A successful, solid sales process is crucial for small businesses. But seeing your cashflow through to completion is just as important. To achieve this, it’s vital that you have a strong invoicing process and an accounting system that’s intuitive, easy to use and complements your sales process.
Enter cloud accounting software. Traditionally, small business accounting is challenging, frustrating and time-consuming. Working in the cloud lets businesses work faster, more efficiently and more productively. Not only does it give you a better overview of your sales process and invoicing, it improves collaboration and saves hours of precious time.
Invoicing tips to help streamline your sales and accounting processes
- Send an invoice as soon as a sale is completed. This ensures the sale is not forgotten and payment is less likely to be delayed.
- Make sure your invoicing process is smooth and efficient, at the customer and business end. That way, the experience is easier for both parties and less likely to be delayed.
- Keep accurate records of your work – your accounting software will help you with this. That means keeping track of all that’s billable – the service, product, time and materials expended on a client’s project.
- Decide which payment methods you will accept. While some payment methods mean extra cost for your business, it’s important to consider how your customers will want to pay you. After all, the easier it is for them to pay, the faster they’re likely to do so.
- Once invoices have been issued, keep track of which customers have paid and those who haven’t. This information should be readily available in your accounting software. When it comes to late payers, polite, regular reminders are essential.
- Give people the option to pay instantly and easily. If the payment process looks hard, people often decide to ‘do it later’ and forget. But something as simple as a ‘pay now’ button on an e-invoice can make all the difference with customers paying straight away.
- Include all the necessary information on your invoice the first time you send it – that will save any unnecessary confusion and back and forth between parties. Using an invoice template will help make sure you always get it right the first time.
See these points explained in more detail, plus a list of 10 things you should include on your invoice here: How to streamline your invoicing process
How does cloud accounting software fit into the sales process?
Cloud accounting software will help you round off your sales process smoothly. It will support you to create invoices that are easily tracked at your end, and make it easy for the customer to pay.
Getting paid is an extremely important part of the sales process – let’s face it, getting paid is the reason sales exists! Cloud accounting software will help you streamline your sales and invoicing process.
For starters, you can send an invoice as soon as job is completed or goods have been sent – all you need is a device with an internet connection. Good accounting software will have invoicing templates that you can customize as much as you like.
What’s more, your accounting system will automatically track what stage an invoice is at – when it’s been opened, payments, returns and credits. Customers can even pay online, via the invoice. All this information is recorded so you can see at a glance any overdue invoices and who owes you the most money.
Because cloud software runs online, it can connect with a range of other apps you use as part of your sales process – enter add-on software.
Cloud applications integrate with hundreds of other solutions that help you manage all aspects of your sales process. You can tailor your own cloud package that includes invoicing software and more – CRM, point of sale, inventory management and more.
When all your apps are speaking to one another there’s less data entry, less chance of mistakes being made and all you can easily track your sales process right up to the point where you get paid.
Cloud accounting facilitates better collaboration between employees. When you can authorise your data to be shared, it’s easy for sales staff to check out past customers to see who they should be reaching out to for recurring sales or new products. Staff will also be able to track your best customers by either frequency or amount and create the best persona to qualify leads.
Online accounting also makes it easy to collaborate with your accountant. Because information stored in the cloud can be accessed at any time, from anywhere, it’s easy to share and discuss financial data. What’s more, you can grant various levels of access to as many users as you want, without having to pay extra. This puts your accountant in a great position to give you the best possible financial advice.
Xero is online accounting software for small businesses. It is designed to save time and money, take the pain out of accounting, and make it easy to collaborate with accountants and financial advisors. Because Xero lives in the cloud, it hosts real-time data that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, from any device with an internet connection. Xero is loved by people all over the world, and is credited with revolutionizing the way small businesses run.