When planning to start the business of your dreams rarely do people ever stop to think about invoicing. Invoicing is a part of a business that often goes unthought-of until it becomes necessary, although it is an integral part of business. Invoices essentially are the meat and potatoes of your business. Without them how would you get paid or keep track of payments received? Regardless of how big or small your company is, you want your invoices to look professional. Invoices should contain key information and have a consistent structure, making it easy for the client to read and for you to quickly be able to refer to information as needed. In addition to well-designed invoices, you need a good invoicing system. One where invoices can be easily filed for referral as you deal with clients, gauge the progress of your business or for tax purposes. Having a well-structured invoicing system will ensure your business thrives. There are three ways to invoice, handwritten invoicing, printable invoice templates and online invoicing.

When thinking of traditional handwritten invoices one may think of a small shop with the owner smiling behind the counter at a customer that came in to pay a bill. The owner pulls out a paper pad and jots some numbers down before handing it to the customer. The customer looks at it and pays as the two continue small talking. They shake hands, the customer leaves and the store’s handwritten copy of the invoice is placed under the counter for tracking later. Like the story depicts traditional hand-written invoices are the way to go it you are looking for that personal, face to face experience with your clients. Handwritten invoices can also be mailed if you have a client that can’t make it to your location for whatever reason. Handwritten invoices are low cost and fully customizable. As wonderful as all of this may sound handwritten invoices have several cons. Handwritten invoices aren’t always professional looking, they can be messy, they are not accepted by all companies, and may lack pertinent information due to a lack of structure. Missing key elements on a handwritten invoice can be detrimental to your business especially on complex jobs that require multiple types of invoices. Writing invoices can be extremely time-consuming when writing out final invoices, but let’s not also forget you may also have to write invoices for proposals, interim invoices depending on your work and possibly late payments. All of this takes away from you conducting and growing your business. If your company is large enough to have a person/department that handles invoicing, you could be overspending on the payroll. Another risk of handwritten invoices is that they can be misfiled or lost leading to delayed payments.

Printable invoices, which can be found on the web, are another option. A simple search, using your preferred search engine, can put thousands on template designs at your fingertips. After finding the style and design that fits your needs or customizing one to fit your needs the invoices only take seconds to download and best of all most of them are free. Easy to use, invoice templates provide the consistent structure that handwritten invoices often don’t, eliminating the issue of missing information. Like handwritten invoices, printable invoices can be hand-delivered to clients, keeping that personal touch or sent by U.S. mail to reach clients near and far. They also require a good filing system to keep them from being misfiled or lost. Some opt to save copies to a hard drive to eliminate paper clutter.

Last but not least, online invoicing takes your invoicing system to the next level. It uses invoice templates like the ones discussed above but also gives you portability. With online invoicing you can take your business with you anywhere you go, some companies even offer mobile apps. With online invoices, you can create, customize, sort and track invoices in no time from any place with an internet connection. A key benefit is automated invoicing, saving you time processing payments, increasing productivity and improving your chances of being paid on time. The detailed online filing system reduces the possibility of invoices being misfiled or lost since your data is backed up. With online invoicing clients receive your invoices instantly and can easily pay with whatever payment method they choose. Another benefit of online invoicing is the global overview of your finances you receive. Your data is analyzed and reports are generated so you can easily track the progress of your business enabling you to make smart business decisions.

While there is no one way to invoice, one thing is clear, effective invoicing is essential to a successful business. Professionally designed and easily understandable invoices enhance the customer experience and save you time and money by increasing the chances you receive on-time payments from clients. Each type of invoicing has its own unique set of benefits. When faced with making the decision of which option to choose one has to consider the type of business they have, the amount of time allotted for such task and what it would take to stay successful in today’s market.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Elaine and I'm a self proclaimed "do it yourself addict". I am the mother of the best 11 year old boy ever and my husband's not too shabby either