Running a business is no easy task. It is, in fact, one of the most difficult things a person can do. According to Forbes, nine out of ten startup businesses fail.
As a small business owner, you need to get all the help you can. This should also include making your billing system easier to deal with. Below are three tips you can use to turn billing into an automated system.
1. Choose the Right Software
Obviously, to automate your billing system, you are going to need the appropriate software. If you run an online store, investigate how different shopping cart software suites can integrate with payment processors and accounting. Everything needs to be interconnected to run smoothly. When a customer purchases a product, your books should be automatically updated. If not, you could find yourself in deep trouble when the numbers don’t add up.
Overall, it may be best to choose all software from the same vendor so the different programs have the ability to work together as smoothly as possible. The same can certainly be said for the elements of a POS system that is used in a brick and mortar retailer.
2. Force Payment to Be Processed Immediately
If you really want an efficient automated system, you may want to forgo delayed payment all together. Instead, only give products and services after payment has been processed. This way, your accounting will always be accurate. This can be the case both on a website and in a physical store during a check out procedure.
You may want to take this a step even further and refuse payment in the form of written checks. However, this does not mean you will be completely ignoring payment from checking accounts. Debit cards work the same as checks. They draw out funds from a checking account with much less work. Better yet, the debit account has the ability, unlike a paper check, to detect whether or not there are sufficient funds in the checking account. This way, you will never have to deal with the hassle of a bounced check. As told by CNN Money, the only ones who benefit from bounced checks are banks.
3. If Payment Isn’t Immediate, Be Strategic About It
In certain cases, some businesses may want to give their customers the ability to pay at a later date. While this isn’t as efficient, it is traditionally accepted in many industries especially when the product provided is service based. If that is the case, you need to take extra steps if you want to automate the process.
Automating billing in this context requires automatically producing an invoice for customers that includes the services rendered and all fees related to that service. To insure prompt payment, you must clearly instruct the customer on the invoice how to pay. All forms of contact information like phone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc. should be included so the customer knows how to contact you. Beyond that, you should give the incentive for prompt payment by explaining on the invoice what will happen if the bill is not paid on time. If they know they will receive extra fees, they are likely to pay more quickly.