A frequent challenge of running a business is to have the ability to keep track of income and expenses. This leads to in recent years businesses would start utilizing software to improve the efficiency of this process. A great example is the Xero software, which is designed for accounting/bookkeeping purposes. Xero can speed up a lot of processes in billing where it provides the ability to create quotes, quickly convert a quote into an invoice, enable invoices to be created and sent on a phone, offer a pay now button for customers to quickly pay through credit cards or debit cards, enable customization of invoice templates with own logos, and more.
The advantages of using Xero for invoicing:
With Xero, you can let customers pay with credit cards, debit cards, or the online payment methods (such as PayPal) that are supported by the software.
It can easily create a professional looking document showing the details of the products/services that are to be paid for by the customers. This invoicing document can include your business logo and the template can be customized.
It makes it much easier to keep your receivable balance always up-to-date.
You can make Xero performs the accounting work in the background after assigning an account that you want to track its income when you create the invoice.
What details should be included in an invoice?
An invoice should include the supplier, buyer, and the products/services that were exchanged in the purchase. It should have a unique invoice number, company name, address, contact information (emails and phone number), customer name, customer address, contact information (emails and phone number), short description or name of the products/services that have been delivered, cost of products/services, due date of the payment, etc.
When is usually the best time to send an invoice to your customers?
It depends. Usually it is best to send your invoice as soon as an order is filled or the work is done for your customer from your side (should it be a service). This applies to services in those one-off projects.
But when you are working on a project of larger scale, you may have to consider sending invoices in fixed intervals (i.e. once every two weeks, once every month, etc).
You can send customers an invoice in one of the three ways:
In the post - Post may be a good way for customers/businesses that do not highly rely on emailed invoices. However, it is much more hand-on practical work that has to be done for preparation when it is compared to other methods. Also, post does not reach your customers right away, and occasionally there is a slight chance a specific invoice may be lost in a post.
By email - Emails are certainly an upgrade to post, and is easier to get the invoices through to your customers. Technically, invoices that are sent through emails cannot really get lost. Also, invoices that are sent through emails are permanent records.
Online invoicing – Basically in Xero you can create a secure link for your customer to click through to his/her invoice. Your customer gets the choice to pay with credit/debit cards or other online payment methods (such as PayPal). This is a good approach to get customers to pay as soon as the invoice is due.