This post was written by Elaine Bennett
In spite of constant technological developments, most companies still handle their documentation manually, ignoring all the advantages new technologies bring. This kind of slow and inefficient document flow brings about significant printing costs, the burden of delivering and storing paper clutter, as well as a lot of wasted time.
If you are thinking about digitally transforming your business in order to reach maximum efficiency and save some resources, automating the invoice process is a perfect place to start.
Here are a few reasons why you should ditch paper invoices and switch to e-invoice instead.
As time is our most valuable resource, we should treat it as such during each stage of the business process. Some claim that on average it takes us 18 minutes to find a document while going through all the piles in the office. In other words, we spend hours and hours trying to locate a needle in a haystack instead of focusing on more important work.
By switching to digitally-managed invoices, you can save time in a few ways:
The process of making an invoice is much easier and faster when you have templates for each customer.
Delivery time is reduced from 2-3 days when sending an invoice by mail to zero when being delivered digitally.
Delivery confirmation makes sure that your invoice is in the right hands.
Your invoices are paid quicker, due to much shorter delivery times as well as automated payment reminders.
Your invoices are accessible 24/7 and much easier to find when they are stored digitally, in the cloud.
You can review your finances faster when your invoicing data is stored digitally.
When we’re talking about the money you will save by automating your invoices, there are several things to consider.
First of all, you will cut direct costs, which are the easiest to trace. Those are the costs of paper and ink you use, as well as the postage you pay for mailing your invoices.
Then, think about the indirect costs of invoicing, all those minor, repetitive tasks which can eat up a lot of time when done manually. This is the time you or your employees spend working on the invoice itself – gathering data, creating the invoice, printing it, and putting it in the envelope.
And it's often not where the story ends. Hidden costs can come along, usually when a problem occurs, so you have to do the process all over again, sometimes even putting your cash flow management at risk.
Or if we want to crunch the numbers - research claims that sending a paper-based invoice is 57% more expensive than sending a digital version, as well as that an invoice error costs a company $53.50 to fix.
The whole purpose of sending an invoice is to get your payment, and by shifting to digital invoicing, you can streamline this process and make it more certain.
When your customers receive a paper-based invoice, they are pretty limited with their choices, which can be very inconvenient and reduce your odds of getting your payment without delay. Your customers can either send you a check or call your company with their credit card details, with both actions requiring some specifically dedicated time and effort.
By using automated direct debit solutions to introduce e-invoicing, you are more likely to receive your payment instantly. They offer more flexibility to your regular customers through payment method options and flexible payment plans, also increasing customer satisfaction. Automated payment solutions can also offer automated failed payment handling, where, if a payment fails, it is either retried at a later date or your customers are provided with a direct link for instant online payment.
Enhance the security
With paper invoicing, you are risking your own and your customers’ details being stolen, or wandering off to unsafe hands.
Some invoices never get delivered to the right people, as they get lost along the way.
When using a digital invoice, you will always be in control of the situation, as you will know if the invoice is received and be certain that it landed on the right address.
Choosing e-billing will make you look more professional to your prospects, as you will stand out from many companies who still use paper-based documents. Providing your prospects, no matter where they are, a possibility to make their payment 24/7 will do wonders for branding your business, and connecting all the positive experiences they had to your company.
Save the trees
Switching to the e-invoicing practice offers your business a chance to be more environmentally friendly and leave a smaller carbon footprint.
It takes 24 trees, as well as a lot of water and energy to produce a ton of paper. Then think about all the ink you use, and all the resources needed for your invoice to be delivered.
When you opt for a digital invoice, you’re not creating any waste, thus reducing your carbon footprint and contributing to the future of our planet. This will have an additional positive impact on your business brand as quite a few of your customers and clients will know how to value your efforts in this area.
Automating your invoicing process will be a huge step forward when it comes to your business efficiency. By saving the time needed to create and deliver invoices using traditional means, as well as money needed for the whole process you’ll speed up the whole invoicing process, offer your customers different payment options, protect the environment, and give your business a more professional feel.