Every business needs to practice billing in one way or another. Electronic billing is almost always an improvement over traditional billing practices, but it’s still vulnerable to inefficiencies if you’re not careful.
Fortunately, there are many ways to actively improve your electronic billing processes, saving time, money, and headaches in the process.
The Benefits of Billing Improvements
These are some of the long-term goals of electronic billing improvements:
- Faster payments. Better electronic billing will almost always lead to faster payments. You’ll collect your revenue faster, which means you’ll benefit from more positive cash flow, and your business will thrive.
- Less time spent. With better electronic billing systems in place, you’ll have to spend fewer hours on these manual administrative tasks. Your best accounting team members can focus on more important priorities, and you won’t have to make additional hires when the business expands.
- Happier customers. Good electronic billing processes can also lead to happier customers. When your customers receive bills cleanly, clearly, and consistently, they’ll be more satisfied with the process – and more likely to pay you on time as well.
How to Improve Your Electronic Billing
These are some of the best strategies:
- Use the right software. Much of your electronic billing strategy can be improved with one simple step: upgrading to better electronic billing software. The right software will be streamlined and intuitive, so it’s easy for you and your employees to use. Ideally, it will also integrate into other areas of your business management, saving time and increasing billing accuracy. For example, with a platform like WonderDoc, you’ll get access to EHR, billing, and project management features, all in one central location. You can easily bill your clients because all the information is immediately available to you.
- Rely on templates. Most modern electronic billing software allows for the use of templates, or offers templates of its own. Take advantage of this feature to save time when creating new invoices – and to improve consistency between different clients and different steps of the billing cycle.
- Keep everything simple. Don’t overcomplicate your billing processes. The simpler everything is, and the fewer steps your employees have to follow, the less prone you’ll be to errors. It’s important to periodically review the steps of your billing process and cut out anything that’s unnecessary.
- Automate everything you can. Automation is one of the best software features you can find. Through automation, you’ll eliminate manual steps of the billing process, improving consistency and accuracy while freeing up time for your accountants to use on more important matters.
- Personalize and humanize when possible. While much of your electronic billing system will be automated and template-based, it’s still important to humanize the process as much as possible for your clients. That could mean personalizing your invoices or simply reaching out and having a short conversation occasionally.
- Offer plenty of payment options. Clients prefer having lots of payment options. That way, they can choose the payment approach that works best for them. For starters, you’ll want to accept many different types of payment. For large purchases, consider offering a payment plan to make it easier or more affordable.
- Keep detailed records. On the back end, make sure you keep detailed records on all your invoices and incoming payments. The right software should make this simple; you should be able to tie all your invoices to your products and inventory. You should also be able to report on your billing often – and get alerts for late payments.
- Give incentives for fast payments. The faster you get paid, the better your cash flow will be; it’s important to get revenue as soon as you can to keep your business financially healthy. Consider incentivizing fast payments with discounts or other rewards for your clients – your clients will enjoy it as well.
- Charge interest on late payments. It’s common practice to charge interest to clients who don’t pay their bills on time. As for what interest rate to charge and when to start compounding, that’s up to you. Keep it reasonable to avoid conflicts but be consistent to ensure you’re not taken advantage of.
- Follow up. If and when you encounter clients who miss payments, make sure to set automatic alerts to follow up. Sometimes, a quick message is all it takes to resolve the situation.
Electronic billing improvements aren’t going to drastically change your business overnight, but they can help make your organization more efficient – and eventually put it in better financial standing.
Make the adjustments you can, when you can, and soon, you’ll notice a major difference in your productivity, cash flow, and even your customers’ attitudes.