Face it; you’re probably not doing your invoicing as well as you could be. Without help from powerful financial accounting software, you’re most likely losing time, money and sleep.
In fact, Forrester research from 2010 suggests that 97 percent of the 1 billion invoices sent out each week are still processed manually! The same study estimates that paper invoices (again, from four years ago) costs companies between $20 and $60 per invoice. These steep costs include postage, processing, copies and paying someone to search for missing bills.
This is a big problem for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that — due to this lack of automation — lose opportunities, hours of work and critical resources. Financial accounting software helps SMBs to process their invoices, eliminating mistakes stemming from human error and providing opportunities for quality growth. Here are five ways that these tools help your company.
- It’s integrated with your other systems: Many companies use multiple interfaces to run their business. These platforms are constantly collecting data, which are used to create invoices. Other companies keep financial information on several spreadsheets. How much money is actually in the bank to pay the bills? Is there enough to make payroll? You need to know the answers to these questions without hesitation. Without software that ties the information in these programs (or spreadsheets) together — in other words, without real-time integration — companies must reduce themselves to manual data entry. This is dangerous because it increases the likelihood of errors, both at the individual and batch basis, and costs the company time and money.
- Improve accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP): For SMBs, accurate and timely AR is one of the most critical pieces of business to manage. Any company that’s unable to get its receivables out on time is going to experience serious cash flow issues. While it’s not OK to fail on AP (or anything, for that matter), a company could, in theory, survive without it. But businesses simply aren’t able to live without quality AR. So often, SMBs finance their business on credit cards and when receivables don’t come in on time, they fall to pieces.
- Prepare and send invoices with automated processes: Using several spreadsheets or systems to create invoices is time-consuming, at best. If your accountants have to update several documents for every transaction, they’ll spend far too much precious time juggling manual processes. Quality financial accounting software systems allow you to create one process and repeat it automatically.
- Shorten your invoice cycle time: The shorter the cycle time, the faster customers pay their bills. By using fully integrated sales order processes, invoicing has fewer steps and no manual efforts, dramatically speeding up cycle time. Longer invoicing cycles, on the other hand, cause confusion, accuracy issues and serious cash flow problems. Powerful financial accounting software eliminates these complications and allows SMBs to trust in the integrity of their bookkeeping. These tools make the entire company more efficient, increase profitability and result in improved customer satisfaction.
- More accurate reporting: Your company must rely on its finance department to provide actionable information for day-to-day operations and long-term direction. Without the ability to produce sophisticated reports, it’s impossible for a system to deliver sound, actionable information in real time. Quality financial accounting software includes integrated dashboards and reporting built into the program. As an added benefit, these cloud-based systems allow you to access reports and dashboards from anywhere, on any device and at any time.
For SMBs, it’s critical to manage invoicing in a way that improves efficiency, reduces errors and boosts profits. You need visibility into every corner of the business to make decisions, find a competitive edge and plan for the future.