Messages on sticky notes have given way to SMS and WhatsApp. A digital organizer has replaced the paper agenda. Even Playboy magazine is having a hard time. Logically, more and more self-employed people are opting for digital invoices. You too (soon)… Isn’t it? Very good!
What Is A Digital Invoice?
The shoebox full of paper bills is a thing of the past. Digital and electronic are the future. But what’s the difference between the two? A digital invoice is simply an invoice that is sent digitally. A PDF, Word, or Excel file by email, for example. Or, somewhat less efficiently, a scan of a paper invoice. Today, many tools allow you to create and send an invoice with just a few clicks.
Once the customer receives your email, they can download and consult the invoice immediately. Electronic billing, also known as e-bill, goes one step further. With an invoicing tool, you first create an invoice in UBL. This stands for Universal Business Language, an international standard for electronic invoices. The software then sends the invoice to your customer, automatically read and recorded.
Why Choose A Digital Invoice?
Digital invoicing has five aces up its sleeve for your business:
You Save A Lot Of Time
Using the billing tool, you will be drafting invoices in no time. Fill out the custom form, and the software will calculate for you. You can also set up a standard email to send your invoice in seconds or create automatic payment reminders to ensure healthy cash flow.
Less Chance Of Errors
Since it is a tool to calculate the different amounts on your invoice, the possibility of errors decreases significantly. Another plus is that you no longer have to use the calculator.
Overview Of Numbers = Thoughtful Decisions
Your billing software gives you an overview to keep an eye on outstanding payments and invoices at all times. This allows you to have an overview of your company’s financial health and make informed decisions.
Digital Is Safer
File cabinets crammed with papers are not only unsightly, but they can be irretrievably lost in the event of damage from water, fire, or simple neglect. A digital archive (and its automatic copy) is much safer.
You And Your Customers Will Be Able To Work More Flexibly
In the car on your way to visit a client or on your way back after a hard day’s work, digital invoicing can be done anywhere at any time. All you need is an internet connection.
What Do You Need For A Digital Invoice?
No silly jokes like “a smile is enough” or clichés like “common sense.” In addition to your PC or laptop, you need three things:
- A reliable software Find a quality tool tailored to your business. Also, consider integration possibilities and expansions. For example, can you link the software with your accounting package? Can you also add time logging and a CRM? And also—no small thing in the digital age—is there a high-performance app for this tool?
- A solid storage system: Not all billing tools have a reliable database. However, this is a fundamental requirement: digital invoices, like hard copies, must be kept for several years.
- Cyber Security: Indeed you lock your door tightly every night. At least, we hope you do. You’d also better secure your PC and smartphone with the necessary antivirus programs or other solutions. After all, a billing tool contains valuable information about your business.
Essential Points For Digital Invoicing
Ok, digital invoicing is not aerospace technology. However, there are several things to watch out for:
- Digitize your invoices: Digitize invoices in the same folder, server, or cloud. In this way, your accounting will not be divided between paper and electronic formats.
- And ask your suppliers to do the same: Digital billing works best when it’s two-way. Ask your suppliers always to send you a digital invoice. This way, you will save filing cabinets overflowing with papers. However, sometimes a paper invoice is unavoidable. The invoice for a business dinner or the parking ticket, for example. In this case, please take a photo or scan of the hard copy and upload it to your digital archive.
- Start at a critical moment: You can start digital invoicing at any time, although it’s wise to pick a critical moment, such as the start of the quarter or the new financial year. This way, all invoices from that period are in the same place.
Never set foot in a gym and run for an hour on the treadmill; show up for an aperitif on an empty stomach only to find out that there are only chips and peanuts… We all make beginner’s mistakes. Here is a list of the pitfalls of digital invoicing: If you know them, you can avoid them.
In Four Steps Toward The Digital Invoice
Digital invoicing offers a series of decisive advantages; we do not disagree (and we hope you agree with us). But how exactly do you draw up and send a digital invoice? Here’s a straightforward, step-by-step guide for you:
Prepare The Budget Thoughtfully
A good invoice starts with a precise quote. It is preferable to summarize all the different phases of the project, along with the related budgets. The estimate must be clear to your customer and form a reasonable basis for the invoice. Because, in an ideal world, your invoice is a copy-paste of the estimate.
Make A Digital Invoice
A valid tool transforms a quote into an invoice in one click. If there is no estimate, drawing up the invoice according to your usual form is easy. No more Excel formulas, counts, or percentages; the software handles the calculations.
Send The Invoice Digitally
With the invoicing software, you send invoices directly to your customers. Bye-bye stamp lick, au revoir manual email creation, bye-bye packed archivers… Thanks to the integration with your accounting package, even outgoing invoices automatically appear in your system.
Follow Up On Late Payments
Many companies regularly have to deal with insolvent debtors. Thanks to a digital billing tool, you will have a continuous overview of overdue invoices and can follow them quickly. With Team Leader, you can also set up automatic payment reminders so your customers receive a friendly message telling them to settle their overdue invoices.
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