Remember the gold old days, back when the internet was just a dream among science fiction aficionados and clouds were nothing more than fluffy white things in the sky? Those were the days when freelancers issued hand-written or word processor-generated invoices.
So why can’t you keep invoicing the old-fashioned way, creating invoices on your desktop and sending them by snail mail or email? Well, you can, of course. But then you’d be missing out on some game-changing benefits that awesome cloud-based invoicing apps like Invoice Ninja open up for your business!
Rejoining in the Cloud
Most of the benefits are based on time savings, whether it’s the time you take to issue an invoice, to reconcile your books or to receive payment. And when you’re running your own business, there’s always an endless list of things you should be working on, so your time is tremendously valuable. An efficiency expert from Canon Business Processes recently estimated that the average overall organizational cost of manually processing an invoice is around $20, whereas automated ones have a cost of just $4 each.
But time savings are just the beginning. The advantages of e-invoices are numerous and major. It’s time to take the plunge.
Issue invoices faster
Each time you send an invoice via snail mail, you have to fill out all of the information, put it in an envelope, attach a stamp and remember to put it in the mailbox. Electronic invoicing systems remember the information for each client/customer, so once a client is in the system, you only really have to input the amount owed to invoice them a second time. The system will also remember who to send the invoice to, so with a click of a button, your invoice is on its way to the appropriate person’s inbox.
The more you do manually, the more likely you are to commit a human error. Typos can end up costing you time and money, so the more automated the process, is the lower the risk.
Automate your recurring invoices
Many freelancers bill their customers on a monthly service retainer subscription basis. If you charge a client the same amount on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly basis, you can set your digital invoicing system to automatically send out a payment request at the end of each period. This is totally hassle-free and saves you even more time.
Benefit from easy calculations
If you charge tax, want to apply a discount, or need to add other surcharges, electronic invoice systems will do the calculations for you, saving time and maximizing accuracy.
Get paid faster
When an invoice is sent via email, it’s less likely to get lost during delivery, take weeks to arrive, or end up at the bottom on someone’s “in” tray at work. Invoices that you send to larger organizations can even be set to go directly into corporate finance systems so you get paid quickly (one recent study even found that enterprises are burdened with digitizing hard copy invoices, which amount to over half of all invoices they receive).
Many e-invoicing platforms allow online payments, which speeds things up as well. Fast payment increases cash flow into your business, which is especially important for a freelancer whose income is dependent on accounts receivable actually being received.
Do your part for the environment
Fewer printed pages, envelopes and printer cartridges are all good for Mother Earth. What’s more, snail mail contributes to the carbon footprint of physical transportation. Sending your invoices via email is a key component to the paperless office. It’s the green thing to do.
Impress with minimal effort
Cloud-based invoicing tools create aesthetic invoices that you don’t have spend time designing yourself. The better apps out there offer pdf versions of invoices (ours even has a best-in-class real time pdf editing feature), so you can be sure that your client is seeing the exact invoice as you intended to send it, regardless of what email client, browser or operating system he or she is using.
Impressed with invoices
Some platforms even allow you to choose between a number of different templates and let you include your logo on invoices, for a more personalized and professional look.
Improve your record keeping
Never fiddle around hunting down an invoice that you’re sure you put in one cumbersome pile of papers or another, only to wonder if it’s been paid or try to figure out what exactly you billed for. All of this information is entered into your e-invoicing system, and you can easily trace the history of services rendered or a sale closed simply by signing into your invoicing tool.
Be ready for the future
So why not get your foot in the door already? Some countries are already requiring freelancers to use e-invoices in specific government-approved formats. Cloud-based invoicing tools make it easier for freelancers to handle any needs for tax authority audits, insurance claims, banking disputes and more. The United States and many countries in Europe and Latin America have already implemented or are talking about implementing e-invoices in the public sector.
Access it all from anywhere
Our desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablets, mobile phones and wearables enable us to virtually work from virtually anywhere, but the downside is that for things to progress smoothly, you need to use systems that can be accessed wherever you may find yourself. Want to send an invoice immediately while you are sitting on-location with a client? Need to check the payment status of a bill from the diner? Keeping records in the cloud means they are accessible to you from anywhere.
Go ahead and try e-invoicing, and we promise you will find it difficult to remember why you ever invoiced your client any other way. Invoice Ninja is completely free and always will be, so it’s a great option for anyone who’s curious and wants to get their feet wet with minimal risk. You can even use some of our app’s features without registering as a free user or logging in at all.
We think you’ll quickly get used to the convenience and cost-effectiveness of cloud-based invoicing. Your customers and clients will enjoy the new system as well, and hopefully this love-fest will even spread to your bank account.