resources building and managing your local database security (or worrying about information sitting on your desk or in filling cabinets). Make sure the solution you choose is PCI compliant and your business, in turn, can reap the benefits of their security investments.
2. It’s all in one place
Some cloud-based billing solutions offer more than just the ability to quickly invoice your customers. You can also collect electronic payments (credit cards, echecks, etc.), manage your customer list, set up payment plans or recurring payment schedules, and host online payment forms. The most robust solutions also allow you to run reports on your receivables activity, which helps you keep tabs on your cash flow.
3. It’s accessible
Instead of passing around a spreadsheet or, even worse, sharing a filing cabinet, you can set up multiple user accounts for whoever needs access to your solution. With PaySimple, you can even assign different levels of clearance to the users so only certain information is accessible. In addition, cloud-based solutions that offer a mobile app allow you to access all your billing information and even run payments from anywhere with a wireless connection.
4. It grows with your business
Unlike some endless customer file that gets harder and harder to navigate as it grows, most online solutions allow you to keep all of your information nice and tidy. You can also search for specific customer information, instead of sift through documents. If you’re like the construction company and expecting growth, find a billing and invoicing solution that allows you to upload unlimited customer information and send unlimited invoices. You don’t want to transition your invoicing to a new system only to require another transition next year.
5. It’s cost effective
I know what you may be thinking: These benefits are nice, but why should I pay for a solution when my invoicing and billing process now, although a little clunky, is free? Is it, though? On top of the paper and stamp costs that add up, inefficient receivables management costs your company valuable time, as well. Think about how much time you spend chasing payments or scratching your head over who owes what, and compare that to a flat software fee that does it for you. Only if you spend less than a couple of hours a month on your receivables would it be more cost effective to maintain the status quo. Otherwise, a cloud-base solution could save you significant amounts of time (and time equals money).
Hopefully, these reasons for taking your invoicing and billing to the cloud are enough for you to consider the option. Even if the system you’re using now is working well, it’s worth examining its scalability should your business grow (which most hope to do). For more information on PaySimple’s online solution, click here to explore our features.