For most business people doing the accounts, invoicing, etc are the least favourite job.
I use sage accounts for my main books which goes a long way to managing the books but it isn’t very modern and not very manageable.
One of the fastest growing accounting software products, FRESHBOOKS, came to my rescue.
Freshbooks is an online invoicing, time tracking and support ticket system. I use it along side sage but why have two systems.
My first interest in this arrangement is getting paid. Freshbooks allows me to invoice quickly and easily. It issues an electronic invoice which is emailed or at a click of a button posted to your client all online with no franking, stamp licking or envelope stuffing.
The invoice created can be linked to a payment system such as paypal so your client can click a link and pay online.
If by any chance your client does not pay bills straight away, then the system will start to send out automatic reminders from you. You decide the timings and the text that is sent. My emails are not the standard ones I have injected some of my own personality into them and they do feel like I sent them personality. It appear I am on top of my accounts – if only people knew.
One great feature is you can see if a client has viewed the online invoice – so there is no excuse of I haven’t seen it. During my two years of using the system I have unfortunately had two companies go into administration. One thing I noticed is that three months before it happened both companies stopped looking at the electronic invoices. Now I am ready for any next time it happens to chase harder and to stop working on their projects earlier.
If you offer a service or product on a re-occurring billing basis then Freshbooks steps in to help again. You set up a repeating invoice that automatically invoices the clients each period.
Your clients also get access to an online statement without having to wait for you to send one. This can be branded with your company’s colours and even completely hide the freshbooks web address.
At the end of each quarter freshbooks gives you a quarterly scorecard comparing your accounts to similar business type so you can see how you are doing. Are your customers paying quicker or slow? Is your order size bigger or smaller than average.
I haven’t covered the online estimate and approval system, the time tracking for projects linked to billing or the support ticket and file sharing tools. Apart from the online estimate I have not got a use for those parts of the system.
The only downside I can find is that you have to keep reasonable up to date with entering payments coming in. Otherwise your clients get emails saying they haven’t paid when they have! Not good.
The little effort needed is well rewarded by a dashboard should invoicing totals over the current quarter, amounts unpaid and paid. Even better is the increase in payment time you can get from properly running this system.
All in all a highly recommended service that is worth trying out.
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