The use of invoices forms a crucial part of every business operations. It is important to create a standard system of invoicing for your business, giving out an invoice ultimately means a transaction agreement has been made. The wrong use of invoices can also have a negative impact on your business; this is why it is important for the invoicing system to be monitored by a well-trained staff.

Invoicing can either be done manually or online. The online form of invoicing has been widely adopted for its efficiency and convenience. Whichever method of invoicing is in use in your business, costly mistakes could still be made.

The following mistakes are commonly experienced during invoicing transactions for small scale businesses:

1. Wrong information on the invoice
It is important to properly study the invoicing method you have chosen for your business. You will get better with constant practice too. It is easy to leave out relevant information that will facilitate your payment to be made when due. This happens when the important fields on the invoice like the mailing address or recipients name and other important details the client needs to make a payment have not been not correctly indicated on the invoice. The best way to avoid delays in payments is to ensure all the relevant information the client needs to make a payment are clearly indicated on the invoice. Unique billing software like Inv24 has easy to use features that will ensure this never happens.

2. Omitting important information on the invoice
As much as the invoice is a medium through which payment notifications are made to the clients, they should also contain guidelines and other information that will help the client plan their budget to accommodate the payments in a way that will benefit both parties.

Information like the payment due date, description of the service that was rendered and the penalties for late payments are important information that should be clearly indicated on an invoice.

If your company has specific terms and conditions that guide every service rendered, this information should be comprehensively indicated on the invoice. The indication of penalties for late payments is also optional. Some businesses do not indicate any specific time frame within which all outstanding payments must be cleared. As a sign of goodwill and in an attempt to foster a good relationship with the client, the business owner permits the clients to make their payments at their own pace without any fuss from the servicing company. Unfortunately, this might have negative consequences for the business because there are likely chances that the client will delay the payment for a very long time.

It is important that the client gets a clear idea of when they are expected to make the payments for services. You could indicate that the invoice is due in 14 working days; in this case, this invoice must get to the client very early. Other indications like “payable upon receipt” is a clear message to the client that payments are already expected.

Any information indicated on the invoice cannot be argued with and they are rarely negotiated. Some businesses indicate that there will be an extra billing for any late payments. Another strategy is to encourage quick payments by offering a discount on payments made early, for example within 5 days of receiving the invoice.

3. Ignoring the use of reminders after invoicing
You are busy as a business owner and your clients are very busy as well. For many reasons, the client might forget to make a due payment. It is important to regularly send out reminders about payments before the due date. This means that the client will be reminded to make the necessary plans for payment before the due date. It can be a tough task to monitor the status of every invoice you have sent out to clients. The use of efficient invoicing program like Inv24 will provide the means of sending out regular reminders for upcoming and late payments to the clients.

4: Adopting complex invoicing systems
Simple and clear communication will make it easier for the clients to understand the information indicated on the invoice. Any form of confusion will lead to a delay in payments. It is also important to explore the use of various means of payments to make it easy and convenient for the clients to make payments. Any system that will make clients leave their comfort zones to make payments might cause a delay.

Currently, there are very many payment options that could be used to conveniently receive payments for clients. It is also good to know that many of these payment methods are accepted globally.

5: Making mistakes in filling in the client's information
It can be very embarrassing to find out you typed in the wrong name and address for a long time client. This error can be seen as incompetence and as an insult to the client; the clients will also run into problems when they have to include the information of that transaction in their tax details. It is very easy to lose clients this way.

This kind of error can be avoided by checking the client’s information on the invoice as many times as you are comfortable with. No one is above making these mistakes; this means you must ensure that you check all details repeatedly to detect any error. An efficient end-to-end project management system could also be used to cross-check information that has been filled on invoices either manually or online.

Your business will grow when there is a positive cash flow. The cash flow can become irregular when there are delays in payments as a result of discrepancies in the information filled on an invoice. It is also important to avoid making mistakes on invoices to maintain a good reputation for your business.

Author's Bio: 

Torsi is passionate about ensuring we support our clients in doing everything possible to intelligently listen to customers and deliver the solutions that they need first time. Her extensive experience leading in-house and client-side customer service operations has proven that listening to customers is the key to success. Before joining Maraka UK in 2012, Torsi worked with Varint for five years as Director of Consulting.