Invoicing greatly impacts your cash flow, and any problems in the process can prevent you from generating income and properly managing your business operations. It requires accuracy to prevent non-payment and late payments.
Remember, you can only cover your overheads and pay your employees if you get paid.
Errors in invoicing can also make customers concerned about your business practices. Repeated errors can make your clients doubt your credibility and impact future business interactions.
However, you can reduce invoicing errors and boost customer confidence while efficiently improving your bottom line.
5 Common Invoicing Problems and Their Solutions
So, what are some of the common invoicing problems and how can you solve them. Let us find out:
Missing invoices can be frustrating. The Accounts Payable department often has to deal with duplicate invoices being paid and incorrect records in the system, all of which negatively affect the credibility of your business.
In addition, clients cannot pay for invoices they did not receive. Whichever payment terms you use, always ensure you receive an automatic confirmation of receipt.
If you do not get confirmation, it may be weeks before you realize that the invoice is missing. This can significantly affect your cash flow, and you will also waste valuable time restarting the invoicing process.
Use financial software that automatically sends invoices directly to the right customer. Some software solutions also send an alert when an invoice has been viewed. Ensure you have the correct email address for each account and regularly check for unviewed invoices.
Automated systems alert you when an invoice has yet to be viewed within a certain time limit. Consider sending a reminder for unviewed invoices.
Another solution to missing invoices is to have a centralized purchasing department and ensure that all orders have a purchase order number, making them easy to track.
Some invoicing delays are caused by confusing invoices that are difficult for customers to understand. Ambiguous product codes, especially when selling multiple goods and services to the same customer, are a common cause of confusion.
Ensure all goods and services provided are listed in a way that your customers can easily understand.
Use the product name in full or a clear description of services offered, including dates that allow customers to quickly identify what is getting billed.
Display your company logo prominently on the invoice to help customers identify which business is billing them. Remember, consistent branding will also help customers quickly identify your business.
Where possible, include the purchase order number or job quote. Helping customers understand what they are paying for makes the approval process smoother and faster.
Only accurate invoices can be paid on time. If the data that your customers need to process your invoice is missing or inaccurate, your payment will likely be pushed to the back of the line until it can be rectified.
For instance, an invoice reading ‘upon receipt’ as the due date is not likely to be prioritized. A manual billing system makes it difficult to identify missing data, especially if you are issuing hundreds of invoices.
Having specific dates for payment helps your customer manage their payment schedule and prevents you from spending time following up on due invoices.
Include discounts, incentives, and late payment penalties to motivate your customers to make early payments.
Automated systems easily identify missing or inaccurate data on your invoices. An enterprise planning system can help you flag any inconsistent data and delays in updates.
It also helps to manually review the invoices before sending them to ensure relevant fields, such as dates, are accurate.
Complex Correction Processes
Erroneous invoices are common. For instance, changed quantities, missing information, cancellations, and changes in pricing can all affect an invoice. As a general rule, the more manual your invoicing system is, the more errors you are likely to have.
In addition, rigorous legal and tax requirements apply in specific industries that affect invoicing, all of which can contribute to errors.
As a result, you must correct the invoice to correct the errors, which can often be complex and time-consuming.
Automated checks of your invoice data before it is issued can quickly resolve this problem. Include order data such as goods receipt, advance shipment notice, customer specifications, and legal requirements.
This makes it easier to resolve requests for change and address any ambiguities in the order. The quick and transparent correction method also boosts your credibility.
Wrong Contact Information
Most companies have a specific contact for the receipt of incoming invoices. It is common for large companies to have several invoicing stations. However, your invoice may be lost if you do not have the correct contact information.
If your invoice does not arrive to the intended recipient, the chances of payment on the due date are minimal.
Confirm and reconfirm the contact information before sending your invoices. This is critical for businesses supplying various goods and services to companies with different invoicing stations. People leave companies, get promotions, and move into new positions, so ensure you review and update the contact information annually or bi-annually.
Most small and medium businesses have inefficient invoicing processes. As a result, they spend more time and money on correcting errors and following up on delayed payments.
If your business is experiencing any invoicing errors listed here, they may affect your cash flow more than you think. These seemingly minor errors result in late payments, making it difficult for small businesses to handle recurrent expenses.
Even more importantly, these invoicing mistakes significantly impact your customer relationships. Poor invoicing practices hurt your reputation as a credible business and may push customers away from interacting with your business.
However, with efficient digital invoicing solutions, you can streamline your invoicing processes, making them more efficient and improving your bottom line. In addition, more businesses have also moved to digital payment platforms, making it easier to get your invoices paid on time.